Emergency Management Specialist Job Description

Emergency management specialists plan emergency response programs and coordinate different activities to prepare for disasters. This includes making sure the community’s needs are met, collaborating with social institutions to provide shelter and resources in the event of an emergency, and ensuring that people on the ground are trained in how to best respond to a crisis. Most emergency management specialists work full time but are also on call at all times in case of an emergency. In those situations, they will need to work overtime to support operations. This job is well suited to people who can stay calm in a crisis, who are passionate about providing help and support in emergency situations, and who have great decision-making and communication skills.


Emergency Management Specialist Duties and Responsibilities

Emergency management specialists deal with a range of different duties that can vary depending on the organization they work for. Based on job listings we analyzed, these duties typically involve:

Coordinate Disaster Response Activities

Emergency management specialists coordinate disaster response and crisis management activities, such as opening public shelters, ordering evacuations, and ensuring that any special needs programs are put in place in the event of a crisis.

Design Emergency Preparedness Plans

A key part of this job is to design and administer emergency training courses that teach people how to effectively respond to an emergency or disaster.

Prepare Emergency Situation Reports

Emergency management specialists prepare status reports that describe recovery efforts, needs, and preliminary damage assessments for an emergency situation.

Maintain Knowledge of Regulations

Emergency management specialists must stay up to date with the federal, state, and local regulations that affect emergency plans so that they can make sure these plans adhere to the necessary laws.

Coordinate Resources

Emergency management specialists coordinate the sharing of resources and equipment from other neighborhoods and areas of the community to respond accordingly to an emergency.


Emergency Management Specialist Skills and Qualifications

Emergency management specialists work well and remain calm under pressure. They have excellent communication skills and quickly adapt and respond to emergency situations as they develop. Typically, employers require a bachelor’s degree in emergency management or a similar subject, several years’ experience, and the following abilities:

  • Problem-solving skills – in stressful situations, emergency management specialists make quick decisions and find ways to resolve problems as they arise, so great problem-solving skills are a must in this job
  • Communication skills – clear communication skills are critical for an emergency management specialist, as miscommunication can be incredibly dangerous in an emergency situation
  • Calm disposition – emergency management specialists need to remain calm under pressure and maintain a reserved disposition when dealing with a crisis, so as not to provoke further worry in others
  • Flexibility – emergency management specialists need to be adaptable and able to make quick decisions as situations change and develop. Crisis situations can escalate quickly, so people in this role must find new ways to resolve issues
  • Critical thinking – emergency management specialists must anticipate hazards and issues that might arise during an emergency so that they can respond accordingly


Emergency Management Specialist Education and Training

The minimum requirement to become an emergency management specialist is a bachelor’s degree in emergency management, public safety, or a similar subject. Employers also typically expect between two and five years of experience in emergency management situations. Applicants can increase their chances of finding employment by obtaining certifications like the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) designation offered by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).


Emergency Management Specialist Salary and Outlook

The median annual salary for emergency management specialists is nearly $58,000, according to PayScale. Emergency management specialists in the 10th percentile earn around $36,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $93,000 a year. Some companies offer bonuses as part of their remuneration package, which can reach as high as $12,000.
Over 75 percent of employers offer dental plans and medical insurance as part of their benefit packages. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this sector will grow 8 percent through 2026.


Helpful Resources

We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you develop a career as an emergency management specialist:

Principles of Emergency Management and Emergency Operations Centers – this book provides an up-to-date understanding of how an emergency operations center should run and includes tips and techniques for developing emergency preparedness plans

Professionals in Emergency Management – over 35,000 emergency professionals are part of this group, which provides a great space for networking, asking questions, sharing knowledge, and finding new job opportunities in the field of emergency planning and management

Crisis and Emergency Management: Theory and Practice – now in its second edition, this book provides up-to-date concepts and theories as well as an analysis of recent disasters and how they’ve impacted emergency management. The book covers a variety of international issues and discusses different approaches to topics such as terrorism and the role of public relations in crises

Emergency Management Matters – from the components of a business continuity plan to emergency preparedness technology tips, this blog is packed with useful advice on the topic of emergency management


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