Want to Start a Career in Emergency Management? Here’s What You Need to Know

The aftermath of natural disasters and massive earthquakes is but one case where emergency managers are needed to minimize the harm and losses associated with the event and speed up recovery. Pandemics, terrorist attacks and major accidents take their toll, too. These events are partially or completely preventable with good planning and a proper response. That is why emergency management is a rapidly growing profession. Do you want to start a career in emergency management? Here’s what you need to know.

The Range of Jobs Available

One of the great things about emergency management is the wide number of career paths you can embark on. Some of the emergency management positions include:

  • Community and emergency management coordinator
  • Humanitarian assistance professional
  • Emergency management consultant
  • Business continuity planning 
  • Disaster recovery coordinators
  • Disaster risk specialist

Emergency managers may work as emergency management coordinators, coordinating relief and rescue efforts. Community coordinators tend to work in a similar capacity for a single jurisdiction and may work for the local government. Humanitarian assistance professionals fill a similar role but tend to work for non-profits.

Emergency management consultants often provide advice on how to prevent problems or prepare for certain emergencies. Business continuity planning professionals are hired by businesses to help them set up backup plans so they can continue working if a disaster hits. 

This could be anything from flood and fire wiping out a firm’s data center to a major disaster shutting down the entire city. Disaster recovery coordinators work specifically in the coordination of services to meet the needs of people after disaster strikes. 

Disaster risk specialists help determine what risks are most likely and the greatest danger to a firm or community and then work to mitigate them. This means that emergency management professionals can find employment in both the public and private sectors. If you have an emergency management degree, you may even be able to become a security manager for a private organization if you don’t want to work for a government agency or non-profit.

The Educational Requirements

Colleges are now offering a variety of programs and certifications for disaster and emergency management. Note that you could get an emergency management degree completely online, as well. Postgraduate certifications allow someone to move into this critical public safety role, and this option is available to those who may or may not have a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement or public administration. Emergency management is an excellent choice for those who want to move from the front lines of public safety like law enforcement into prevention and administration.

In addition to educational requirements, there are some skills and legal requirements in order to work as an emergency manager or director. Some of them include:

  • Communication and cooperation
  • Time management and organizational skills
  • Ability to delegate and supervise
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Staying calm under pressure

In addition to that, emergency managers will usually need to have a spotless criminal record. As an emergency manager, you’ll often be working with law enforcement, and have to handle very sensitive information. In most cases, you’ll have to be able to pass a background check in order to get a position. 

Communication is also a very important aspect of the job, and you’ll need to have a solid grasp of the English language, both oral and written. And if you intend to work with a government agency, you’ll also be required to be fully bilingual. You will need to be able to present information to large crowds intelligibly. Also, know that being proficient in multiple languages will give you a big advantage.

Field experience is also something that could give you a leg up, and you don’t necessarily need to have a diploma to gain some. For instance, you could do it by undertaking some volunteer emergency and disaster management work. In some places, you might even get advanced training opportunities that are not available to average citizens.

The Factors Driving Increasing Employment Opportunities

Emergency management hiring is on the rise at all levels of government because it is now considered part of the government’s responsibility. For example, emergency management allows local and regional governments to minimize the disruption and cost of all sorts of disasters. And it minimizes the interruption caused by everything from flooding to fires to storms to pandemics to terrorism. 

Emergency managers streamline the delivery of rescue and recovery services, speeding up the overall local recovery effort. This reduces the lives lost and property damage, and it increases trust in the government. Emergency managers are trained to communicate and collaborate between government agencies and non-profits, ensuring that everyone receives support with minimal delay and waste. That lowers the overall price tag of relief efforts.

This also explains why non-profits are hiring emergency managers. The emergency manager defines roles, responsibilities, and capacities to avoid duplicated efforts or gaps in service. It allows non-profits and governments to effectively leverage volunteers and charitable donations so that government funds aren’t spent on unneeded actions, freeing it up for other uses.

The Importance of Emergency Planning and Risk Mitigation

The value of effective emergency planning and risk mitigation is also being recognized by organizations. They want to identify their most likely risks and mitigate them so that they don’t suffer costly disasters from malware to fires. Furthermore, they avoid the costs of business interruptions or unplanned relocation. Minimizing the odds of hazardous waste releases or other environmental mishaps also reduces their environmental impact and the associated fines. On top of that, emergency managers allow them to hand off communication of disasters and potential hazards to a professional who can explain what has been done to avoid problems or minimize the impact.

Whether you’re a security guard who wants to prevent lives lost in a terrorist attack or an aid worker who wants to do much more, emergency management is an excellent career choice. This role pays well while you can find employment almost anywhere. So, make sure that you look into the requirements needed, and find a position where you feel you could make a difference.

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