After hurricanes strike, earthquakes shake and terror attacks, people are left in surprise and the hurt often in critical condition. Post-disaster situations are unstable and require help from people who can think critically, design and implement a plan, and compassionately help others. People who pursue a path in emergency management have the weighty responsibility of assisting people during and after spontaneous disasters.
Emergency management is a wide field that offers many career opportunities. Most of these revolve around the responsibilities of identifying, planning, analyzing, and improving safety and protocols during extreme and impromptu situations. The difference in job titles becomes apparent in employment specialization and job focus.
Literally a career named after its field, specialists are responsible for overseeing all disaster possibilities. They coordinate disaster response as well as manage crisis activities when needed. They provide preparedness training and education to maintain procedure awareness among staff. They also create emergency plans for every type of emergency, from natural and technological disasters to wartime and hostage situations. The position works in a team environment and must be able to communicate effectively and tirelessly.
Specialists are mostly hired by local and state governments as well as by FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency). It is the specialist’s job to be present and available during emergency situations, therefore they are needed at every level of government and in numerous geographical locations. Annual compensation ranges from $44,000-$86,000. The job appeals to anyone who desires to work in government and is prepared to handle a wide array of situations.
Employed mostly by construction equipment companies, laboratories and government facilities, manufacturing project managers maintain safety and ensure the effective performance of aligned staff. Managers will work independently and with a team to preserve efficiency and improve systems utilized by manufacturers.
Project managers oversee multiple systems, from the customers’ order to the customers’ signature. They must be aware of schedules, ensure prompt production and on-time delivery. They also have to clearly communicate with other workers regarding problems and safety issues. Most importantly, they must identify risks and quickly mitigate them to avoid any preventable accidents. With a salary between $70,000 and $120,000, managers need to be high energy and enthusiastic. The job can require 24/7 leadership as well as the ability to thrive under pressure.
Emergency management also includes the preparation and avoidance of human-caused disasters. Specialists in this field are responsible for the very lives of people and focus heavily on disaster mitigation techniques. Their job duties can include risk management, planning, training and resource application. They also interpret government regulations and advise government management on the safest courses of action.
Anti-terrorism specialists in particular work mostly in security companies and private intelligence companies hired by, and partnered with, government entities. They must know how to prepare briefings and presentations to appropriately advise the government. In short, specialists discover approaches and propose solutions to prohibit terrorist acts. They must be skilled, dedicated and ever vigilant. Compensation ranges between $50,000 to $100,000 annually with heavy work hours.
An occupation specific to the Red Cross, these specialists are part of a team that organizes and facilitates all disaster operations and services. They have an annual salary between $24,000 and $40,000, and primarily focus on assisting their communities in the face of disaster.
Specialists lead and manage teams composed of volunteers who follow response and recovery programs laid out by the Red Cross. They must also manage government partnerships during disaster relief. Help may be abundant and offered by many entities, but it has to be organized and programs have to work together. Assistance doesn’t end until the crisis is managed and the suffering largely relieved, so disaster specialists must be able to work 24/7 under stressful conditions and with little rest.
A career in emergency management requires more than knowledge and problem solving, it demands people who are passionate about helping others. Professionals in this field are respected, looked to when the unexpected occurs, and gain a genuine satisfaction from doing what they love.
Earning a master’s in emergency management from Eastern Kentucky University can help you increase your knowledge of the safety industry and demonstrate a continued commitment to learning and leadership. Whether you aspire to work at the governmental level or move into the private sector, our distinguished faculty of safety professionals delivers a comprehensive curriculum that can translate wherever safety matters most.