How to Get a Job in Emergency and Crisis Management

What happens when a natural disaster or mass shooting occurs? Emergency and crisis managers take charge by following a plan.

What Emergency and Crisis Managers Do

Emergency and crisis managers think about the worst possible events, plan how to prevent these situations from happening, and how to respond if and when terrible events occur. Actual job descriptions vary depending on the employer.

A definition of a crisis in an organizational setting is an event that is harmful on a large scale, a surprise, and allows only a short time to make decisions.

City, state, and federal governments or agencies must have an emergency and crisis management plan. Specialists train key personnel in key departments on how to respond to a disaster, develop a disaster relief plan, coordinate with other agencies, and implement the plan.

Employers include government, military, law enforcement, or large corporations. Some professionals have their own business and hire themselves out to develop a crisis management plan for an organization or government entity.

One goal of emergency management is learning to recognize signals that a disaster might be approaching. Develop a plan to prepare for or prevent a crisis. Know how to contain the crisis and any resulting damage. Part of the plan includes recovery from a crisis or emergency. After the crisis has passed, the crisis management team needs to review what happened to discover what went well and what needs to be improved.


Salary will vary depending on employer and geographic location. As of 2009, the median salary for department employees was estimated at $53,000. Wages will depend on a person’s level within the emergency management department. Directors may earn anywhere from $40,000 to $115,000.


In order to be considered for a position in emergency or crisis management, one needs to have a bachelor’s degree. Emergency management degrees are still new in higher education with only 180 available degrees in the nation. When earning a degree in emergency management, try to gain experience in the field at the same time.

A master’s degree can be pursued after earning a bachelor’s degree and gaining some work experience in the field. With the master’s degree and some experience, one can start applying for director positions.

Also consider certifications such as certified emergency manager or certified business continuity professional. Check with employers you are interested in to see what certifications they prefer.

Schools For Emergency and Crisis Management

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