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Become An Emergency Management Director

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Working As An Emergency Management Director

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • $80,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Emergency Management Director Do

Emergency management directors prepare plans and procedures for responding to natural disasters and other emergencies. They also help lead the response during and after emergencies, often in coordination with public safety officials, elected officials, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.

Duties

Emergency management directors typically do the following:

  • Assess hazards and prepare plans to respond to emergencies and disasters in order to minimize risk to people and property
  • Meet with public safety officials, private companies, and the general public to get recommendations regarding emergency response plans
  • Organize emergency response training programs and exercises for staff, volunteers, and other responders
  • Coordinate the sharing of resources and equipment within the community and across communities to assist in responding to an emergency
  • Prepare and analyze damage assessments following disasters or emergencies
  • Review emergency plans of individual organizations, such as medical facilities, to ensure their adequacy
  • Apply for federal funding for emergency management planning, responses and recovery and report on the use of funds allocated
  • Review local emergency operations plans and revise them if necessary
  • Maintain facilities used during emergency operations

Emergency management directors are responsible for planning and leading the responses to natural disasters and other emergencies. Directors work with government agencies, nonprofits, private companies, and the general public to develop effective plans that minimize damage and disruptions during an emergency.

To develop emergency response plans, directors typically research “best practices” from around the country and from other emergency management agencies. Directors also must prepare plans and procedures that meet local, state, and federal regulations.

Directors must analyze the resources, equipment, and staff available to respond to emergencies. If resources or equipment are lacking, directors must either revise their plans or obtain the needed resources from another community or state. Many directors coordinate with fire, emergency medical service, police departments, and public works agencies in other communities to locate and share equipment during an emergency. Directors must be in contact with other agencies to collect and share information regarding the scope of the emergency, the potential costs, and the resources or staff needed.

After plans are developed, emergency management directors typically ensure that individuals and groups become familiar with the emergency procedures. Directors often use social media to disseminate plans and warnings to the general public.

Emergency management directors run training courses and disaster exercises for staff, volunteers, and local agencies to ensure an effective and coordinated response to an emergency. Directors also may visit schools, hospitals, or other community groups to update everyone on the emergency plans.

During an emergency, directors typically maintain a command center at which personnel monitor and manage the emergency operations. Directors help lead the response, making adjustments to or prioritizing certain actions if necessary. These actions may include ordering evacuations, conducting rescue missions, or opening up public shelters for those displaced by the disaster. Emergency management directors also may need to conduct press conferences or other outreach activities to keep the public informed about the emergency.

Following an emergency, directors must assess the damage to their community and must coordinate getting assistance and supplies into the community if necessary. Directors may need to request state or federal assistance to help execute their emergency response plan and provide support to effected citizens, organizations, and communities. Directors may also revise their plans and procedures to prepare for future emergencies or disasters.

Emergency management directors working for hospitals, universities, or private companies may be called business continuity managers. Similar to their counterparts in local and state government, business continuity managers prepare plans and procedures to help businesses maintain operations and minimize losses during and after an emergency.

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How To Become An Emergency Management Director

Emergency management directors typically need a bachelor’s degree, as well as multiple years of work experience in emergency response, disaster planning, or public administration.

Education

Emergency management directors typically need a bachelor’s degree in business or public administration, accounting, finance, emergency management, or public health. Some directors working in the private sector in the area of business continuity management may need to have a degree in computer science, information systems administration, or another information technology (IT) field.

Some smaller municipalities or local governments may hire applicants who have just a high school diploma. However, these applicants usually need extensive work experience in emergency management if they are to be hired.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Applicants typically need multiple years of work experience, often with the military, law enforcement, fire safety, or in another emergency management field, before they can be hired as an emergency management director. Previous work experience in these areas enables applicants to make difficult decisions in stressful and time-sensitive situations. Such experience also prepares one to work with various agencies to ensure that proper resources are used to respond to emergencies.

For more information, see the profiles on police and detectives, firefighters, police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, and EMTs and paramedics.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require directors to obtain certification within a certain timeframe after being hired in the position.

Many agencies and states offer voluntary certificate programs to help emergency management directors obtain additional skills. Some employers may prefer or even require a Certified Emergency Manager® (CEM®), Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP), or equivalent designation. Emergency management directors can attain the CEM designation through the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM); the certification must be renewed every 5 years. The CBCP designation is given by the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRI) and must be renewed every 2 years.

Both associations require applicants to complete a certain number of continuing education courses prior to recertification.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Emergency management directors must write out and communicate their emergency preparedness plans to all levels of government, as well as to the public.

Critical-thinking skills. Emergency management directors must anticipate hazards and problems that may arise from an emergency in order to respond effectively.

Decisionmaking skills. Emergency management directors must make timely decisions, often in stressful situations. They must also identify the strengths and weaknesses of all solutions and approaches, as well as the costs and benefits of each action.

Interpersonal skills. Emergency management directors must work with other government agencies, law enforcement and fire officials, and the general public to coordinate emergency responses.

Leadership skills. To ensure effective responses to emergencies, emergency management directors need to organize and train a variety of people.

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Do you work as an Emergency Management Director?

Average Yearly Salary
$80,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$38,000
Min 10%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$169,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Google
Highest Paying City
Carrollton, TX
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.2 years
How much does an Emergency Management Director make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Emergency Management Director in the United States is $80,580 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $38,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $169,000.

Real Emergency Management Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Managing Director, Emerging Markets Equity Harvard Management Company, Inc. Boston, MA Nov 15, 2015 $295,000 -
$325,000
Managing Director, Emerging Markets Equity Harvard Management Company, Inc. Boston, MA Nov 15, 2012 $275,000 -
$325,000
Emerging Market Sales-Managing Director Imperial Capital, LLC New York, NY Sep 18, 2016 $200,000
Emergency Management Directors Occidental Oil and Gas Houston, TX Feb 28, 2014 $180,300
Director of Emergency Preparedness New York University Hospitals Center New York, NY Jun 09, 2014 $150,000
Director, Major Emerging Economies Initiative World Resources Institute Washington, DC Sep 20, 2013 $145,000 -
$165,000
Managing Director, Trader/Latam Emerging Markets UBS Securities LLC Stamford, CT Oct 01, 2013 $137,000 -
$325,000
Director, Major Emerging Economies Initiative World Resources Institute Washington, DC Sep 20, 2010 $121,826 -
$145,000
Emergency Management Directors Deloitte & Touche LLP Seattle, WA Nov 28, 2012 $105,769 -
$120,000

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Top Skills for An Emergency Management Director

  1. Disaster Response
  2. Public Safety
  3. Emergency Response
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Complete management of disaster response, mitigation, and recovery activities, and related grant applications and administration.
  • Collaborated with town officials and public safety departments to understand and mitigate risks from potential emergencies.
  • Ensured compliance with emergency response protocol by adjudicating, interpreting, and applying policy guidance for local operations.
  • Applied for and awarded numerous grants for Homeland Security initiatives, emergency preparedness projects, and personnel positions with emergency management.
  • Completed over twenty-five classes in professional development and earned the FEMA professional Development Designation for leadership.

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Top 10 Best States for Emergency Management Directors

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Nevada
  3. Washington
  4. Maryland
  5. California
  6. Rhode Island
  7. New York
  8. Arizona
  9. New Mexico
  10. Colorado
  • (13 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (40 jobs)
  • (37 jobs)
  • (170 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (89 jobs)
  • (22 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (39 jobs)

Emergency Management Director Demographics

Gender

Male

62.5%

Female

27.8%

Unknown

9.8%
Ethnicity

White

64.3%

Hispanic or Latino

13.5%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.5%

Portuguese

6.3%

Chinese

6.3%

French

6.3%

Cheyenne

6.3%

Mandarin

6.3%

Korean

6.3%
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Emergency Management Director Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.7%

Community College of the Air Force

10.5%

The Academy

7.0%

University of Maryland - University College

6.1%

Kaplan University

5.3%

Ashford University

4.4%

Eastern Michigan University

4.4%

University of Central Florida

4.4%

Columbia Southern University

3.5%

University of Central Missouri

3.5%

Michigan State University

3.5%

Walden University

3.5%

Florida State University

3.5%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3.5%

University of Maryland - Baltimore County

3.5%

American University

3.5%

Naval Postgraduate School

3.5%

Anna Maria College

3.5%

Hofstra University

3.5%

Syracuse University

2.6%
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Majors

Business

21.4%

Homeland Security

13.5%

Criminal Justice

11.5%

Nursing

9.6%

Fire Science And Protection

5.4%

Management

5.4%

Public Administration

4.1%

Public Health

3.3%

Political Science

3.3%

Communication

2.4%

Psychology

2.2%

Medicine

2.2%

Human Resources Management

2.2%

Law

2.2%

Computer Science

2.0%

Education

2.0%

Finance

2.0%

Health Care Administration

2.0%

Medical Technician

2.0%

Elementary Education

1.5%
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Degrees

Masters

32.1%

Bachelors

28.8%

Other

21.2%

Associate

7.2%

Doctorate

5.0%

Certificate

4.4%

Diploma

1.0%

License

0.3%
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