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Emergency Management Coordinator Jobs: Career Options and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an emergency management coordinator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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There are numerous emergencies that occur in communities for which the services of an emergency management coordinator are necessary in order to mitigate damages, including loss of life. Coordinators should have considerable appropriate experience and carry the same certifications and/or licenses as those individuals under their command. A bachelor's degree may be required by some employers.

Essential Information

Emergency management coordinators (EMCs) help communities by assessing potential hazards and training emergency response teams. Working with government departments, emergency management coordinators facilitate cleanup efforts and medical aid after a natural disaster, hazardous accident or terrorist attack has occurred. The occupation is high-stress and requires the ability to think and act quickly under pressure. While education requirements vary depending on the employer, roughly half of all EMCs have bachelor's degrees, and most have experience as first responders. Many states require EMCs to carry the same licensing and certification as the emergency response teams they manage.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Other Requirements EMT licensing or certification may be required. Several years of experience required for management positions.
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% for (emergency management directors)*
Median Salary (2015) $67,330 (for emergency management directors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Emergency Management Coordinators Career Options

Whether faced with hurricanes, earthquakes or bomb threats, EMCs must assess the situation quickly, brainstorm possible solutions and delegate duties accordingly. O*Net Online notes that some of the major duties for EMCs include supervising search and rescue, obtaining food and shelter for survivors and organizing other relief efforts. Career options can vary based on the individual's desire to focus on one or several types of emergencies.

Natural Disasters

According to the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 79 disasters were declared in 2015 and the most reoccurring types included severe storm warnings, flooding and fire (www.fema.gov). EMCs that specialize in natural disasters usually have a comprehensive knowledge of how earthquakes, storms, hurricanes, floods and fires function in various scales of intensity.

Many EMCs deal with structural damage after a disaster, so training in engineering and architecture can prove relevant to this option. Government agencies, such as FEMA, hire teams of EMCs and specialists to prepare preventative protocols and deal with emergencies as they occur. Some local groups in high-risk areas, such as those on the gulf coast, hire EMCs as consultants.

Man-Made Accidents

EMCs that work in this area may help create legislation to help prevent man-made accidents and hazards. When these types of emergencies occur, EMCs can act as the liaison between government and local agencies in the effort to provide cleanup and aid.

This can include communicating with different government agencies claiming jurisdiction over the emergency. Many employers prefer EMCs in these situations to have a background in environmental law, hazardous waste management and other safety protocols.

Larger businesses prone to hazardous accidents generally employ their own EMCs and specialists. Some cities with highly industrial regions may hire EMCs as consultants to create safety protocols to protect the infrastructure of the city around the industrial area.

Attacks on the United States

EMCs can determine which locations, such as airplanes, trains or government buildings, are most likely to be attacked by terrorists or other enemies. Planning for worst-case scenarios, some EMCs create manuals and guidelines on what to do in case of an attack.

To implement these plans, EMCs distribute these manuals, provide training seminars and may also simulate terrorist attacks to test safety protocol effectiveness. Most EMC positions dealing with attacks on the U.S. are government jobs through Homeland Security, though the FBI and CIA may hire some emergency management specialists.

Job Requirements

O*Net reported in 2016 that over 50% of EMCs, including those working at the city or state level, had a bachelor's degree. Working for the federal government or larger companies may require a master's degree in a related field, such as emergency management or business management.

Most employers prefer that EMCs have several years of experience working in emergency situations, according to O*Net. Prospective emergency management workers may also be required to submit to a background check, specifically in positions where EMCs handle classified information. Some states require licensing and certification for all emergency management personnel.

Career Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for emergency management directors were projected to increase 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is about average. These professionals earned a median salary of $67,330 per year as of 2015, reports the BLS.

Depending on the employer, emergency management coordinators may be required to hold a bachelor's or master's degree, as well as the same licenses and/or certifications as the individuals under their command, along with extensive experience in emergency situations. You may elect to specialize in one emergency type or multiple kinds. Employment opportunities for the foreseeable future are projected to increase at about the same rate as the average for all occupations.

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