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Jobs in Crisis Management: Career Options and Requirements

Careers in crisis management are found in nearly all fields. Find out about the job and educational requirements, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for crisis management degree program graduates.

Due to the nature of their work, crisis management professionals can find jobs across multiple industries and can work for the local and national government or private businesses. Emergency management directors and public relations specialists are two professionals that handle crisis management. For both of these careers, a bachelor's degree relevant to their field is required.

Essential Information

Employees trained in crisis management are able to anticipate and react to threats against an organization's safety, finances or reputation. Crisis management most commonly refers to the immediate decisions surrounding an emergency situation or how an issue, emergency or otherwise, is explained to the public. Aspiring professionals should earn bachelor's degrees in disciplines such as emergency management, crisis and disaster management or public relations with an emphasis in crisis management.

Career Titles Emergency Management Directors Public Relations Specialists
Education Requirements A bachelor's degree in public administration, management, emergency management, crisis and disaster management or fire science A bachelor's degree in journalism, English, business or communications; individuals may also study public relations with a specialization in crisis management
Other Requirements At least 5 years of relevant experience N/A
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% 6%
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $67,330 $56,770

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

In addition to emergency response, crisis management at a corporation can involve minimizing damages to the company's public image, usually through a public spokesperson. Exact job titles will depend on the nature of the business and the crises that it faces. Generally, crisis management specialists who develop and implement emergency plans are in managerial or administrative positions. They may have a title such as emergency manager, or take on crisis planning duties as part of a more general managerial position. Employees appointed to communicate with the media may have specific experience in public relations, with a specialization in crisis management.

Emergency Management Directors

Emergency management directors work with law enforcement and other officials to develop a plan of action in the event of emergencies. They are responsible for coordinating and organizing emergency response training programs. As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for emergency management directors or crisis managers were expected to increase 6% increase from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Emergency management directors working for local government offices earned an average of $66,410 and those in state government settings earned $63,240 as of May 2015, the BLS indicates.

Public Relations Specialists

Public relations specialists craft press releases and disperse information to newspapers as well as television and radio stations. Specialists who work in government are known as press secretaries. Employment was expected to expand at a rate of 6% for public relations specialists. Median annual salaries were $56,770 as of May 2015.

Requirements

While educational requirements will vary by position, a degree in a field such as communications or management may be helpful, and focused crisis management degree programs may lead to the Bachelor of Science in Crisis and Disaster Management or Master of Science in Emergency Management. These degrees may also provide training in a specific type of crisis management.

A career in crisis management also demands strong communication skills and the ability to make quick decisions under stress, sometimes with only partial information about a developing crisis. Whether working as a company leader or a public representative, it's essential to maintain good relations with multiple parties, as well as be highly organized and an independent problem-solver.

Career Information

The U.S. government runs agencies devoted to crisis management following natural disasters or terrorism. Many military or international government offices are informed by crisis management procedures, especially if they provide guidance to civilians during unexpected events.

Businesses also develop and implement crisis management plans in the case of an emergency that compromises employee safety. Organizations that work with sensitive information or materials may be targets of outside attacks, which require preventive crisis management planning. Examples include religious groups, engineering firms and nuclear facilities.

Crisis management is about responding to anything from natural disasters and terrorist attacks to reputational situations. Emergency management directors work on emergency response plans for their place of work, coordinating with management and local law enforcement and emergency response. Public relations specialists focus on external communications during and following a crisis, coordinating with local media channels and drafting and distributing statements and information.


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