Disaster Management Specialist: Role, Salary & Jobs

Disaster management specialists help prepare populations, companies, and organizations for potential threats and risks. This article explores the type of work they do, their typical duties and the education and skills needed to work in this field.

Career Definition of a Disaster Management Specialist

Disaster management specialists anticipate potential threats from a range of sources, including natural disasters and other emergencies. They use relevant data in order to identify threats to the organization they work for and then create plans to minimize the risks from those threats or, when possible, eliminate them. The specific types of risks they focus on may vary, depending on their employer. For example, those working for businesses that work with hazardous materials may be more focused on the potential costs of environmental damage, exposure or workplace accidents. Those who work for the government or companies that provide international travel, such as airlines, may be involved in determining the potential risk of a terrorist attack.

Disaster management specialists may be involved with training staff so that they know the procedures to follow in the event of a specific type of emergency. They often determine the financial impact that a company can experience from identified risks and continuously evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies that are in place to prevent or minimize disasters.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Computer skills, leadership abilities, communication skills, customer service experience, mathematical strengths, analytical skills, research abilities, decision-making skills
Median Salary (2016)* $70,500 (emergency management directors)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 8% (emergency management directors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Required Education

A bachelor's degree in a discipline such as emergency response, disaster planning, public administration, or business administration can prepare individuals for a career as a disaster management specialist. Some employers may require applicants to have relevant certifications, such as the Incident Command System (ICS) certification. International Associate of Emergency Management (IAEM) certification may also increase job prospects for those pursuing a career as a disaster management specialist.

Required Skills

Disaster management specialists need to consider many factors in order to effectively identify potential risks so they must have good research abilities to ensure they have all pertinent information. They also need strong analytical skills so that they can effectively analyze data, and they rely on decision-making skills in order to develop prevention and response plans. They may consult with clients directly to help identify risks and may also be involved with training staff, so they should have customer service experience and good communication skills, as well as effective leadership abilities.

Career Outlook and Salary

Disaster management specialists can be considered part of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) listing for emergency management directors, since they perform many duties that are comparable to those of disaster management specialists. The BLS expects that emergency management directors will see an 8% increase in jobs from 2016 to 2026 and states that those directors earned a median annual salary of $70,500 as of 2016.

Related Careers

Aspiring disaster management specialists may be interested in working with businesses in other roles in which they can help their employer make good business decisions or avoid potentially risky financial decisions. Follow the links below to explore some of those alternate careers.

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