Emergency Management Director

An emergency management director is a public service professional who coordinates, plans and prepares for natural disasters and public emergencies. As an EMD you will work closely in conjunction with the police, fire agencies, EMTs and other emergency response organizations from public officials to FEMA, and even to the military in some cases, to respond to any sort of disaster or emergency.

Emergency management directors are at the forefront of emergency response, from earthquakes and wildfires to terrorist actions. This career is exciting but requires ace judgment and the ability to make strong decisions fast. It also requires superior coordination, personnel management and project management skills.

What Does an Emergency Management Director Do?

Emergency management directors create policies and prepare procedures and plans for organizing a community’s response to natural disasters and emergencies. They are the leaders of the response teams both during the emergency and in the aftermath. They coordinate with elected officials, public safety officers, nonprofits and other agencies both civilian and government.

Emergency Management Director Duties and Responsibilities

As an emergency management director, you may be called upon to do the following:

  • Assess potential dangers to the community
  • Create and execute response plans to disasters and emergencies
  • Work to reduce risk and loss of both property and people
  • Coordinate with local, state and federal government agencies as well as public safety officials, private industry and the public to increase knowledge and awareness of emergency response protocols
  • Help to foster resource sharing across communities to improve emergency response
  • Create damage assessments and share analyses of damage following a disaster
  • Critique and improve response plans of various organizations and medical facilities
  • Write grants and apply for funding at the federal level for emergency response and recovery situations; manage and report on funding use
  • Maintain emergency operations facilities

Where Does an Emergency Management Director Work?

Over half of all emergency management directors work in local government. Just over 10% work in state government, while the remainder work in hospitals, professional or scientific facilities, colleges, universities and technical schools. The position is, in general, a full-time job that requires you to be on call constantly and may require significant overtime in case of an emergency. Weekend and evening hours may be required to coordinate and meet with community groups and other organizations. Emergency management directors are exceptionally passionate about what they do.

Emergency Management Director Salary and Job Outlook

The annual salary of an emergency management director varies widely based on where the professional is employed. The median annual wage for this job is just under $65,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bottom ten percent of professionals in this career earn less than $34,000, and the top earners in the field are paid up to $117,000 per year or more.

Statistically, those who work in secondary educational facilities such as universities, colleges, professional schools and the like earn the most, with a median salary of around $85,000 per year. Those who work in technical services or for scientific or professional companies are next with a median earning of almost $78,000, while those who work in hospital facilities are just around $75,000. Local and state government officials earn between $54,000 and $58,000 per year.

Emergency Management Director Employment Outlook 

Emergencies aren’t likely to stop happening. One can never predict when another earthquake, tornado or flood incident will strike, and the threat of terrorism still looms large. As such, the job outlook and demand for emergency management directors is strong. It is predicted that over the next ten years, job growth will be around 5%.

We face continued population growth and expansion into coastal regions, and more people than ever are urbanizing, looking to city life due to the amenities and conveniences it provides. This also increases the need for emergency management. As governments place more importance and focus on preparing for these emergencies, employment in this sector will grow as well.

It is predicted, however, that competition in the labor force for this profession will continue to be strong. Even though spending has increased since the end of the recession, budgets are still tight meaning that job growth will be more modest than its needs would indicate.The fastest growthwill be in private companies rather than in government offices.

Additional Careers in Law Enforcement

Consider these additional careers in law enforcement.

Police Officer
Crime Scene Investigator
FBI Agent
Game Warden
Police Detective
Private Investigator
State Trooper
U.S. Marshal