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Masters in Disaster & Emergency Management Jobs, Careers & Salary Outlook

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Disaster & Emergency Management Specialist Job Duties

When disaster and emergencies strike, most of us expect to see police and firefighters on the scene. However, more often today we are seeing disaster and emergency management specialists taking on a more important role. These professionals, usually with a master’s degree in public health, put together plans of disaster response, train others in the organization in how to respond to disasters and emergencies, and also work with other emergency  professionals to make sure that all bases are covered.

Many disaster and emergency management specialists work for the government. Some of the most common employers include law enforcement, military, and state and local governments. However, there are more private firms and nonprofits that also need these professionals because they work in a field where emergencies are a risk. Some of these employers include hospitals, universities, and community relief centers.

Other duties may include:

  • Perform vulnerability analysis
  • Assess the capability of organizations to deal with emergency consequences
  • Put together emergency budgets and plans
  • Have a strong grasp of Homeland Security and Emergency Management policies
  • Work with both private and public groups to develop and implement emergency procedures

Disaster & Emergency Management Specialist Career & Salary Outlook

There is a greater focus on disaster preparedness in the 21st century, especially after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01. More organizations are willing to spend money on disaster and emergency preparation. This is why the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates that the field will grow by 22% in terms of total jobs, in the next 10 years. This is above average when compared with other fields.

The median salary for a disaster and emergency management specialist in 2010 was $54,000. The states of CA, MA and RI had the highest salaries, with an average wage in CA of $78,000.

Job Outlook for Disaster & Emergency Management Specialists

This is a growing field in the 21st century. How high you can go depends upon what you want to do with your career. With a master’s degree in public health, you may decide that you want to work in a government agency in a small town. Or, you may want to work in disaster preparation for a big city, which would have more responsibility and more pay. How much you get paid really depends on the level of responsibility that you want to have. The lower paid professionals in this field, according to BLS, make only about $35,000, while the top 10% earn over $90,000 per year.

Disaster & Emergency Management Specialist Education and Training

You can have a bachelor’s degree in a variety of fields to work in this profession, such as in emergency management, public safety, public administration, business management and so on. Also, a master’s degree in public health will put you in the strongest position for a job with the highest levels of responsibility and pay. Many employers in the field will want you to have a certification by the National Incident Management System, which is a system that was designed for emergency and disaster response by FEMA.

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