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Kick Start Your Career As an Emergency Management Specialist

People talking representing Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security Studies  of Tulane School of Professional Advancement in New Orleans, LA

If your days are blurring together and you feel your life is lacking excitement, a career change might be in order. Are you detail-oriented? Do you stay calm under pressure? Does working behind-the-scenes developing disaster response plans for those on the front lines sound thrilling to you? If so, emergency management could be the field for you.

What Is an Emergency Manager?

Although they usually work in the public sector, emergency management specialists aren’t typically in the spotlight when disaster strikes. Instead, they work behind-the-scenes to coordinate response plans to ensure that police, firefighters, and emergency responders show up. They coordinate with states and municipalities to communicate disaster response plans, train other personnel on emergency preparedness, and plan for emergency contingencies. Emergency managers usually work for the government, military, or law enforcement. But many private-sector organizations—like large operations, including hospitals and universities—also employ emergency management specialists.

What Do Emergency Managers Do?

Since you have a general understanding of the position, it’s now time to get into the duties and responsibilities of an emergency manager. While emergency managers definitely get a front row seat to the action, they do spend much of their time in an office, with regular outings for training sessions. An average day isn’t particularly stressful, but emergency management specialists need to be ready to jump into action when disaster strikes, often without warning.

Ahead of an emergency like a hurricane, emergency managers raise community awareness of emergency response plans in an attempt to ease the burden placed on first responders. They also have to coordinate those emergency response efforts, ensuring that evacuations, victim assistance, relief efforts, and reconstruction plans are implemented as required. Emergency managers disseminate important information through the media, so it’s important to maintain good relationships with TV, radio, and news personnel to minimize the impact of disaster.

How Do You Become an Emergency Manager?

You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security Studies, to become an emergency management specialist. A Master's Degree in Emergency Management can also prepare you for a career drafting disaster preparedness plans in large or disaster-prone cities. Those who already have degrees in non-related fields might be eligible for a career in emergency management by enrolling in a certificate program that teaches them practical security and emergency management skills. Many employers also require certification in the National Incident Management System, which can be completed online. The time you invest in education can pay off; an emergency management specialist for FEMA makes an average of about $72,000, according to FEMA’s Glassdoor page.

Become an Emergency Management Specialist Today

If you can’t stand another day of data entry or repetitive menial tasks, the Tulane School of Professional Advancement can prepare you for a fast-paced career in emergency management. We’d love to speak with you to help you decide if this is the next step in your professional career. Request information about SoPA or call us today at (504) 865-5555 to learn more.

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