Hiring an Emergency Management Specialist: Job Descriptions, Salary, and More

Image of emergency service personnel at a scene with gear Hiring an Emergency Management Specialist

When emergencies arise, private and public organizations and facilities can rely on the expertise of trained emergency management specialists to help manage and mitigate the situation. Let’s review what this essential role is, the questions to ask to find the right one, and how to find an emergency management specialist.

What is an Emergency Management Specialist?

Emergency management specialists plan for and respond to situations such as natural disasters, crisis events, or other emerging situations. They develop plans and procedures to respond to situations while minimizing injuries and property damage as much as possible. They are can be employed by government response services, nonprofits, and corporations that anticipate and respond to public threats. These roles can range from private to public sector.

Emergency Management Specialist Roles and Responsibilities

It’s difficult for anyone to foresee emergencies until they are on the horizon—sometimes quite literally. Therefore, a key part of this role involves not only managing the aftermath, but also preparing disaster response plans that can help help save lives and property.

Key job duties for emergency management specialists include things like

  • Assessing potential risks, threats, and hazards that may result in human injury or property damage
  • Understanding the probability of an emergency and determining the optimal response
  • Training response staff, volunteers, or organizations
  • Maintaining equipment and documentation used in emergency response
  • Investigating disaster situations to assess for injury or damage
  • Liaising with government agencies and emergency response stakeholders to develop cross-departmental action and communication plans
  • Coordinating disaster response activities such as ordering evacuations, executing shelter-in-place, or opening public shelters
  • Monitoring data and weather forecasts for potential threats
  • Implementing community outreach programs in the aftermath of an emergency or disaster
  • Preparing status reports on recovery efforts as well as preliminary damage assessments

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Top Skills of an Emergency Management Specialist

The role of an emergency management specialist is unique because it balances technical, interpersonal, and managerial skills:

  • Leadership under pressure and in the face of challenging situations
  • Strong communication skills to inform, delegate responsibility, disseminate news, and support their team
  • Flexibility and adaptability during emerging and unpredictable situations
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills to determine responsive action plans
  • Familiarity with emergency database interfaces and software such as Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN), the Federal Emergency Management Information System (FEMIS), and SoftRisk technologies
  • Team building skills to encourage mutual respect and cooperation during times of crisis

RELATED: Emergency Response Staffing

Qualifications and Credentials of an Emergency Management Specialist

Qualifications to become an emergency management specialist may vary based on the situation organization, as well as the local jurisdiction it operates in. Some government or public agencies will have different requirements than private sector organizations.

Some employers seek out candidates with a bachelor’s degree in public health, emergency management, business management, or another related field. Given the complexity of the role and the mix of knowledge and skills needed, ideal candidates will likely have a mix of education and experience to provide well-rounded expertise. It’s not uncommon for candidates in this field to have a background in areas like fire safety, law enforcement, government, or military service. Candidates will likely have ample hands-on experience in emergency situations to build the breadth and depth of knowledge needed to serve the role.

Additionally, many candidates opt for continued education or credentials to build a robust knowledge base. Common emergency management certifications include things like certified emergency manager (CEM) and associate emergency manager (AEM).

Pay and Job Outlook

Emergency management specialists are in high demand, with a median annual wage of $76,730 as of May 2021. Most emergency management specialists work full-time at professional services organizations, hospitals, colleges and universities, and government agencies, but different organizations may have varying needs.

Emergency Management Specialist Job Description

When drafting an emergency management specialist job description, be as specific to your unique needs as possible. This role is trained to respond to a host of situations and disasters. Still, candidates can be clear about their qualifications and experience if they fully understanding the specific needs at an organization or deployment.

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Common Emergency Management Specialist Interview Questions

Interview questions when hiring an emergency management specialist should be specific to your situation, but some common questions we’ve heard include:

  1. What drew you to this field?
  2. What skills do you think are the most important to be successful in this position?
  3. How do you adapt your communication style when liaising with various government entities, public health facilities, and civilians?
  4. Walk me through your steps to prepare an emergency response plan.
  5. How do you collaborate with others to improve the effectiveness of your emergency response plan?
  6. What have you found to be the best way to test the effectiveness of an emergency response plan?
  7. Share your prior experience executing an emergency response plan or performing emergency activities.
  8. How do you perform a risk assessment and make a recommendation with your findings?
  9. What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Find Your Next Emergency Management Specialist with Insight Global

The nature of an emergency is that they can be unpredictable and require a rapid response. That’s exactly why organizations benefit from sourcing the best emergency management specialists to help them plan for as well as respond swiftly to incoming situations disasters. Regardless of the type of response staffing need, Insight Global has a host of trained emergency response staff ready for any situation.


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