Salary and Career Info for a Masters in Disaster and Emergency Management
The attack on the U.S. on September 11, 2001 still haunts most Americans. The other terrorist attacks that have occurred throughout the world since then have contributed to an increasing need by governments and private corporations to employ more professionals in the field of disaster and emergency management. Those interested in pursuing a master's degree in disaster and emergency management will find a much faster than average job growth in this field during the next several years.
Educational Information: Master's in Disaster and Emergency Management
Candidates for a master's in disaster and emergency management, such as the Master of Science (M.S.) in Emergency Management, must have a bachelor's degree in any discipline. Some programs require standardized graduate admission tests, essays, references, and a personal interview. Because coursework in disaster and emergency management programs focuses on management and public policy issues, it is helpful, but not essential to have an academic background in these subjects.
Master's in Disaster and Emergency Management Coursework
Many universities offer a master's in public affairs or public administration with a specialization in disaster and emergency management. Coursework includes classes in information technology, management, economics, ethics, municipal planning, and communications, all with an emergency and disaster orientation. Some programs offer a fieldwork component such as a hands-on, mock disaster management scenario, or internships with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Association, or other local, national, or international organizations.
Students learn to prepare for and identify emergencies and disaster situations, budget for emergencies and disasters, manage delivery of emergency services, and manage the public communication about emergencies and disasters. Some disaster and emergency master's programs may also require a master's thesis and oral or written examinations.
Career Information: Master's in Disaster and Emergency Management
Graduates with a master's in disaster and emergency management may take jobs in the public sector with municipalities, states, the military, or law enforcement agencies. Corporations which handle sensitive information or in industries in which disasters might be devastating, such as oil and gas companies, electrical generation companies, chemical companies, and financial firms, may also require the services of an emergency management professional. In addition, nonprofit organizations such as hospitals, schools, universities, and community service organizations often hire disaster and emergency management specialists. Basic job duties include coordinating disaster response, training other employees, or community members for disaster preparedness and developing plans and procedures for natural, wartime, or technology disasters and hostage situations.
Salary Information and Job Outlook: Disaster and Emergency Management Specialists
The disaster and emergency specialist position was heralded by the U.S. News and World Report as one of the 50 best careers in 2010. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects average employment growth in the field between 2010 and 2020 and reports 9,550 emergency directors were employed in 2012, more than half of whom worked for local or state governments (www.bls.gov). The BLS also notes that salaries in 2012 for these professionals greatly varied between the bottom ten percent, who earned $30,760, to the top ten percent who earned $107,810, with the median annual salary approximately $59,770 in 2012.
The average salary also depends on the industry. As reported by the BLS, top paying industries in 2012 for these positions and mean annual salaries include:
- Scientific research and development service: $93,970
- Waste treatment and disposal: $89,820
- Private companies and enterprises: $89,760
- Electric power generation, transmission and distribution: $83,150
- Scheduled air transportation: $81,690
In addition, average mean salaries also vary widely based on geographic location from a low of $40,670 in South Dakota to a high of $97,450 in California, according to the BLS.
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