What Are the Disaster Management Professions?

Learn about the job outlook and salary for several disaster management careers. Find information about education requirements and key skills necessary for a job in disaster management. Schools offering Criminal Justice degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Disaster Management Professions

Disasters can be a small, local flood or a full-blown terrorist attack. When these emergencies happen, individuals working in disaster management professions are needed to help with the disaster, the cleanup and the aftermath. Disaster management professions include those of firefighters, police officers, paramedics and other responders to disaster situations.

Important Facts About Disaster Management Professions

Emergency Management Directors EMTs and Paramedics Hazardous Material Removal Workers
Job Outlook (2014-24) 6% 24% 7%
Key Skills Critical thinking, leadership, decision-making Physical strength, listening, speaking Physical stamina, mechanical, detail-oriented
Similar Occupations Management analyst, budget analyst, executive Physician assistant, registered nurse, police officer Construction laborer, insulation workers, construction & maintenance
Required Education Bachelor's degree Postsecondary nondegree award High school diploma

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Police Officers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), police officers might normally pull over speeders and apprehend lawbreakers, but they're also among the first on the scene in an emergency (www.bls.gov). These disaster management professionals can direct people to somewhere safe. The median annual salary for police officers was $56,810 in 2014, according to the BLS.


Firefighters are often first on the scene of an emergency, and, in disasters of any kind, they can be especially useful. They are prepared to enter buildings, assess the situation and contact other disaster management professionals, according to the BLS. The BLS reported that the median yearly salary in 2014 was $45,970.

Emergency Management Directors

People with this title work with police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other disaster management professionals to coordinate disaster response activities. They also track the possibility of events like natural disasters taking place, according to the BLS. The median annual salary for emergency management directors was $64,360 in 2014, according to the BLS.

Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT)

Paramedics and EMTs work with the police and fire departments to treat people who are injured. These professionals assess a patient's condition and determine the best way to help them. According to the BLS, there are three different levels for EMTs and paramedics, and you can move from one to the other with training and additional certification. The median yearly salary for paramedics and EMTs was $31,700 as of a May 2014 report from the BLS, and earnings can increase with training and certifications.

Hazardous Material Removal Workers

Not all situations where disaster management professionals are required have to do with terrorist or natural disaster situations. Another disaster management profession is hazardous material removal workers. They remove hazardous materials like nuclear materials, arsenic, mercury and lead, according to the BLS. These technicians receive training to safely remove materials. The BLS reported in May 2014 that these workers earned a median annual salary of $38,520.

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