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How do I Become an Emergency Management Specialist?

The duties an emergency management specialist has may vary depending on where and for whom he works. In general, however, a person in this field helps make plans for dealing with emergencies and coordinates efforts to keep people safe and provide shelter and other necessities when an emergency situation strikes. Typically, a person who wants to become an emergency management specialist prepares by earning a bachelor’s degree in a related major. This may be enough to secure an entry-level position in some places. A person who wants to seek a management position may need years of experience as well.

Emergency management specialists have a range of job duties. Often, their job involves making plans and developing procedures for handling a range of emergencies, disasters, and crisis situations. They may also help train others, such as emergency agencies and the general public, to deal with crisis situations, including such things as floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, wartime bombings, nuclear accidents, and situations involving hostages. When a crisis strikes, these individuals coordinate efforts to respond efficiently. Often, a person in this field also helps to evaluate potential vulnerabilities and develop budgets for preparing for and dealing with emergency situations.

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Typically, a person who wants to become an emergency management specialist has to go to college and earn a bachelor’s degree in preparation for this career. For example, a person pursuing a career in this field may strive to earn a degree in emergency management, public safety, or environmental science. Degrees in public administration or even business management may prove sufficient as well. Those who want to manage others in this field or head emergency management departments will usually need lengthy experience in addition to a degree. Some employers may accept master’s degrees in place of long experience, however.

Besides education, a person who wants to become an emergency management specialist needs certain qualities in order to succeed and perform well in this job. He'll usually need good analysis skills and the ability to stay calm under pressure. He'll also need good communication skills for dealing with coworkers, the public, and related agencies. Typically, an individual in this field is also expected to be decisive yet capable of working with a team.

Often, a person who wants to become an emergency management specialist seeks a job with a government agency. He may work for a federal, regional, or local government, for example. Some also pursue jobs with law enforcement agencies or the military. Others may work with private organizations that respond to emergencies or help to prepare for them.

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