Emergency Manager Job Description

Many people wonder, what does an emergency manager do? An Emergency Manager holds one of the most essential positions in the human services-public sector field. They are one of the first on the scene when disaster strikes.  They are often well-equipped to handle many types of emergency issues on a national and global level.

As an Emergency Manager or Emergency coordinator, preparing for disasters is part of the job. Emergency Managers administer plans and procedures as well,  for emergency service members to respond quickly when any natural disasters or man-made emergencies occur. They help lead the response during the event and help with cleanup in the aftermath of emergencies. In many cases, emergency managers or directors work alongside or with local, county, and state government officials.

Some work for both nonprofits and organizations, such as hospitals, colleges, and universities, or private companies. Emergency managers also work to develop and implement effective plans. For instance, working to minimize possible damages and disruptions during an emergency.


Emergency management directors and coordinators typically work to organize emergency response training for staff, volunteers, and other responders in the field. They also help coordinate resources and equipment needed for communities to assist in responding to an emergency. EMs also need to apply for federal funding for emergency management planning, responses, and recovery; including reporting on how to allocate the funds given.

An Emergency Manager’s job description may also include maintaining the facilities used during emergency operations and meeting with public safety officials regarding effective response planning. In certain positions, EMs are also business continuity managers. Many times EMs get their EM training from government agencies, such as FEMA. 


According to the FEMA website, there are several options to get the best training for Emergency Management personnel. Here is some information on four training facilities.

National Fire Academy

The National Fire Academy (NFA), is one of the nation’s top providers of leadership skills and advanced technical training for both local and state fire and emergency services. NFA courses receive college credit recommendations through the American Council on Education.  Continuing education units are also available through the International Association for Continuing Education and Training.

Center for Domestic Preparedness

The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) offers over 50 training courses at their resident campus, located in Anniston, Alabama. The courses are available through mobile deliveries.  Their focus is on incident management, mass casualty response, and emergency response if and when there are catastrophic natural disasters or terrorist acts.  Virtual training is also offered. CDP provides an Accreditation by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training. CDP also accredits national healthcare and law enforcement organizations in their training.

Emergency Management Institute

The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) has several functions, however, its main focus is the national focal point for the development and delivery of emergency management training. Their goal is to enhance the capabilities of federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government officials. This also includes volunteer organizations and the public and private sectors to minimize the impact of disasters.

The Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS)

The Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) offers a variety of programs with an emphasis on helping current and emerging leaders in Homeland Defense and Security.  The center develops policies, strategies, programs, and organizational elements needed to defeat terrorism. These strategies assist in preparing for and responding to natural disasters and public safety threats throughout the United States.

What is the Job Outlook for Emergency Managers? According to the BLS, there are about 700 openings for emergency management career opportunities projected each year and over the next decade. The field is relatively small. Yet as current EMs plan for their future, new emergency managers will be necessary to replace those heading for retirement.

Emergency Managers tend to work along with the public sector. Those in the field rely heavily on funding from federal government entities to do their job well. Some counties only hire part-time EMs, to stay within the financial budget. Sometimes the fire chief, police chief, or other top government official is put in the position of Emergency Manager of a particular county.


Emergency Managers or directors can have a promising lucrative salary. The median annual salary for emergency management personnel is $76,250, as of May 2020. However, wages may vary on the location of where the job is and the experience of each applicant. For those working in professional, scientific, and technical services, the average can be six figures.

College, universities, and professional institutions provide a salary of around $88,000 per year. Local and state governments, as well as hospitals, may offer a salary wage ranging from $66,000 to $87,000 annually. It is advised to check out your local and state offices for accurate job outlooks and salary updates.