Emergency Management Director: Salary and Job Description

An emergency management director points at a note on a whiteboard.

Emergency scenarios like wildfires, hurricanes and other types of hazards and natural disasters can arise at any time. Every business or organization can benefit from having an emergency preparedness plan in place to rapidly and effectively respond to these situations. An emergency management director helps organizations coordinate these efforts and strengthen responses to catastrophic events.

Exploring the role’s job description, along with the typical emergency management director salary, can help interested individuals decide if this is a career path they wish to pursue.

What Is the Emergency Management Director Job Description?

The role of an emergency management director is focused on planning for accidents, natural disasters and other emergency scenarios. A director collaborates with organizational leaders to anticipate potential risks, assess probabilities and develop plans to respond effectively. Emergency management directors help prevent emergency situations from unfolding as well as create and implement safety protocols and procedures for when emergencies do occur.

What Does an Emergency Management Director Do?

The job description of an emergency management director can vary from one organization to the next, but some of the role’s core responsibilities include:

  • Assessing hazards: An emergency management director researches natural disasters in the area and analyzes hazard prevention methods. In an occupational setting, a director surveys the workplace to evaluate accident risks.
  • Planning and policy: An emergency management director’s role also entails crafting policies and procedures to help mitigate disasters and empower employees, volunteers and others to respond appropriately. This includes creating evacuation maps, managing emergency response budgets and providing guidelines for common emergency situations.
  • Training personnel: This encompasses leading professional development opportunities, writing training manuals and demonstrating the proper use of safety equipment to train staff to respond when disasters strike.
  • Maintaining facilities: Emergency management directors are often tasked with organizing and stockpiling emergency supplies and ensuring they’re accessible as needed within a facility. Facility management can include any provisions to prepare a building or structure for emergencies.
  • Providing leadership: Emergency management directors are tasked with providing on-site leadership during emergencies and coordinating relief efforts. This often includes communicating with first responders, meeting with public officials and securing relief funding for government agencies.

When Do Emergency Management Directors Provide Support?

Emergency management directors lend vital support in various crisis situations, including during natural disasters and other emergencies. Some examples of these scenarios include:

  • Floods
  • Fires and wildfires
  • Hurricanes, tornadoes and intense storms
  • Hazardous substance contamination
  • Active shooter scenarios
  • Hostage situations

What Is the Average Emergency Management Director Salary?

The median annual salary for an emergency management director was $76,730 in May 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Salaries for emergency management directors can vary considerably, with those in the lowest 10th percentile earning approximately $46,670 — on par with the average salary for all occupations tracked by the BLS — while those in the highest 10th percentile may earn more than $133,580.

Enhancing their knowledge and skill set by earning an advanced degree and/or obtaining certification may help an emergency management director boost their potential earnings.

Emergency Management Director Job Outlook

Employment opportunities for emergency management directors are projected to grow by 6 percent between 2020 and 2030, with about 1,000 job openings each year over that period, according to the BLS.

The majority of emergency management directors work in local and state government, with those sectors employing 52 percent and 16 percent of directors, respectively, the BLS reports. Other employers include hospitals (8 percent); colleges, universities and professional schools (4 percent); and professional, scientific and technical services (3 percent).

Pursue a Career in Emergency Management

Accidents, natural disasters and other emergency scenarios invariably happen, posing a threat to people and infrastructure. Being ready is essential. The expertise of an emergency management director helps to ensure that an institution, organization or community is prepared when disaster strikes.

Gaining the skills for success in this field requires the right educational experience, such as Virginia Commonwealth University’s online Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. In this program, students can develop the competencies to assess hazards and prepare an organization for potential catastrophes. Completion of this program can help expand job opportunities and may result in a higher salary for aspiring emergency management directors.

Discover how you can help safeguard others through a career as an emergency management director with an HSEP.