CHOOSING A CAREER / JAN. 22, 2015
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How to Become an Environmental Emergency Management Specialist in the US

Environmental Emergency Management Specialist
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How well an organization is prepared to tackle an environmental emergency can mean the difference between losing and saving lives. Emergency management directors help organizations to appropriately respond to natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods, as well as man-made hazard. If you are able to work calmly under intense pressure, this may be the career for you.

What Do Environmental Emergency Management Specialist Do?

Their duties include:

  • Assessing and determining the environmental emergencies that an organization is likely to face
  • Developing a suitable disaster preparedness program
  • Improving the level of disaster preparedness within an organization by training its workers on emergency response
  • Coordinating emergency response during emergencies – This involves liaising with healthcare facilities, volunteers, law enforcement organizations and aid agencies
  • Performing damage assessment after the occurrence of an emergency
  • Wring grants to request federal funding for emergency response activities.

Work Environment

Although these emergency management specialists work from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, they can be called to work at any time of day or night to handle an emergency. On normal days, though, they spend their time in an office environment.

The job may involve occasional travel since you may need to attend environmental emergency management seminars and other industry meetings.

Salary

What is the average annual salary for environmental emergency management specialists? Find out below:

Occupation

Annual Wage

Environmental management specialist

$57,000

Source: Indeed

Entry Requirements

To become an environmental emergency management specialist, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree in emergency and disaster management. The program covers topics in areas such as emergency planning, consequence management, and emergency and disaster incident command.

Some of the institutions offering this credential include:

You can also enter the profession through a degree in environmental management or environmental health and safety. If you choose this option, it is important to ensure that the program offers coursework in emergency management.

Important Qualities

To be a competent emergency management specialist you need:

  • Excellent planning skills
  • An interest in environmental protection
  • Strong coordinating skills
  • Strong critical-thinking
  • The ability to make quick decisions during stressful situations
  • The ability to work calmly under pressure
  • Good personnel management skills
  • Good grant writing skills
  • Good leadership skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Knowledge or relevant emergency response regulations.

Career Development

After finding work, you can undertake the following activities to advance your career:

Job Opportunities

The main employers of environmental emergency managers include:

  • Government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Disaster relief agencies
  • Local governments
  • Emergency management consulting companies
  • Manufacturing plants, such as power generation and distribution agencies
  • Educational institutions
  • Healthcare facilities.

With vast experience, a professional certification and an advanced degree, you can progress to become an emergency management director. You could also move into consulting.

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide occupational data for environmental emergency management specialists, the industry looks promising. Frequent changes in weather patterns make more regions vulnerable to natural disasters, meaning more emergency specialists will be sought to plan appropriate responses.

So if you think you can help an organization or community weather a storm, you could become a competent environmental emergency management specialist.

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