Employment of emergency management directors is projected to grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Every geographic region has the potential for weather-related emergencies such as flooding, droughts, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Increasing urbanization and continued population growth in coastal regions may increase the number of people who are vulnerable to these emergencies. Emergency management directors will be needed to develop response plans to protect more people and property, and to limit the damage from emergencies and disasters.
Employment is projected to increase as both local and state governments place a greater emphasis on preparing for natural and human-made emergencies and seek to minimize the risks of being underprepared to deal with such emergencies. Employment growth, however, may be somewhat limited because of budgetary constraints in state and local governments. Although local and state revenue and spending have increased since the end of the recession, continued budget uncertainty and other spending obligations may lead to only modest growth in government hiring.
In addition, some local and state governments rely on federal financial assistance to fund their emergency management agencies. Yet similar budgetary problems at the federal level may lead to continued cutbacks in funding and grants to local and state agencies, further limiting the hiring of emergency management personnel. Some smaller counties may not hire full-time, stand-alone emergency management directors, choosing instead to shift the job responsibilities to the fire chief, police chief, or other government employees.
Employment, therefore, is likely to grow fastest in private companies. Emergency management directors will be needed to help businesses and organizations continue to provide essential products and services during and after emergencies. However, as in state and local government, some smaller companies, hospitals, or college campuses may not have a stand-alone director. Instead, an information technology (IT) director, a registered nurse, or a public safety officer may handle the emergency management duties.
Competition for jobs is expected to be strong. Emergency management directors are a relatively small occupation, and only modest increases in state and local government budgets mean that new job openings are likely to be limited.
However, retirements over the next decade may provide some opportunities for those interested in entering the occupation. Applicants with extensive work experience in an emergency management role will have the best job prospects.
Emergency Management Directors
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Emergency management directors
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program