crisis management

Job Spotlight - Crisis Management Director

You may never have heard of a Crisis Management Director, but you probably have seen their work. Crisis Managers work as part of a team that constantly plans for dealing with the worst possible events that could happen to their employer. Whenever a company, government or organization runs in an unexpected crisis, those working as an Emergency Management Director rush to contain and resolve the situation immediately. The idea is to keep some continuity to business and avoid as much negative press as possible.

Quick Facts: Crisis Management Director
2015 Median Pay (Annual)$67,330
2015 Median Pay (Hourly)$32.37
Entry Level EducationBachelor’s degree
Recommended EducationAt least a bachelor’s degree
2014-2024 Projected Outlook6% growth (as fast as average)
2014 Number of Jobs10,500
2014-2024 Estimated Employment Gains700

Resource: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Crisis Management Director FAQs

Do you think you have what it takes to excel under pressure and be part of this team? On this website you will find answers to the most commonly asked questions concerning Crisis Management Director including how to become one and a description of the duties. If you feel we missed anything or you have any questions, please contact us.

What is a Crisis Management Director?

Crisis Management is a two-part system that prepares and reacts for a damaging crisis or emergency for a company, organization or government. The main goals of a Crisis Management Director is to try to eliminate as much damage to the brand, program or group reputation while mitigating any liability or long-lasting effects that may strike the bottom line of finances.

In short, Crisis Management Director is much like typical public relations but dealing with emergencies, crisis or disasters. The need to protect the financial well-being of an organization as well as brand loyalty and continuity of a company is the key objectives. This is primarily done through press conferences, social media and interviews.

How Can I Become a Emergency Management Director?

Quick Info: Tips for Success
• Go to an accredited college or university
• Earn at least a bachelor’s degree
• Post-graduate degrees highly encouraged
What to Study
• Crisis or Emergency Management
• Communications
• Supervision
• Organizational Theory
• Business Law
• Public Relations
• Work hard
• Keep up with latest information
• Speak out and give opinions

Those interested in working as a Crisis Management Director can expect some competition for job opportunities. If you have the right education and characteristic traits, you can set yourself apart from your competition in the job hunt. Let’s look at some of the top ways that you can improve your chances to become part of the Emergency Management team.


Even though there may be some variation in the educational requirements to become a Crisis Management Director, it is still a must to have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Please take note that this is still a fairly new academic major with roughly 200 schools offering a Bachelor of Science in Crisis and Disaster Management (sometimes called Emergency and Crisis Management). We do recommend that you try to enroll in one of the colleges that offer Crisis Management degrees, if not there may be simple ways around it.

Some academic majors that can be extremely helpful in the Crisis Management field includes communications, management, business law and public relations. After earning one of these degrees, it is possible to go either go back and earn a certificate in Crisis Management or pursue a Master of Science in Emergency Management.

We should also mention that if you are in a Crisis Emergency Disaster Management program, you should highly consider minoring in communications, management or public relations to give you a rounded education that will help you gain the skills to succeed.


If you have the ambition and desire to advance in to more leadership position as a Crisis Management Director, there are basically two ways to go about it, depending on the agency or organization you work for. The most common way for you to make yourself eligible for a supervisory promotion is by getting your master’s degree. You will have more in-depth knowledge of theories and rational for ways to deal with a crisis.

The other way is by putting your nose to the grindstone and gaining straight up experience. Proving yourself in stressful situations and showing your supervisors that you have what it takes to do the job and to delegate responsibility when needed. It is possible to replace a master degree with experience but in some cases the mandatory advanced degree may make it difficult to overcome.

Where Can I Find Crisis Management Schools?

There are several ways that can help you find the right Crisis Management Director program. If you are a high school student, it would not hurt to talk to your guidance counselor. Another way is by talking to people involved in Crisis Management or public relations for some help finding a program that could give you the right education.

Probably one of the best ways to find a college that offers Crisis Management Director degrees is by looking on the internet. From there, you have to narrow down your choices to a school or program that best fits you and your tastes. Make absolute sure that the college or the program has been accredited so that you are getting the right kind of education.

Making a Decision

Going to college is a big commitment. You are about to spend a lot of money and time so you shouldn’t just pick a Emergency Management Director school and hope for the best. Do some research and make a list of what is important to you. Then you can narrow down the number of schools to find one that best exemplifies what you are looking for in the college experience.

  • Big or small school
  • Cost of tuition
  • Financial aid
  • Close or far from home
  • Campus setting or big city setting
  • Faculty to student ratio
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Reputation for school
  • Graduation rate

Are There Any Online Crisis Management Director Programs?

The simple answer is yes. Some of the most well respected Crisis Management Director programs in the country are offering degree classes online. Distance learning programs offer potential students a wonderful opportunity to study from some of the best programs without having to relocate across the country or quit their current responsibilities such as a full-time job or being a stay-at-home parent. Double check the accreditation before enrolling, just as you would for a regular campus program.

You can find a number of benefits when it comes to online or distance learning that you may not get at a traditional campus based program.

  • No commute
  • Study anywhere with an internet connection
  • Flexible schedules
  • Study at your own pace
  • No relocation
  • Less stress

A number of professionals who already have their Bachelor of Science degrees will pursue their master or PhD degrees in Crisis Management Director through online programs. This way, they can still work at their job full-time while furthering their education in this field. Some companies and agencies even provide a tuition reimbursement.

How Long Do Crisis Management Programs Take?

The answer to this question is dependent on the type of Crisis Management Director degree or training program you are attending. Generally a Bachelor of Science degree can take 4-years or longer, depending on your study habits. A Master of Science can take 2 to 3 years after receiving your bachelor’s degree.

If you are already hold a degree in a related field such as public relations, as an example, you may be able to take some certification programs to help gain the basic skills of Crisis Management Director. Certificate programs like this can take as short as a few weeks to upwards of 6 months.

What is a Crisis Manager Director Job Description?

Quick Info:
Suggested Personality Traits of a Crisis Management Director
Characteristics and Traits
• Hard worker
• Confidence
• Tremendous public speaking skills
• Strong oral and written communication skills
• Intellectual integrity
• Ability to stay calm in stressful situations
• Decisiveness
• Detail oriented
• Highly organized
• Take ownership of success and failures
• Willing to listen to advice
• Reliable
• Able to hit deadlines
• Can see big picture and all moving parts
• Able think abstractly and analytically
• Stand up against scrutiny
• Can take responsibility for mistakes
• Team player
• Listens to other points of view

The main role of a Crisis Manager or a Crisis Management team is try to mitigate harm of your company or organization due to man-made or natural events. The continuity of the company or organization is of up most importance to avoid potential financial or reputation loss. In most cases, this does mean that the team must be quick acting and following a prescribed action set by the crisis plan that has been set for such an emergency or crisis.

The amount or type of action depends on the type of crisis that occurs. Sometimes some simple public relations interaction with the press and social media can help defuse an issue while other times it might take drastic actions. A basic description of what Crisis Management Director does or is in charge of includes:

  • Create and adhere to crisis plan
  • Give interviews and other public relations
  • Reduce liability
  • Inform employees and management about the crisis
  • Keep Crisis Management team and executives informed
  • Reverse negative perception
  • Reduce injuries and save lives
  • Deal with traumatic events for employees
  • Protect company assets
  • Minimalize financial losses and concerns
  • Save brand identity and reputation
  • Quickly and honestly address issues
  • Maintain continuity and market share
  • Market against aggressive opportunistic actions by competitors

Where Can I Find Emergency Management Director Jobs?

There are a couple of ways you can go about locating a job in Crisis Management that would be fit your particular skills. You can either look in a specific industry or just a specific position. Both of these strategies really depends on what you are looking for and what experience you may already have.

Industry Specific

If you have previously had experience in a certain industry, it might be best to use your expertise in this specific sector. By showing potential employers that you have marketability through experience or know-how in their industry along with the skills as a Crisis Management Director you may get a bit of a boost over other candidates. Especially in highly-technical industries such as healthcare, engineering or pharmaceuticals, as examples.

Not to forget that if you have experience within an industry, there is a good chance you already have contacts to work with. Networking with existing employees in that industry can prove to be more helpful than just cold calling the Human Relations department.

Position Specific

The strategy behind position specific job search is best for recent college graduates and people who have a more diverse work history. You will try to find sell your Crisis Management Director skills more in the direction of an organization or company with a stronger public relations strategy. More times than not, Emergency Management Directors work in within the public relations department of these types of companies.

Look towards companies that focus on providing services or products to a consumer base. Having the background and education to deal with a crisis may make you more marketable than someone with just a communications or public relations education. At all times, make sure that you let the potential employers know that you have Crisis Management skills that can greatly improve public relations if an emergency (natural or man-made) occurs.

State, local and federal government is the largest employer of those working as a Crisis Management Director. This would fall under the position specific strategy and can be a very lucrative and rewarding career for years to come.

What is the Median Crisis Management Director Salary?

One really great benefit to working as a Crisis Management Director is the pay. The latest data of median wages for all those in Crisis Management is $67,330 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your actual salary depends more on which industry you are working in. For example the top paying industries are waste treatment, electric power generation and oil and gas extraction. Among the lowest are local and state governments.

Crisis Management Director Salary


Other factors that may weigh in on your actual salary include:

  • Experience
  • Level of Education
  • Location

What is the Job Outlook for a Crisis Management Director?

The job outlook for those working in Crisis Management is growing stronger. This is in part due to the social media revolution that can turn a small minor glitch in to a viral fiasco. Not to mention the increased frequency of natural disasters and possible terrorist attacks. Emergency Management is still a fairly young field that is still growing and maturing daily.

Crisis Management Director Expected Job Growth

The projected growth in this industry from 2014 to 2024 is between 0% to 6% growth, which is average for all occupations in general. However, as mentioned above the emerging importance of social media along with man-made and natural events may make Crisis Management Director a viable industry for years to come.

Are There Certifications for Emergency Management?

Although certifications may be voluntary to some employers, they can serve as an advantage for those seeking a new position. The National Center for Crisis Management offers a number of certification classes in traumatic stress specialties and Crisis Management Director specialties. Types of certifications that may be helpful in your career include:

  • Certification in Emergency Crisis Response (CECR)
  • Certification in School Crisis Response (CSCR)
  • Certification in University Crisis Response (CUCR)
  • Certification in Corporate Crisis Response (CCCR)
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