FEMA Jobs (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

President Barack Obama FEMA Meeting

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, plays many roles; but, simply put it coordinates federal emergency and disaster recovery efforts and makes disaster response resources available to states and communities. Over 7,400 employees fill FEMA jobs; their posts range from the FEMA Headquarters and the National Emergency Training Centre to FEMA’s ten regional offices, as well as other sites. Working for FEMA helps fulfill the agency’s mission: “to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards”.

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FEMA jobs available include areas of federal coordination, planning, training, alternate dispute resolution, individual and public assistance, information technology, mitigation, disaster knowledge and many other cadres.

When you start working for FEMA, your range of experience and education will influence what position you will be posted in. In many cases you are able to work yourself up the ranks to a senior level position, such as the Director of FEMA’s Operation Center, by starting at an entry-level position in some form of federal service. To become a permanent, higher-level FEMA employee, you have to be a continuous learner, show a passion for the job and be keen to take on new responsibilities.

Most FEMA jobs require employees to be on call 24/7 and to temporarily relocate during a state of emergency.

Entry-Level FEMA Jobs

FEMA Operations Center

FEMA offers several entry-level positions with the potential for advancement to permanent careers upon successful completion. Those with a Bachelors degree are eligible for a GS-5 position; those with one year of graduate education are eligible for a GS-7 position; those with two or more years of graduate education are eligible for a GS-9 position. Candidates must also complete the ACWA (Administrative Career with America) assessment test. FEMA jobs available for interns fall into a variety of sectors including marketing, emergency management, human resources and information technology.

FEMA also offers a Student Career Experience Program to students at least 16 years old you are completing a high school, university/college or vocational/technical training program.

FEMA posts internship and student employment opportunities on the following sites:

www.fema.gov/career and http://www.usajobs.gov/.

Other entry-level FEMA jobs include working as a CORE (Cadre of On-Call Response/Recovery Employee) or as a DAE (Disaster Assistance Employee), also known as a Reservist.

CORE positions are temporary, generally last for either two or four year terms and include a variety of roles ranging from Program Specialist and Administrative Assistant to Environmental Protection Specialist and Information Technology Specialist.

DAEs or Reservists are on-call employees that are called upon to act during an emergency. They are expected to staff field offices and disaster recovery offices and to perform vital roles such as interviewing survivors, performing damage assessments and to provide much needed resources and logistical support to disaster areas.

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Permanent Careers at FEMA (Mid to Senior Level)

After working for FEMA or another federal agency, you may become eligible for a permanent, higher up position with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. A variety of careers at FEMA represent this rank. Examples include:

  • Federal Coordinating Officer
  • Field Response Branch Chief
  • Operations Watch Analyst
  • Management & Program Analyst
  • Chief of Plans & Policy Unit
  • Legislative Affairs Specialist
  • Ethics Team Chief
  • Attorney Advisor
  • Human Resources Advisor
  • National Tribal Liaison
  • Employee Services Specialist
  • FEMA Administrator
  • External Affairs Specialist
  • And many more…

Volunteering for FEMA

If you want to do your part to help your fellow citizens during the next major disaster, FEMA recommends joining a local organization and becoming trained so you are ready for the next emergency. You can find out about disaster relief organizations near you by contacting the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the HandsOn Network and United We Serve. Volunteer experience in such a capacity will also make you a competitive candidate when applying for FEMA jobs.