TV coverage of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, terrorist attacks, and many other natural or humanmade disasters often shows workers with FEMA jackets helping victims. So, at least once in your life, you saw or heard about this organization.
But did you ever have a chance to delve deeper into this topic? What does this agency do, how do they work, who are these people in FEMA uniform, and how hard to get hired?
In 2003 FEMA become a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). And for today, this organization has more than 11 thousand workers throughout the country and its headquarters, including the National Emergency Training Center, Center for Domestic Preparedness/Noble Training Center, and its ten regional offices.
Due to the tight selection for each workplace, many people believe that get hired at FEMA is almost unreal. But nothing is impossible! Keep reading to find out all the FEMA career details.
Table of Contents
What is FEMA?
Before moving to the central issue of FEMA employment opportunities, let’s look at “What is FEMA” question and learn a little more about its history.
According to official data, the federal emergency management agency was created in the 1979 year (more than 40 years ago). The mission of FEMA was and remains unchanged: to decrease the loss of property and life, defend national institutions from all dangers by managing and supporting the government and people in a risk-based emergency administration program of preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery.
Does this mean that working for FEMA is the same as being a superhero? It does! Because since the year of foundation, FEMA remains the leading agency within the national government for responding and recovering from disasters.
For today, FEMA has provided support for more than 1,900 incidents in the country. It is serving the nation coordinating efforts and extensive resources with any number of federal, local, and even tribal partners. It also provides support to the nongovernmental organizations and the private sector.
How to Work for FEMA?
FEMA directs its forces to secure the best allocation of resources, human supplies, and funds. Here are the 3 most significant departments you can work for FEMA:
Response and Recovery
The Office of the Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery (ORR) was combined Logistics Management, Response, and Recovery Directorates. This way, the ORR accepts all requests for crisis declarations and significant disasters in acquiescence with the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. Also, it provides direction, guidance to build, sustain, and enhance the coordination and transfer of support, manages several DEMA’s primary operational components, which cover:
- Logistics Management Directorate;
- Response Directorate;
- Recovery Directorate;
- Field Operations Directorate;
- Office of the Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery (Executive Staff, Doctrine and Policy Office and Business Management Office).
Assessment and Readiness
FEMA created the Readiness and Assessment office in the 2010 year. FEMA administrator and agency leaders of this department warrant and inform the overall level of readiness of response and recovery teams for one or another disaster. Roughly speaking, they are always responsible for the preparedness of the rescue teams.
Other employees are researching future disasters to predict their probability and perform preliminary training. They also collaborate with different research centers and universities, which studying natural hazards.
Logistics Management Directorate
This directorate (now a part of the Response and Recovery Office) requires special attention. Official FEMA website gives clear descriptions of its mission:
- deliver the appropriate logistics support, to the right area, at the fastest period (to stabilize society lifelines);
- facilitate the suitable reconstruction and operationalizing of private sector supply connections, businesses, and infrastructure (to secure community lifelines).
In other words, the directorate implies a responsibility for logistics support, performance, standards, and operations with policy guidance. LMD also oversees the General Services Administration and Resource Support. Many experts are sure that this department provides the safest, but at the same time, highly responsible jobs at FEMA.
FEMA Job Opportunities
Jobs with FEMA have a broad arrangement of specialists, so many career paths can be pursued, including:
Permanent full-time positions. All permanent, full-time FEMA workers are hired through a competitive process that includes an application with resume, cover letter, and interview.
We usually call such positions as career jobs. The first year of work at any role is considered a probationary period. After undergoing training, obtaining certificates, an annual probationary period, and 3 years of working experience (in the same position), an employee can finally receive a competitive salary. Here are some official examples:
- Financial Analyst has the beginning wage of $105,120 per year. The person responsible for this role coordinates, controls, and analyzes the budget FEMA requirements. They often assist in various high-level committees.
- Electronic Engineer builds security systems and provides support for different electronic communications projects. They have an annual salary of $56,800 at the beginning of a FEMA career.
- Flood Insurance Senior Advisor annually receives about $119, 500. Mostly, he/she is responsible for managing the network system and software security of the Flood Insurance Program.
On-call response and recovery positions. Also, may be called CORE Jobs. These jobs at FEMA imply short term employment from 2 to 4 years. On-call employees usually hired through a standard competitive process or a streamlined one. In the case of the on-going disaster, the work contract may be extended. If an employee has shown his/her best skills and went through FEMA disaster training during temporary work, he/she may be offered full-time position (with a trial period). Job examples:
- Reporter and writer have the same salary of $51,000 at the career start. Both are responsible for managing the media, creating and adapting web content, and reporting from the scene.
- Public Affairs Specialist is responsible for the announcement of FEMA disaster news to media and the worldwide public. The annual salary corresponds to the reporter, writer, and other same level media jobs at FEMA. It is a great option to get journalistic practice, which will look advantageous in any resume.
Reservists positions. Most of the reservists take 2-year federal emergency management agency jobs. Typically, these employees do not sign a renewal employment contract. They are usually hired to assist FEMA in responding to crises and disasters. Reservists cooperate with locals, work in the disaster’s fields, make the damage assessed, and many other tasks as required.
Temporary local positions. Most often, these are people who survived the disaster and want to help with recovery. Their contract can last from 120 days to 1 year, depending on the necessity, financing, and nature of the incident.
FEMA Corps positions. FEMA Corps is a FEMA-devoted unit of army troops members within the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. FEMA entry level jobs developed for young guys and ladies of 18-24 years old who want to build a career in emergency management. They perform the main tasks of the agency: mitigation, response, and recovery, disaster preparedness activities. Usually, they have a standard 10-month contract, which can be extended for the same period only once.
To join FEMA Corps, young people should first connect to AmeriCorps NCCC and go through first-level FEMA education.
Military personnel positions. FEMA government jobs often require former and current military staff for the workforce. Wounded Warrior program recruits U.S. veterans who became disabled during the military service. Under this program, veterans get jobs within the non-competitive hiring process.
FEMA’s Operation Warfighter program gives an excellent opportunity with a competitive salary for the active-duty, National Guard and reserve military individuals who are on temporary rehabilitation and are exempted from service. It is the same actual for those who want to move from the military to a civilian career.
Student internship positions. Every year, FEMA recruits several students who want to work in the Civil Service for a six-month internship. All interns undergo professional training and FEMA education courses. After the work practice, graduates have an excellent opportunity to get several certificates and reputation recommendations.
You can check fresh FEMA employment opportunities following careers.fema.gov. The official website provides more detailed information for each role and a list of professional requirements.
How Hard Is It to Get a Job with FEMA?
Getting the federal job at FEMA is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance. Openings for positions run from careers in Civil Service to temporary employment.
Everyone, from a student to a veteran, can apply for one or another work. And even if you have not come up to any standards, you can apply for one of FEMA volunteer jobs.
Working as a volunteer will significantly increase your chances of future employment. That is why, if you want to build a career in this area, it is best to start with a missionary job.
Despite the vast range of vacancies, FEMA has specific criteria for employees. Let’s take a closer look at them.
FEMA job requirements
The first and foremost requirement is to be a U.S. citizen and be over 18 years old (even for an internship or volunteer).
You must pass a background check: fingerprinting, drug and physical screening, and psychological tests.
Depending on the position, you should have excellent physical shape and a professional set of skills.
If for health reasons, you cannot undergo a physical examination, then most vacancies with FEMA will be closed for you. It is quite logical because this agency is primarily focused on saving people, so all workers must meet certain criteria.
Keep in mind that almost all of the FEMA jobs are competitive. But it does not apply to the military staff and veterans since they are getting hired under programs.
According to standard FEMA requirements, you always must have a certain level of education.
FEMA demands all the applicants go through a general application and hiring process. Your position and salary directly depend on the level of qualification and training.
Depending on your career level, you will need to have from a college degree to master’s. Exceptions can be made in case you are a highly qualified specialist and can prove it.
How to Get FEMA Certified?
FEMA applies the National Training Program (NTP), which creates an adapted approach to education emergency response providers and emergency managers. The NTP provides guidance and support to address training, developing, and evaluation.
National Training Program with support of National Preparedness Guidelines includes:
- Emergency Management Institute. The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) delivers crisis management practice for state officials, volunteer groups, and the public and private sectors.
- Center for Domestic Preparedness. The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) presents advanced education for emergency managers, emergency response providers, and other state leaders of all levels.
- Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) assists more than 90 governmental agencies. It is an interagency legislation enforcement training institute that implements instruction to state, regional, and global law enforcing firms.
- National Training Operations. The Training Operations (TO) has more than 125 various courses, including FEMA disaster relief training. It was designed for the nation’s responder association.
After passing each of these training, participants can receive professional certificates. The official site of FEMA suggests joining the PS-PrepTM Program. It is an affiliate program that provides documents that are quoted in FEMA.
How to Join FEMA?
Always start your job search through the company’s official website. Try to objectively assess your physical and health condition to understand which vacancies you can apply for. Also, view all FEMA requirements and general qualifications before to submit.
If in the list of government jobs, you find a suitable option for you, you will need to fill out the application form before the deadline.
Some professions require attachments, such as certificates, resume files, photographs, or others. When you have unsolvable questions, you can always ask for support by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You would have a great advantage if you applied on the official website because you can monitor the status of your request. Observing the movement of your application, you will be able to answer recruiter questions and supplement information quickly.
Do not worry about it. You will probably be asked to send additional documents before inviting you for a personal meeting. You can get a fast answer, or it can take some time.
And even if you get rejected for the first time, do not be upset and go forward to your dream. You can continue to send applications, and prove that you are worthy of being a part of the FEMA.