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Outlook and Wages for Occupations Associated with Disaster Relief

For National Hurricane Preparedness Week, we are highlighting 10 occupations in which workers may help before, during or after catastrophic events.

Most of these occupations had an annual wage above the median of $45,760 for all workers in 2021 and are projected to have average or above-average employment growth from 2020 to 2030. (Note: Data shown are for all workers in these occupations, not just those who are involved in disaster relief.)

A white truck on a flooded roadway.

Atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists

What they do: Atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists, study the weather and climate, develop forecasts, and issue warnings in advance of severe weather.

2021 median annual wage: $94,570

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Number of jobs (2020): 10,700

Projected growth, 2020-30: 8% (about as fast as average)

Occupational openings, 2020-30 annual average: 1,000

Emergency management directors

What they do: Emergency management directors create plans and procedures for responding to natural disasters or other emergencies. They also help lead the response during and after crises.

2021 median annual wage: $76,730

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Number of jobs (2020): 10,500

Projected growth, 2020-30: 6% (about as fast as average)

Occupational openings, 2020-30 annual average: 1,000

EMTs and paramedics

What they do: Emergency medical technicians and paramedics respond to emergency calls, performing medical services and transporting patients to medical facilities. 

2021 median annual wage: $36,930

Typical entry-level education: Postsecondary nondegree award

Number of jobs (2020): 261,300

Projected growth, 2020-30: 11% (faster than average)

Occupational openings, 2020-30 annual average: 20,700

Fundraisers

What they do: Fundraisers organize events and campaigns to raise money and other kinds of donations for an organization.

2021 median annual wage: $60,660

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Number of jobs (2020): 101,300

Projected growth, 2020-30: 16% (much faster than average)

Occupational openings, 2020-30 annual average: 12,000

Hydrologists

What they do: Hydrologists study the Earth’s water, and they may produce flood forecasts and help develop flood management plans.

2021 median annual wage: $84,030

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Number of jobs (2020): 6,500

Projected growth, 2020-30: 6% (about as fast as average)

Occupational openings, 2020-30 annual average: 700

Insurance claims and policy processing clerks

What they do: Insurance claims and policy processing clerks process customers’ applications and payment requests for losses that are covered by insurance.

2021 median annual wage: $45,520

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma

Number of jobs (2020): 277,900

Projected growth, 2020-30: 1% (little or no change)

Occupational openings, 2020-30 annual average: 26,700

Mental health counselors

(Includes data for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors)

What they do: Mental health counselors treat clients with a variety of conditions, including anxiety and grief, and provide help for mental and emotional health issues.

2021 median annual wage: $48,520

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Number of jobs (2020): 327,500

Projected growth, 2020-30: 23% (much faster than average)

Occupational openings, 2020-30 annual average: 41,000

Public safety telecommunicators

What they do: Public safety telecommunicators, including 911 operators and fire dispatchers, answer emergency and nonemergency calls and provide resources to assist those in need.

2021 median annual wage: $46,670

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma

Number of jobs (2020): 95,400

Projected growth, 2020-30: 8% (about as fast as average)

Occupational openings, 2020-30 annual average: 9,800

Social and community service managers

What they do: Social and community service managers coordinate and supervise programs and organizations that support public well-being.

2021 median annual wage: $74,000

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Number of jobs (2020): 174,200

Projected growth, 2020-30: 15% (faster than average)

Occupational openings, 2020-30 annual average: 18,300

Social and human service assistants

What they do: Social and human service assistants help clients get benefits or community services in a variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work.

2021 median annual wage: $37,610

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma

Number of jobs (2020): 417,600

Projected growth, 2020-30: 17% (much faster than average)

Occupational openings, 2020-30 annual average: 59,100

 

Explore these and hundreds of other occupations in the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.

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