Social psychologists define altruism as a principle of unselfish regard for the needs and interests of others. A career in Emergency Management (EM) does have its altruistic characteristics. Some aspects of the profession place the individual behind the curtain, isolated from the disaster. There are others, as first responders and law enforcement who are catapulted into the emergency situation. Students interested in EM should possess an altruistic view of society. This is the basis of the occupation-helping others. With this in mind, we offer some of the concentrations, many of which can be found in our article on the Top 25 Online Bachelor degree programs in Emergency Management.

Fire Services

One of the subjects of concentration under the umbrella of Emergency Management is Fire Services. There isn’t a more tragic and catastrophic conflagration than 9/11. This one event created a fire emergency that only superlatives can describe as the loss of life and property damage was beyond comprehension. To address imminent fire disasters, schools like Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offer online undergraduate programs in Emergency Services. Students can select from a specialization in Aviation Emergency Management or Fire & Emergency Services and learn from faculty members who have both academic backgrounds and proven expertise as emergency responders. Plus, when students complete courses through Embry-Riddle, they receive a National Fire Academy certificate just as if they completed the courses at the National Fire Academy.

Those seeking further information on Fire Science should read our report on the Top 10 Online Associate’s Degree Programs in Fire Science. 


Healthcare Emergency Managers are professionals in the medical, public health and public safety community who staff positions in such places as community health centers, local hospitals, local city and county boards and councils, and within local, state, and federal public safety and homeland security offices. Hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory care centers, pharmacies, and other facilities for medical/health care and special needs populations may be severely structurally damaged or destroyed at worst or simply overwhelmed by volume. As mentioned, hospitals could be the focal point of a natural or man-made disaster creating an influx of patients. The hospital administrator may be responsible for the design and implementation of emergency preparedness courses for their staff. An example of a program in this field is the Master of Science in Healthcare Management at Boston University. The 12-month coursework can be completed in-person or online through their virtual classroom.

Homeland Security

The ubiquitous term terrorism can be applied to emergency management as there are situations when law enforcement assumes a strong presence. This may require the response to threats at land borders, seaports, airports, and cities. The purpose of scholastic programs in this specialty is to develop the ability to write emergency plans, implement and manage emergency plans, and assist decision makers on recovery issues. National University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (BS-HSEM) program provides graduates with a foundation in the security issues; practices, politics, and cultures of terrorism.


A cyber attack has been compared to a biological threat-authorities know an attack has occurred but do not know the extent of the damage or how to remedy the attack. Defending and restoring cyber infrastructure also requires coordinating with a different set of organizations than those typically involved in emergency decision-making. This may entail the cooperation of state, federal agencies and private organizations who may own the affected infrastructure.

Individuals who are contemplating a graduate degree in this field of study should read our article on the Top 25 Online Master’s Degree Programs in Cybersecurity. 

Emergency Administration and Planning

One of the primary tenets of disaster management is planning. Not all catastrophes can be anticipated, but some weather-related incidents are predictable. The best example is a hurricane that wreaks havoc on property and lives from the perils of wind, rain, storm surge, erosion, and flooding. However, not isolated to hurricanes, emergency administrators help individuals, businesses, governments and nonprofit organizations prepare for, respond to, and recover from floods, tornadoes, hazardous materials spills, terrorist attacks, and epidemics. To begin your education in this field, the University of North Texas’s College of Health and Public Service offers a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Administration and Planning.