The program touches upon Federal Emergancy Management Agency, also known as FEMA, the Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs and even stretches to the Forest Service.
UVU and SLCC have a full articulation agreement in the degree, meaning SLCC students can transfer their credits to UVU to pursue a bachelors degree in Emergency Services Administration.
“This is not just terrorism,” said Dr. Jeff Maxfield, a former fire chief and associate dean at the School of Public Services, now acting as associate professor in the Department of Emergency Services. “That is what most people think of when they hear Homeland Security, but it’s much bigger than that.”
The degree will give students a chance to prepare for entry-level careers in homeland security and emergency managment and may make them more valuable in a host of other public service jobs.
“This is a much needed program, no USHE instituition currently offers a degree like it,” said Dave Attridge, Director of the SLCC Institute of Public Safety. “This program is unique as Utah’s only multi-discipline, multi-agency approach to the protection of Utah’s citizens, property and critical infrastructure.”
Even though SLCC and other schools do offer criminal justice programs, none are focused on the “all-hazards approach” to homeland security and emergency management reccomended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
While this may seem a fairly small and specialized degree now, Dr. Maxfield says it is growing everyday. The FAA has recently addressed a need for more poeple to be involved in the testing and development of unmaned aircraft known as “drones.” Drones can be put to use in surveilance and watching for wildfires and agricultural work, more than just combat.
U.S. Department of Labor statistics indicate that between 2011 and 2018, the need for emergency management proffesionals, protective service workers and police and sheriff’s patrol officers are likley to increase by more than 33 percent.
“More people coming out of these programs end up in the private sector, rather then the public sector,” Maxfield said. “Every business needs help with its infrastructure and planning for emergencies. It’s an untapped market.”
Other research suggests by 2021, homeland security and emergency management positions will increase by more than 60 percent in Utah, which can even be quite lucrative for graduates.
“We saw the need for these people after Katrina and Sandy and the like,” Maxfield said. “The problem is after the disaster, in the cleanup. There are needs in all aspects, the preparation, during the incident and afterwards.”
Students can complete the A.A.S. program at SLCC in four semesters. Resident tuition and fees are projected to be approximately $6,100 to complete the program.