Starting fall semester of 2013, Salt Lake Community College will host the state’s first approved Homeland Security and Emergency Management associate of applied science degree.
The degree is fully transferable to Utah Valley University (UVU) for those wishing to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management.
Courses will include “Introduction to Homeland Security,” “Emergency Communications Management” and “First Responders in Homeland Security and Emergency Management.”
“We’re emphasizing homeland security and emergency management,” said Joe Anderson, SLCC’s homeland security specialist. “We think that it’s important that people who graduate from here are trained in both.”
“Critical Thinking and Logic in Homeland Security and Emergency Management” will form the basis of the program
A group of homeland security professionals and first responders identified critical thinking as one of the most important skills to have in a crisis.
“Critical thinking has to do with how you analyze a problem and how do you come up with solutions to that problem,” said Anderson. “We’re going to carry the fruits of that class into all of our other classes.”
The degree will also require that students take “Introduction to Criminal Justice.”
“People in homeland security need to understand the law,” said Anderson.
The degree is meant to allow students to be hired in entry level homeland security jobs or to transfer to UVU
“Most of the time, we think about TSA (Transportation Security Administration) out at the airport, and that’s the extent of it,” said Anderson. “There are 87,000 different kinds of jobs in the homeland security area throughout the country.”
Those jobs include positions at the state and federal level as well as in private industry which has to protect its business, its employees and the public.
“If you lose 700 employees how do you keep in business? People have to think, ‘if something like this happens, how are we going to stay in business?’ What do you do if anthrax is delivered to an office?” said Anderson. “There are a lot of job opportunities out there that people don’t think about.”
There is a group of employees that have already completed about half of the requirements for the degree
According to Anderson, the TSA approached SLCC to teach some of its employees in homeland security when they realized that the managers were beginning to retire and needed to be replaced.
“It is a great opportunity for people at SLCC to get involved in something that is current,” said Anderson, “and be able to move into an advanced degree if they want to.”
The associate degree will require about four semesters and $6,100 to complete, according to SLCC.
“This is the only program in the state of Utah and the only program in the Intermountain West,” said Anderson. “Nevada has a graduate program but no undergraduate program.”