Homeland Security Degrees and Certification in Utah

Despite its relatively small population, Utah is a strategically important state.  Utah has less than three million residents but is the fifth fastest growing state. This state also supports a rapidly growing high tech industry with more than 5,200 high tech companies currently operating there, including Adobe Systems, Pixar and Silicon Graphics.  There are more than 66,000 residents employed by high tech companies merely in the Salt Lake City area.  This high concentration of companies who provide services to the country’s digital infrastructure is a tempting target for physical or cyber-attacks.

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Utah Homeland Security and Emergency Management

The state agency charged with protecting its residents is Utah Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Within this agency is the Statewide Information and Analysis Center (SIAC) which collects, processes and distributes intelligence.  SIAC operates in three major areas: Intelligence Analysis and Investigative Case Support; Critical Infrastructure Protection; and Intelligence Liaison Officer Program.  The Intelligence Analysis division identifies and evaluates criminal and terrorist activity within the state.  This division also provides support services to police agencies.  The Intelligence Liaison Officer program provides guidance and support to a network of state public officials. There is at least one liaison officer in each Utah law enforcement agency.  Critical infrastructure program identifies public and private systems that are essential to public welfare and generates safeguards.

How to Become a Homeland Security Professional in Utah

Many federal agencies are sponsors of homeland security jobs in Utah.  The National Protection and Programs Directorate recently posted a position for a Criminal Investigator with a salary between $57,408 and $89,450.  Applicants for this career should possess the following qualifications:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Must be capable of obtaining a Top Secret security clearance
  • Must have experience in planning and conducting criminal investigations
  • Proficiencies in interviewing witnesses, complainants and others
  • Ability to search for, gather and preserve evidence from crime scenes
  • Ability to write comprehensive reports about investigations
  • Must possess a PhD or three years of post-graduate study
  • Must be younger than 37 years of age
  • Ability to pass a drug screen
  • Must be able to carry and use firearms
  • Possession of a valid driver’s license

In Utah, training for homeland security personnel may be obtained through the Department of Emergency Management. In addition to the following courses, this department also conducts training exercises modeled on federal templates of terrorist incidents:

  • Threat and risk assessment
  • Emergency planning
  • All hazards division supervisor
  • Emergency Management Assistance Compact Workshop
  • Sports and special events incident management
  • Emergency operations center management and operations
  • Communications interoperability course
  • Continuity of operations

Many of the post-secondary schools in the state offer undergraduate or graduate degrees in homeland security studies.  These schools also often support certification programs which serve as introductions to the field of homeland security, or offer more intensive instruction within specialized areas. There are also industry associations like the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security, which offer well-respected accreditation programs.