Geostrategic competition, foreign conflict, and the revitalization of American manufacturing: these are some of the factors creating a surge in demand for skilled work. For job seekers, there has never been a better time to explore a career in aerospace, defense, or cyber.
Utah prides itself in not just generating jobs in these critical industries, but also educating and preparing a workforce to build the next generation of American technology. Many of the higher education institutions outlined below provide scholarships, internships, and partnerships with Utah-based companies to give students a clear career path in aerospace, defense, and cyber. This article will briefly touch on some of Utah’s premiere higher education instructions, outlining their varying missions, opportunities, and scholarships.
Keep reading below, or quickly jump to a university or tech college.
Jump to a University or Tech College:
- Utah Valley University (UVU)
- Utah State University (USU)
- University of Utah
- Weber State University (WSU)
- Brigham Young University (BYU)
- Southern Utah University (SUU)
- Utah Tech University
- Salt Lake Community College (SLCC)
- Ogden-Weber Technical College
Utah Valley University
Utah Valley University attained University status less than two decades ago but has already become the largest academic institution in the state. The open enrollment model of the university caters to various types of students making it a great fit for those who are preparing for the workforce, as well as for those already in it. The University places a strong priority on online, live-streamed, and night classes which make attending the university while working full-time manageable.
This university also hosts one of the most unique undergraduate programs in the state through the Center for National Security Studies. The Center focuses on preparing its students for a career in National Security by teaching and developing skills in intelligence analysis, emerging technologies, policymaking, and geospatial intelligence. The program is taught almost exclusively by practitioners who have worked in the field providing meaningful and applicable education. The Center also hosts labs and leadership opportunities that provide scholarships to its students.
One major draw of this university is its emphasis on flight training. UVU hosts a satellite campus at the Provo airport that provides aerospace-based courses and programs. These include a professional pilot degree, an aerospace management degree, and an aerospace technology degree. The guiding philosophy of these programs is to give students an affordable education that provides the skills required to start an aviation career and is a great way to get into the industry.
UVU also offers master’s programs in Cybersecurity and Computer Science, along with a host of graduate certificates in the computer science realm.
For more information on Utah Valley University, please visit their admissions website here.
Utah State University
Utah State University has set itself apart as one of the premier institutions in the country when it comes to aerospace research. Recently designated as a Tier 1 Research University, USU has expanded its research to a wide range of focus areas, expanding its aerospace research capability. Its unique programs and labs make it an incredible option for students wanting to get into the sector.
Some of the most groundbreaking aspects of this research originate at the Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL). Many of the labs’ projects have contributed to important missions forNASA, the Air Force, and other private-sector space companies. Remarkably, students from Utah State make up over 15% of their workforce, demonstrating Utah State’s commitment to setting students up for successful careers. SDL provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity for anyone interested in the aerospace sector.
The College of Engineering at USU has some of the most cutting-edge undergraduate programs in the state through its Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Bachelor’s Program. This program offers students the opportunity to specialize in different subsets of engineering including aerospace, nuclear energy, materials engineering, and many more. The depth and breadth of this undergraduate program is rare, and an amazing opportunity for its students.
This culture of innovative research also expands to another program at Utah State, called AggieAir. This program engineers and tests drones that provide innovative solutions to challenges in Utah’s agricultural sector. The work done here has revolutionized the way the sector has approached remote sensing and is a great opportunity for students to enter the aerospace sector with experience in drone production.
Utah State also hosts the only existing master’s program in anticipatory intelligence through the Center for Anticipatory Intelligence. This program prepares students to anticipate threats created by an increasingly complicated security environment. This program also offers an undergraduate minor in Anticipatory Intelligence and a graduate certificate. This program helps students develop their understanding of the intelligence field with a program unique to Utah State.
Utah State also offers a 12-week cybersecurity boot camp for practitioners wanting to expand their knowledge and ability in the cybersecurity field, making it a great option for students wanting to break into cybersecurity quickly.
For more information regarding Utah State University, please visit their website here.
University of Utah
The University of Utah is Utah’s flagship research institution for a good reason. The University is known for its groundbreaking research on a multitude of topics and is a great place for any student looking to enter the defense, aerospace, and cyber industries to start. The University boasts impressive research-driven undergraduate and graduate programs in multiple sectors, with a large emphasis on interdisciplinary work.
The U provides a wide variety of programs involved in aerospace research. It provides an undergraduate aerospace emphasis in its mechanical engineering programs, along with Master’s and Ph.D. programs in mechanical engineering. The university also hosts four impressive labs all dedicated to various research in subdisciplines in the aerospace industry. These include the TRACE Lab, Feng MEX Lab, Materials Prognosis from Integrated Modeling & Experiment Lab, Numerical Turbulence, Energy, and Reactions Group (NTRE Lab). All of these programs accept both undergraduate and graduate research assistants. The university also prioritizes hands-on learning through its capstone project which is required for all of its graduates. This program provides students with the opportunity to design a final project under the guidance of an industry partner. This allows students to develop real partnerships with industry professionals that often translate into full-time positions.
The University has recently created a program for students wanting to get into aerospace called the Aerospace Scholars Program, which provides students with scholarships, leadership training, and an externship at Hill Air Force Base. Students can choose to work in a wide variety of departments including engineering, software development, and aircraft maintenance. The program can be extended throughout the entirety of a student’s degree program, making it a stellar introduction to the aerospace industry.
The university also boasts impressive research-driven programs in computer science. These degrees allow students to emphasize different subsets of the field and find their career niche. They offer various undergraduate degrees in computer science, a five-year BS/MS Computer Science Program, a master’s in Computer Science, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science. They also provide a condensed 24-week cybersecurity course to provide a fast introduction to the field.
For more information on the University of Utah, please visit its admissions website here.
Weber State University
Weber State University has a history of being committed to providing a quality, applicable, and affordable education to its students. Its open-enrollment model provides flexibility that not many other institutions provide, catering to both traditional and nontraditional students. Being one of the oldest institutions in the state, it has consistently demonstrated its ability to grow and evolve with the workforce, making it an attractive choice for prospective students.
Weber State also has a deep connection to the defense and aerospace sector due to its proximity to Hill Air Force Base. The university boasts an impressive lab on Hill dedicated to aerospace research dubbed the MARS Center, which provides its students with hands-on learning and internships. Weber State is also one of the only universities in Utah that offers a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity—a skill set that is in high demand in the state. The university also provides free professional training for military spouses deployed at Hill Air Force Base through the Rosie Project. This bold initiative provides free childcare during classes and a free laptop for all participants.
This connection to the defense sector makes Weber State a great option for all students wanting to get into aerospace, defense, or cyber. For application information, please refer to their admissions website here.
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University is the largest private university in the state and is known for its innovative and diverse research efforts. Its programs are far-reaching and consistently rank among the top universities in the country. The university is also known for its focus on undergraduate research making it unique in regards to its more graduate-research-focused peers in Utah.
BYU supports a large mechanical engineering program that provides the necessary skills needed to succeed in the aerospace industry. The department includes a variety of both undergraduate and graduate programs that span various disciplines. The program provides an aerospace engineering emphasis for undergraduate students looking to enter the industry. The research done in mechanical engineering via the Master’s and Ph.D. programs allows students to become topical experts in the aerospace industry, and find careers in high-profile positions. The university also provides exceptional hands-on experiences in the industry through MAGGIC Lab and BYU Rocketry.
The university also prides itself on unique and research-driven computer science programs in a variety of disciplines. These include undergraduate degrees in machine learning and bioinformatics which are the only programs of their kind in the state. BYU also provides exceptional Master’s and Ph.D. programs in computer science.
For more information on BYU, please visit its admissions website here.
Southern Utah University
Southern Utah University has experienced rapid growth throughout the past couple of decades and has defined itself as an institution that delivers quality, career-driven education to its student population. Its small class sizes and the variety of delivery methods make it a great option for students wanting to have a close relationship with professors and staff. The university is also the first in Utah to offer an accelerated three-year bachelor’s degree for its students, demonstrating its commitment to putting students into the workforce quickly.
The university is one of two in the state to offer a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity–one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the country. The university also offers undergraduate and graduate programs in computer science, engineering, and a completely online aviation sciences program.
Southern Utah hosts the only public helicopter flight program in the state. They also provide a fixed-wing program. With the job market for pilots expected to grow exponentially, and demand currently outpacing supply, this is a great career path for students looking to get into the aerospace industry.
For more information regarding Southern Utah University, please visit their admission website here.
Utah Tech University
Utah Tech University is the state’s first polytechnic university and has experienced rapid growth over the past decade. The university values an education that provides an enriching and rigorous academic experience for its students through programs that offer real-world professional experience. Utah Tech provides both the experiences and skills needed to succeed in a career in the aerospace, defense, and cyber industries.
Utah Tech offers a wide variety of degrees catered to students wanting to enter the cyber field, including degrees in data science, information technology, and computer science. The university also allows students to pick from a variety of different emphases that help students develop unique skills for their desired careers. These include cybersecurity, DevOps, and web design. The unique programs offered at Utah Tech will continue to expand over the coming years, making it a great choice for students wanting to pursue a degree in the cyber sector.
Data science degree
Salt Lake Community College
Ogden Weber Technical College’s mission is centered on giving students genuine work experience in the program of their choice. This makes it one of the most practically oriented programs in the state, and a great choice for prospective students who value hands-on training. The college has a multitude of part-time and self-paced programs centered around skills that are currently in demand in the workforce. These programs can be finished in mere months, and are a great way to gain valuable experience in a new field or kickstart a career.
One of the most unique components of Ogden Weber’s mission is its emphasis on manufacturing programs. These programs allow students insight into the manufacturing industry and gain credentials that employers find valuable. One of these programs is their composites manufacturing which is a growing need in the aviation industry. With the rapid growth in defense manufacturing here in Utah, these skills are highly sought after and are a great way to enter the
industry. The college also offers two-year, part-time programs in computer science and information technology that require much less of a time commitment than other institutions in the state. These programs are catered to both working professionals and aspiring students, perfect for students who value hands-on learning and want to get into the industry as fast as possible.
Ogden-Weber Technical College
Ogden Weber Technical College’s mission is centered around giving students genuine work experience in the program of their choice. This makes it one of the most practically oriented programs in the state, and a great choice for prospective students who value hands-on training. The college has a multitude of part-time and self-paced programs centered around skills that are currently in demand in the workforce. These programs can be finished in mere months, and are a great way to gain valuable experience in a new field or kickstart your career.
One of the most unique components of Ogden Weber’s mission is its emphasis on manufacturing programs. These programs gjve students insight into the manufacturing industry and gain valuable credentials that employers find valuable. One of these programs is their composites manufacturing which is a growing need in the aviation industry. With the rapid growth in defense manufacturing here in Utah, these skills are highly sought after and are a great way to enter the industry. The college also offers two-year part-time programs in computer science and information technology that require much less of a time commitment than other institutions in the state. These programs are catered to both working professionals and aspiring students and are perfect for students who value hands-on learning and want to get into the industry as fast as possible.
Computer Science Programs