Nature’s beauty is often the first thing that comes to mind when Salt Lake City is mentioned. The Great Salt Lake, the majestic Wasatch Mountains, the unmatched powdery snowfalls, Antelope Island, and Big Cottonwood Canyon are just a few of the reasons why Salt Lake City is known as much for its natural sites as it is for its cool urban scene.
Sustainability is a natural fit in this Utah city, and its Sustainability Department is the epicenter of the excellent work being accomplished here. Just some of the recent achievements of the Sustainability Department include the installation of 28 electrical vehicle charging stations … the installation of solar panels on seven government facilities … a partnership with the Salt Lake City Fire Department to achieve two, net-zero fire stations – only the second and third in the nation … the opening of a community garden as part of the 9-Line Project (a master-planned trail and park system) … and the expansion of the SLC Master Recycler program, which has increased participation three-fold.
Salt Lake City’s sustainability efforts are just a small sampling of the excellent work underway throughout Utah. Earn the right degree and you can soon become part the exceptional initiatives and programs that are aimed at preserving the state’s natural resources, improving the quality of life, and reducing its carbon footprint.
Sustainability Jobs Available in Utah with the Right Degree
Organizations and agencies aimed at sustainability set the stage for exciting professional opportunities for everyone from business professionals to engineers to landscape designers to agriculturalists.
Breathe Utah, located in Salt Lake City, is an alliance of citizens and professionals who bring their unique talents and expertise to address the air quality in Utah. Scientists, medical professionals, legal professionals and communications experts are just a few of the professionals who seek change through education outreach, collaboration, and policy initiatives.
Envision Utah is another big name in sustainability in Utah that’s focused on strategies to address a growing population in the state’s Greater Wasatch area, which is projected to increase by a million residents by 2020. This group’s Quality Growth Strategy is aimed at preserving lands, promoting water conservation, improving the region’s transportation systems, and more.
Food insecurity and improving access to local food are two hot topics in sustainability, and groups like Utahns Against Hunger and Utah’s chapter of the National Farm to School Network are hard at work educating, advocating, and partnering with legislators and community leaders to increase access to food.
According to 2018 BLS statistics, professional opportunities in sustainability tend to come with impressive paychecks. For example, environmental scientists in Utah earn an average salary of $68,480, environmental engineers earn $76,530, and conservation scientists earn $63,720.
Master’s in Sustainability Available Through Schools in Utah
Utah State University’s MBA in Food and Agribusiness is an international MBA designed as a joint program between Utah State University and the Royal Agricultural College in England, one of the top agricultural colleges in the world. Students of this innovative program attend USU in the first semester, and then attend Royal Agricultural College in the spring semester, and then return to USU for the last semester. Just some of the topics covered in this program include econometrics, agricultural marketing, price analysis, and marketing.
Utah State University’s MS in Environment and Society, the first program of its kind in a college of natural resources in the nation, examines ecosystem science and management, ecology, natural resource management, and the policies and decisions that encourage sustainability. Students of this program also have the option of completing a specialization in Climate Adaptation Science.
The University of Utah’s Professional Master of Science and Technology in Environmental Science offers four tracks for specialization: environmental chemistry/biology, environmental hydrology, public and environmental health, or remote sensing and GIS.
Sustainability Bachelor Degree Programs in Utah
Bachelor’s degrees in sustainability provide aspiring sustainability professionals with a comprehensive framework on which to build a career in environmental science, natural resource management, sustainable design, environmental engineering, and more.
For example, Utah State University offers a BS in Environmental Studies, a broad degree that covers issues in sustainability, such as communication, policy analysis, planning, and more. The University of Utah offers a number of areas of specialization through its bachelor’s degree in environmental and sustainability studies, including land management, conservation & place; air, water, & health; ecological literacy & social change; and food systems & community resilience.