If you’re interested in breaking into the green job market, there’s good news within the industry. According to a report by the Environmental Defense Fund, jobs within renewable energies are increasing 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy. Although President Trump has consistently supported fossil fuels over renewable energy sources, the EDF’s report suggests that the number of jobs within solar and wind power has risen to nearly match jobs supplied by the U.S. oil industry.
Joining an industry that provides a more eco-friendly foundation for meeting our energy needs is a good cause on its own. However, it’s also important to know you’ll get paid (and paid well). According to the EDF’s report, energy efficiency jobs pay about $5000 more than the national median salary. It’s also worth noting that many of these jobs don’t require a college degree, which means the fastest growing industry is also extremely accessible. This could be especially important to people seeking to make a drastic career change.
The position with the fastest growth so far, Wind Turbine Technician, pays about $52,000 annually. Typically, those entering the field have earned a two-year technical degree. However, many employers don’t require additional experience and are prepared to offer extensive on-the-job training. The basic duties include installing and maintaining wind turbines, which requires climbing to great heights in order to inspect and repair mechanical parts. The job is expected to grow by 108 percent over the next decade, so if you aren’t afraid of heights, you might find a satisfying career working in wind power.
Solar Installer is another renewable energy job with a fast growth rate. This position involves assembling, installing, and maintaining solar panels, and the average pay is about $39,000 annually. While some trade schools and community colleges offer courses related to solar panel safety and installation, you don’t need a degree to enter the field. Employers typically provide on-the-job training that lasts between a month and a year.
The overall distribution of renewable energy jobs includes every U.S. state, though some industries have greater concentrations in particular areas. States with the highest number of jobs in wind power include Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Illinois, and Iowa. Texas is also among the states that boast high numbers of solar power jobs, along with California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. These might be areas to keep in mind if you live nearby or are willing to relocate. Either way, with a reported annual growth of about 20 percent within solar and wind power jobs since 2011, you won’t have to look far to find a green job near you.
About the Author
Jesse Johnson holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction. He writes about mindfulness, green technology, and the convergence of home and the natural world. When he’s not writing, he’s likely playing music or hiking deep in the woods. Information about the EDF report courtesy of PowerScout.