With renewables and green energy taking center stage, energy jobs are once again in the spotlight. New technologies and demands are paving the way for new employment opportunities offering job security and excellent salaries.
How much do energy jobs pay? We’re going to share six high-paying positions in the energy field.
What Do Energy Jobs Pay?
Just as there are a wide range of jobs in the energy sector, there are also a wide range of salaries. However, a large percentage of positions in this sector are well-paying and offer excellent benefits.
Jobs range from positions with traditional energy companies (oil, gas, etc.) to clean energy jobs for the future.
Clean energy jobs offer some of the highest salaries and benefits. Here are a few things to know about these jobs:
Overall, they pay 25% more than the national median salary.
They have higher unionization rates compared to the rest of the private sector.
They generally come with excellent healthcare and retirement benefits.
According to reports, workers in renewables earned a median wage of $23.89 per hour in 2019. In comparison, the national median wage is $19.14 per hour.
Those working in grid modernization positions earned an average of over $25 per hour, while solar energy workers earned about $24.48 per hour. Those working in energy efficiency, which is the largest in the sector, earned about $24.44 per hour, which is 28% higher than the national median.
While California still leads the pack for clean energy jobs, the sector is growing across the country. Emerging leaders include Texas, North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina and New York.
High Paying Jobs in Renewable Energy
The number of energy jobs has been soaring over the last few years. According to the U.S. Energy & Employment Report, the number of jobs in the energy field has increased from around 7.7 million to over 8.2 million.
Some of the best paying jobs in energy include:
Median Salary: $144,830/year
Energy efficiency is a top concern in new construction projects. It’s the job of an architectural manager to help create structures that produce less waste and use less energy.
Their duties include:
Leading research efforts
Making detailed plans
Verifying technical accuracy
Architectural manager is one of the highest paying jobs in the energy field, although many of their duties are not energy related.
To enter this position, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and quite a bit of experience in the field. Employment in this field is expected to grow 3% between 2019 and 2029.
Solar Power Technician
Median Salary: $52,559/year
The solar power sector continues to grow across the U.S., making jobs in this field in high demand. Since 2014, the average cost of solar panels has dropped by almost 50%, so solar is more affordable than ever.
With more people installing solar panels in their homes, demand for technicians to repair those panels is increasing.
A solar technician’s job is to assemble, install and maintain solar panels on rooftops and structures. The job is primarily a physical one. Technicians are on their feet all day. They spend a lot of time climbing ladders and solar panels. The installation of solar panels is typically a team effort, but repair work may be done solo.
If you’re mechanically minded and enjoy working outdoors, this career may be a good fit for you. Best of – training for this position isn’t extensive. Employers generally only require a valid driver’s license and a high school diploma. Attending classes and training programs opens up a wider range of employment opportunities in this position.
Wind Turbine Technician
Median Salary: $50,200/year with $8,250 overtime
Wind is now the biggest source of renewable energy in the United States, according to AWEA. As of 2020, there’s enough installed wind capacity to power more than 30 million homes, with an operating wind capacity of 110,000 MW.
Offshore wind is expected to attract $57 billion in investments and generate more than 80,000 well-paying jobs by 2030. As of right now, wind supports more than 100,000 jobs.
While there are many positions that are directly and indirectly related to wind energy, wind turbine technicians are in high demand. This is a position that offers an excellent salary, great benefits and job security.
Wind turbine technicians are responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing turbines. The job is primarily outdoors, but you may find yourself working in confined spaces and at great heights.
Training for this position can be obtained through technical school, but technicians also receive on-the-job training.
Median Salary: $68,067/year with $26,400 in commissions
In today’s world, where energy efficiency is becoming one of the most important things for businesses, energy consultants have an important job. Their job is to help businesses reduce their carbon footprints and energy use. They may also work closely with businesses to help them obtain green certifications.
An energy consultant’s responsibilities include:
Reviewing clients’ energy sources
Identifying and creating models with alternative energy sources
Analyzing the manufacturing process to find greener and more energy efficient options
Monitoring clients’ energy use
Energy consultants usually have a bachelor’s degree in physics or engineering and at least two years of experience working in the field.
Solar Project Developer
Median Salary: $84,130/year
If you’re looking for renewable energy construction jobs, a solar project developer may be a good fit for you. As more residential and commercial projects turn their focus to solar power, there’s a greater demand for professionals to plan and bring these projects to life.
Solar project developers have complex jobs with many responsibilities. They’re responsible for:
Securing building permits, land rights, property tax agreements and interconnection rights
Working with commercial, finance and engineering teams when projects are in the pre-construction phase
Serving as the lead project sponsor for the financing and construction of the project
As you may have guessed, you need quite a bit of experience and education to enter this type of role. Generally, solar project developers have a master’s degree or higher and at least five years of experience.
Solar Sales Manager
Median Salary: $134,855/year
The job of a solar sales manager may not be a glitzy one, but it offers a high-paying salary in a secure field. Like other types of sales managers, those in this position manage the sales of company’s services and products. They may be in charge of a geographic area, or the entire country.
Their duties may include:
Planning and management of sales reps
Developing strategies and plans to achieve realistic sales and earnings goals
Negotiates discounts and sales prices with customers
Reviewing the progress of sales roles
Forecasting revenue streams on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis
Sales managers must have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, but they must also have leadership skills. After all, it’s their job to keep the sales team motivated and reaching towards their goals.
Most employers will want solar sales managers to have a business or marketing degree as well as many years of experience (6+) in the solar panel manufacturing field.
Median Salary: $73,323/year
As demand for solar panels increases, we need more people to engineer and build them. That’s exactly what solar engineers do. They work closely with clients to design, plan and execute solar projects for homeowners, businesses and municipalities.
Solar engineers have a variety of responsibilities, including:
Financial assessments of clients
Designing solar project plans
Overseeing the implementation of the plan
Report on the cost, efficiency and safety of the plan
Dealing with emergencies, outages and maintenance
Ensuring regulatory compliance
Reviewing project financials
Inspecting installation sites
Write technical reports
Solar engineers work in offices, but they travel frequently to work sites. Occasionally, they may travel overseas for work. Some of their work is physical. They’re expected to climb ladders and get onto rooftops for inspections.
Solar engineers are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or mechanical engineering. Some employers or positions may require a more advanced degree or certification.
Wind Farm Site Manager
Median Salary: $60,070/year
Wind farms help supply clean energy to homes and businesses, but someone has to manage them. That’s where a wind farm site manager comes in.
Wind farm site managers have a lot of responsibilities, and the bigger the farm, the bigger the responsibilities. These individuals are in charge of overseeing daily operations of wind farms, and they also oversee employees to ensure that they’re maintaining and operating equipment as expected. It’s the job of the manager to ensure that safety protocols are being followed and records are being maintained.
They may also interact with customers and monitor production levels of their equipment.
Wind farm site managers must have excellent communication and decision-making skills. Naturally, they also need working mechanical knowledge of wind turbines as well as the equipment that’s used to produce wind energy.
Most managers are required to have a bachelor’s degree, but some employers will require a master’s degree. Along with education, they must also have several years of experience in the field.
Median Salary: $87,060/year
Whenever energy and electrical companies plan to construct a new power plant, a civil engineer is required. They play an important role in the construction process.
The job of a civil engineer is to protect and improve our environment. They plan and manage the construction and rebuilding of many projects, including roads, tunnels, harbors, bridges, railways, airports, wind farm sites and power plants.
Civil engineers need a bachelor’s degree to enter the field, but they need a graduate degree for a more advanced or managerial position.
Financial Analyst for Renewable Energy Organizations
Median Salary: $63,860/year
Renewable energy is still in its infancy, and technologies are constantly evolving. Businesses that want to incorporate renewables must understand the costs and benefits. Financial analysts can help with this.
Financial analysts play a supportive role in solar and renewable project investments. They provide guidance and build complex financial models to be presented to higher management. They may also work with other teams that are part of the project, including negotiation of finance transactions and due diligence processes.
Financial analysts must have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Many employers will require some experience in the field.
Those who want to enter this field must have excellent communication and organizational skills. It’s also important to have a good understanding of or desire to learn energy policies, tax rules, financial structures and other complex concepts associated with this field.
Solar Power Plant Construction Worker
Median Salary: $41,940
Solar power plants are being constructed across the country, and these projects create new jobs in the construction industry. Plants of all sizes are being planned and built to meet the country’s growing demand for renewable, clean energy.
From large-scale solar and wind farms to small-scale private plants, there’s no shortage of opportunities for solar power plant construction workers.
Workers generally receive on-the-job training, but employers may have different requirements. Generally, those in this position will be required to have skills in building, scaffolding and welding.
Right now, energy is a great career path, with several high paying jobs available.
While California leads the way for the clean energy industry, many other states are following suit. Many of these jobs don’t have advanced education or experience requirements, which makes them easy to get into.
Clean energy is the way of the future, and jobs in this field will only continue to grow in the years ahead. Training and certification programs are readily available for certain positions that require them, but there are so many job opportunities that are directly or indirectly involved in energy.
Along with an excellent salary, these positions also offer great benefits and other perks that set them apart from other sectors in the private industry.