“With such an unequivocal case for global climate change’s existence, sustainability is something that all of us should be considering in our daily lives,” says Barlow junior, Melani Zuckerman. “High school teaches us to be conscious about the world around us, so it’s no wonder that many of us support clean energy and our environment.”
Melani, along with many other students, is considering a clean energy career as demand and interest in this field continues to grow.
Clean energy takes on a variety of forms. As such, there are a variety of related careers. Here is a look at five of them. Please note that average annual salaries were obtained using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Air quality control specialists
- Average annual salary: $67,460
- Demand: Rapidly growing
The duties of an air quality control specialist include sampling and testing air quality and taking the necessary steps to ensure good air quality. Specialists may choose to work indoors (homes, offices, government buildings) or outdoor environments. Although they can be found all over the country, the majority of air quality control specialists are based in urban areas where pollution is heaviest.
- Average annual salary: $71,720
- Demand: High
Just like your average broker, energy brokers purchase and sell goods on behalf of their clients. But these are not just any goods. As their name suggests, these brokers specialize in the sale of energy, especially electricity and natural gas. In addition to overseeing sales, energy brokers negotiate contracts, forecast energy supply and demand, and arrange transactions with prospective buyers.
- Average annual salary: $70,030
- Demand: Growing
Green marketing is more than the presentation of an environmentally friendly product. Not only must marketers promote said product but show their company’s business practices have a low impact on the environment. It is their job to convince consumers that their company is green because this could lead to greater profit, especially since global climate change is a major concern.
Solar energy systems engineer
- Average annual salary: $88,040
- Demand: Slowly growing
Solar energy systems engineers design and develop projects and programs aimed at reducing energy costs and/or improving energy efficiency. These engineers may choose to specialize in areas such as air conditioning systems, ventilation and lighting.
Wind turbine service technicians
- Average annual salary: $53,030
- Demand: Rapidly growing
Wind turbine service technicians are essentially doctors for wind turbines. They inspect, diagnose, adjust and repair wind turbines. They also perform routine maintenance including finding a solution to electrical, mechanical, and/or hydraulic malfunctions. If you are not afraid of heights, this may be a job worth considering.
Do any of these careers sound appealing? Students should check in early with their guidance counselors about a course of studies and schools. Mid-career professionals can easily apply many existing skills to this industry. And if you are retired, it is never too late to go back to school to learn (or teach) sustainability. The planet is counting on you!