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22 Best Paying Jobs In Energy (Updated 2022): Renewable Energy Jobs

Fossil fuels like oil and gas were long an industry that attracted high-paying jobs with many different expertise that employers needed.

However, there has been an increasing shift away from non-renewables all over the world, and fortunately, companies working with renewable energy sources have many of the same requirements.

This has created a huge opportunity for employees to switch to services in the renewable sectors like solar and wind energy markets.

To help you plan for a career change into the renewable energy services, we’ve researched some of the best jobs with the highest average salaries for you.

Let’s dive right in.

Are Jobs in Energy In Demand?

Yes, jobs in the energy sector are in huge demand, especially as more and more countries are encouraging and forcing a shift from fossil fuels to renewables. 

Overall, this has resulted in a demand for different types of candidates. 

In many cases, energy companies that specialize in solar panels and wind farms are looking for newly qualified graduates with the right qualifications. This makes it easier to integrate them into the technology and business process without extensive on-the-job training. 

But, because of a significant lack of qualified candidates, many companies are offering those from a technical and engineering background the opportunity to learn through on-the-job training. 

You’d be surprised how quickly you could make a transition from a regular electrical engineering job to working at a solar power plant. 

And finally, there are situations like geothermal power plant companies actively looking for petroleum engineers with geology and physics backgrounds. 

Best paying jobs in energy

The Department of Energy’s most recent report has some interesting details about the best-paying jobs in energy: 

  • 10.1% is the expected growth of jobs with energy efficiency companies
  • 8.1% increase in companies that offer services for electricity production
  • 5.5% boost for jobs in the renewable fuels sector
  • 4.2% increase in jobs for green transportation, energy distribution, and storage

What Salary Can You Expect From Jobs in Energy?

Based on the most recent research data, people who work in the energy industry earn 34% more than the median income in the USA. And that gap is increasing with some of the best paying jobs now available in wind farms, solar panels, and energy efficiency technologies. 

Based on my research and looking at the best paying jobs in energy below, average salaries range from $40,000 at the low end to almost $110,000 at the high end

Now, it’s important to understand that these are averages and that, just like in any other industry, how much you earn will depend on a few critical things. 

For example, newly qualified solar energy technicians fresh out of school or college might earn less than $40,000 in their first job. But once they gain experience and take on managerial roles, the same person could be earning closer to $100,000

Energy Jobs Salary

After your qualification, you’ll also have to factor in the location of the job. 

An offshore wind power plant operator in a remote location will earn a lot more than a wind farm operator near a large cosmopolitan area with a normal daily commute. And salaries will also fluctuate from state to state as they do in every other industry. 

And finally, your overall experience and years of service in the energy sector will come into play. Renewable energy consultants who have spent ten or more years working on many different technologies and project sizes will be able to demand significantly higher wages than a new recruit. 

Tips To Find A Job In Renewable Energy Sector

Before you just head for the absolute best-paying jobs in energy, take a step back and follow these tips on getting into the energy sector. 

1. Identify Interests And Qualifications

There is absolutely no shortage of different interest areas in the green energy sector. From solar to wind and geothermal to hydrogen technology, it’s all a matter of finding out what you're more interested in. 

Maybe you’re from a construction background, and you could specialize in thermal insulation technology. Or you're an electrician who could train to become a solar energy technician. 

Even petroleum engineers will find ways to use their qualifications and experience to switch to green energy jobs. 

2. Update Your Resume

You should also look at your own resume and consider which qualifications, education, and job experiences could be relevant to a green energy job. 

Then, focus on those areas and make them more relevant to what a green energy company might be looking for. It will also help to look at green energy job postings to see what the requirements are so that you can highlight the ones you think you have covered. 

There are plenty of less specialized roles that you can use as an entry point and then take on more job training to advance. 

Tips To Find A Job In Renewable Energy Sector

3. Get Involved In Local Green Energy Groups

Every community will have some sort of alternative energy groups and initiatives that have community outreach programs. Find these in your local area and offer to volunteer for them. 

Even if this just means helping out to set up for a meeting, you’ll start to network with people that can make introductions. You’ll be surprised how many opportunities there are and how much companies are focusing on people that have a proven interest and dedication to the cause. 

This is especially the case if they are volunteers. 

4. Go To College

There are going to be many types of jobs where you will need a bachelor’s degree for the best-paying energy jobs. Start by looking into what colleges are offering and compare those to your personal interests. 

This is a significant time and financial commitment, but the rewards can pay off immensely after just a few years. 

5. Apply For Internships

If you’re uncertain what area you’d like to get involved in, then try applying for some internships. These can last from a few weeks to six months and are typically designed to help people understand what’s involved in a job. 

These internships can often lead to job opportunities and apprenticeships that will open up even more possibilities for you. 

6. Go To A Trade School

Many green energy jobs are reliant on different types of trades with some additional green sector-relevant training. That means electricians, plumbers, and even carpenters who are all needed for both residential and industrial green energy installations. 

Find out from a local trade school if they offer courses that also cover solar and wind energy experience to see if this could be an angle to start a new career. 

What Are Educational Requirements?

Many of the best-paying jobs in energy will require a bachelor’s degree or higher. But there are different angles that might allow you to take advantage of existing qualifications. 

Engineering

Many highly visible green jobs require some form of engineering background. That can be electrical, electronic, industrial, construction, and mechanical engineering. If you have such a qualification, then it might be possible to do a few semesters to gain a Master’s Degree in green technology. 

IT

Literally, nothing runs without IT systems, and green technology is particularly dependent on people with an IT background. From analyzing data at wind energy sites to developing precision monitoring systems for a solar energy system, IT people will find it quite easy to enter this sector. 

Science

Biologists, chemists, and physicists are all in high demand in the green industry. Many universities and colleges offer tailored science degrees that focus heavily on climate technology, and those are definitely courses you want to enroll for. 

Business

People with an MBA will also find it easy to get into this job market. Every year, new technologies are creating new sub-sectors, and start-up businesses are popping up everywhere. 

Trades

And finally, you don't have to go for a bachelor’s degree if you’re not the academic type. Most traditional trades have heavy involvement in the development and installation of green technology for residential and industrial settings.

22 Best Paying Jobs In Energy Sector

1. Wind Farm Site Manager

Average Salary: $107.029

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in wind energy field

Wind turbines require a lot of management activities, and the larger a wind farm is, the more management of employees and equipment is needed.

Site managers generally require a bachelor’s degree or higher in business and/or management with proven experience to maximize the productivity of both equipment and staff. These are typically the best paying jobs in energy.

See more wind farm jobs here.

Wind farm site managers who are female

2. Geoscientist

Average Salary: $99,532

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in geology

The oil and natural gas industry needed many geophysicists to explore potential resources both on land and at sea. But the shift to renewables and significant drops in oil prices all over the world are slowly making such jobs redundant.

Geothermal energy is a sector that requires much of the same experience anywhere. This makes this job one of the most in-demand climate change jobs now. Job offers mostly require bachelor's or master's degrees in a geoscience discipline.

Wondering what a day in the life of a geoscientist or geologist looks like? Check out this excellent video to see for yourself.

3. Civil Engineer

A construction site with a male civil engineer

Average Salary: $86,640

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in civil engineering

Every electricity and energy company planning a new power plant will require civil engineers involved in construction.

Having a background in industrial construction projects is an absolute must, and you’ll need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering. This is one of the best paying jobs in energy for existing civil engineers to jump on. 

Check out job ads for civil engineers here.

4. Financial Analyst For Renewable Energy Companies

Average Salary: $85,660

Requirements: Accounting Degree

Many areas of the renewable energy industry are still in their infancy, and increasing energy efficiency, calculating investment returns, conducting quantitative analyses of investment information, and marketing new services for a business that’s in this industry are heavily reliant on financial analysts.

Successful job seekers require a bachelor's or master's in finance and/or accounting with a proven employment track record in a similar industry.

Apply as a financial analyst for hundreds of renewable energy companies here.

Apply as a financial analyst for hundreds of renewable energy companies here.

5. Solar Project Developer

Average Salary: $84,130

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in solar energy field and project management

This is another category with a lot of growth potential as there are growing numbers of small and large solar energy projects not only in the US but all over the world. Every project requires careful planning for the purpose of obtaining the necessary permits and grid connections.

Solar project developers are also responsible for dealing with engineers, financial analysts, and lawyers to ensure the success of each project.

Apply in as a solar project developer in dozens of companies here.

6. Solar Power Plant Operator

Average Salary: $83,173

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in electrical engineering

Many people think that solar renewable energy installations run on auto-pilot once they start production. However, that's not exactly true.

Every larger solar project requires at least one, and in many cases many, operators. This position will need some form of mechanical and/or electrical background and you must be prepared to get your hands dirty.

Find a job in a solar power plant here.

7. Solar Project Manager

Average Salary: $83,134

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in solar energy field and project management

Every solar installation requires a project manager and/or construction managers, and the role involves planning schedules and budgets and aligning team members so they can do the right work at the right time.

For this position, you’ll need a bachelor's degree or higher in a business-related field. You'll also need working experience in managing industrial or construction projects.

Find hundreds of solar companies who are looking for a project manager here.

An array of solar panels with a male solar project manager

8. Renewable Energy Consultant

Average Salary: $82,450

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in solar energy field

This is one of the more specialized careers, and current data suggests there is a significant uptrend in job growth. The role involves directly dealing with new and existing clients to advise them on the most effective energy solutions and possible upgrades.

Jobs in this area often look for applicants with a degree in renewable energy management because the expertise is so different from all other energy sectors.

Find more jobs in renewable energy here.

9. Scientific Researcher

Male in a white lab coat

Average Salary: $77,173

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry, physics, or biology

These jobs are available in private research companies as well as many universities where many physicists and those from a chemical engineering background have the most to offer. The solar sector especially has seen increasing demands for scientists to develop more efficient EV cells.

You’ll likely need a master’s degree in education, but many companies also search for Ph.D. students to join their teams.

See scientific researcher jobs here.

10. Industrial Engineer

Average Salary: $77,130

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial engineering

Projects in the renewable energy industry are growing in size, and many of them reach industrial scales.

This means that applicants with degrees in industrial engineering as well as experience in large oil and gas processing plants have excellent opportunities in the renewables sector.

Check out jobs ads for industrial engineers here.

Heavy machinery being operated by a man

11. Solar Energy Software Developer

Average Salary: $72,976

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in IT or Computer Science and Engineering

Solar energy production is heavily reliant on software to constantly measure and fine-tune the operation of equipment.

Software engineers with experience in industrial systems development can often do particularly well in such careers, and the salaries are highly competitive as well. If you have a bachelor's in a computer science discipline, then you could be looking at a great career move.

Look for software developer jobs in the sustainability sector here.

Clean Jobs America estimated that more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. work in clean energy jobs. Energy efficiency accounted for the most jobs in that estimate, with renewable energy generation coming in as the second top employer. Solar energy workers make a large portion of current career pathways in renewable energy, but don’t think the possibilities stop there; more green energy jobs are coming.


Avery Phillips, Writer at Renewable Energy World

12. Solar Engineer

Solar panels being looked at by a smiling black female worker

Average salary: $72,323

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in solar technology

Job growth for solar engineers has remained high as electric grid operators require increasing support to make sure that renewable energy sources are efficiently integrated.

Job seekers with degrees in electrical and electronic engineering often jump to the top of the list, and many employers have large backlogs of projects that require this skill set.

See solar engineer jobs here.

13. Solar Energy Technician

Average salary: $72,000

Requirements: Technical college qualification

Everything from solar panels in private homes to large-scale solar power plants requires a lot of regular maintenance work.

Applicants with work experience in electrical appliances, HVAC, central heating, and solar panel installation will find more than enough opportunities to offer their services.

It’s also possibly one of the highest-paying jobs that don’t necessarily require a degree.

Discover technician jobs in the renewable energy sector here.

Electricals on a solar panel being tested by a man

14. Chemist

Chemicals being held by a female in a white lab

Average salary: $70,195

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry

The oil and gas industry has been a large employer for chemists whose skills contribute to the development and production of specialty fuels and lubricants.

However, the alternative and renewable energy sectors require the exact same skills to develop new biofuels.

In terms of education, applicants will likely need a master’s degree in chemistry, even for an entry-level position.

Find job ads for chemists now.

15. Wind Turbine Service Technician

Average salary: $54,370

Requirements: Technical college qualification

With growing numbers of wind turbine installations, it’s no surprise that renewable energy companies expect an almost 100% growth for service technicians.

This job requires skilled workers with a background in construction, welding, and electrical installations to install new wind farms as well as service existing ones.

Find a job offers in a wind farm here.

Wind turbine being installed by workers

16. Sales Representative

Average salary: $53,804

Requirements: No qualification but industrial sales experience

What surprises most people is how technical a sales job in the renewable energy sector is.

Most employers don’t just look for sales skills, but also the ability to assess existing equipment, fully analyze customers’ requirements, and become the link between the customer, installer, and utility companies.

Proven sales skills in highly technical equipment are musts for this job.

Discover sales representative jobs in the renewable energy industry here.

17. Environmental Engineering Technician

Average salary: $50,560

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in environmental engineering

As the energy industry is still transforming, there is a high demand for environmental technicians that closely work with engineers to assess the impacts of new energy facilities.

The largest job growth in this sector has come from geothermal and hydro energy plants like dams.

Here's a video that goes into more detail on what an environmental engineering technician does.

18. Service Unit Operator

Average Salary: $47,860

Requirements: Technical college qualification

While the oil and mining sectors have laid off a lot of construction equipment operators, many of those people have been able to take advantage of significant job growth in the renewable sector.

Experience in the oil and mining sectors can be a big plus and an opportunity to put your skills to work in safer and eco-friendly services.

Search for unit operator jobs here.

19. Environmental Science And Protection Technician

Average salary: $46,170

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in environmental science

These jobs involve both field and laboratory tasks to ensure that renewable installations and energy-producing facilities don’t cause unintended damage to the environment.

You would also be involved in monitoring all forms of pollution to assess the impact on the health of workers and the general population. This is probably one of the most fulfilling renewable energy jobs you can ever have.

A degree in environmental engineering is the most common minimum educational requirement.

Discover more environment jobs here.

20. Solar PV Installer

Solar panel being installed by a man

Average salary: $42,680

Requirements: Technical college qualification

More folks are switching to renewable electricity in their homes, and one of the most effective solutions is solar panels.

Installing these panels and integrating them with batteries in private and commercial buildings is a highly technical job. A background in HVAC and electrical installations are required, but you’ll also need specialized training for an effective solar installation.

Apply for solar installer jobs here.

21. Solar Power Plant Construction Worker

Average salary: $41,940

Requirements: Technical college qualification

The great thing about solar power plants is that they are popping up in all different sizes.

And whether you’re looking at a large-scale operation with thousands of panels in a desert location or a small private plant for commercial or industrial building, there is no shortage of construction work. Skills in building, welding, and scaffolding are top of the list for these projects.

Find solar power plants that are looking for construction workers here.

Solar panel being assembled by two men

22. Site Assessor

Average salary: $40,000

Requirements: Technical college qualification

Every renewable energy project has to start with a site assessment. This determines the suitability of different sites where solar or wind energy is most suitable.

The job involves taking local measurements over several weeks and months, assessing the types of mounting structures, and estimating the system's cost, among others.

People with construction and electrical backgrounds are often good candidates.

Search for more jobs in renewable construction here.

FAQ

What is the fastest growing renewable energy?

The fastest-growing renewable energy is solar. Some estimates see it growing by 11% per year with an expectation of solar energy becoming almost 50% of US production by 2050. This will also fuel significant job growth in this area.

Is renewable energy a good career choice?

Yes, renewable energy is a good career choice. There are currently thousands of open positions, and growth in this sector will remain strong as more individuals and businesses switch to renewables.

Is solar energy a good career?

Yes, solar energy is a good career choice to make. More and more universities offer specific courses to train people in all aspects of solar power, from electrical engineers to solar energy project managers.

What does an energy engineer do?

An energy engineer works in the research, design, and installation of energy systems and power plants. The renewable energy sector is heavily reliant on such engineers as the scale of the projects has grown significantly.

What is the energy career cluster?

The energy career cluster is a collection of energy sector jobs that commonly work together on different energy production projects. Job growth in this cluster has been very high, especially when considering that the fossil fuel industry in the US has seen a net loss in jobs.

Conclusion

Whether you want to venture beyond the oil and gas industry, or you’re just planning out your college education for the first time, you simply cannot afford to ignore renewable energy job categories.

With a median pay that far exceeds the majority of other industries, it’s not only a way for students to have better chances of paying off any student debts — it’s also a way to make a difference to the planet while having job security at the same time.

Check out our Green Jobs Board to search for high-paying careers in the renewable energy industry now.

Looking for jobs by category, by city, or by state? Search for more sustainability jobs here.

Chris is one of GreenCitizen’s writers who has been a long-time advocate of individual responsibility when it comes to the environment. He shares GreenCitizen's passion for making the world a better place every day of the year.


3 Comments on “22 Best Paying Jobs In Energy (Updated 2022): Renewable Energy Jobs

  1. Pingback: Best Friends Lyrics 2022

  2. Hello,
    While these jobs are not bad it bothers me that the wages are way lower than the oil and gas jobs. 100k a year for a 18 year old rufneck off shore, more skilled people are 200k and up

    Solar energy is quickly becoming a source of energy for homes and businesses all over the world. The Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts that jobs for solar energy installers will experience a 63% increase between 2018 and 2028. Due to this industrial growth, there are numerous job opportunities available, including that of a solar energy technician whose work is to construct, install, and maintain solar panel systems.

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