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Greening Your Job: Careers in Energy

July 26, 2010 - 7:30am


Recently a friend considering switching careers asked me about job opportunities in renewables and efficiency—often referred to as green jobs. My friend was aware that there was a lot of focus around the country on being green, and that that focus was leading to growth in green jobs. But she admitted to being a little confused as to just what might constitute a green job. And, with a background in accounting, she couldn't help but wonder if a green job was really out of her reach.

I was excited to be able to point her to some great new fact sheets available through the EERE website that highlight both renewable energy and energy efficiency related careers. One of these fact sheets, entitled Green Energy Technologies Create Green Jobs (PDF 1.6 MB) , provides an interesting way to define the term green jobs:

Technologies that improve energy efficiency or enable greater use of renewable energy help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Employment opportunities connected to the development and deployment of these technologies fit under the 'green jobs' umbrella.

Reading through the other fact sheets on at the site, you quickly realize that the green jobs umbrella is pretty darn big, encompassing a variety of careers from solar panel installers to workers who make drilling equipment for geothermal wells to bus or fleet drivers whose vehicles use advanced fuels. And while many of these jobs will require highly technical skills, these fact sheets make clear that green jobs aren't only for those with technical backgrounds. The green economy, it turns out, needs accountants, too!

The information on green jobs available through these fact sheets doesn't stop at simple definitions. Depending on the fact sheet you choose, you'll find information for green job seekers on the type of work available within a particular field, tips on the level of education employers typically seek, information on available certifications, and even links to online training resources available directly through the EERE.

If one of these green job fact sheets convinces you to further pursue a career in energy, there are more resources available to assist you through the EERE website. There's general information on energy-related education, training and professional development or more specific training resources dealing directly with wind or solar energy. Or, if you've already got the training you need, you can search for jobs through the Department of Energy or other public and private sector organizations.