The renewable energy industry is projected to have a great deal of job growth in the next few years. This is largely because states are passing legislation which mandates the use of a certain percentage of renewable energy from utilities. One of the largest producers of renewable energy is wind power. In fact, it is estimated that about 6% of all of the electricity used in the United States comes from wind power. This has led many high school seniors and first year college students to begin looking at this field as a serious career option. So, what are the top five STEM-related careers in the wind energy industry?
- Aerospace Engineer
- Wind Turbine Field Service Technician
- Wind Turbine Component Manufacturer
- Site Preparation And Construction Worker
- Meteorological Technician
An aerospace engineer that works specifically in the wind generation industry is in charge of designing the wind turbines. As the designs improve, so does the amount of energy that a wind turbine can produce with each revolution. Most aerospace engineers have completed at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering, and many have received a Master’s degree or PhD. The average salary of an aerospace engineer is $105,000. It is estimated that this field will grow up to 6% in the next 10 years.
Wind Turbine Field Service Technician
A field service technician is in charge of fixing broken parts of a wind turbine and keeping gears and other mechanical parts properly greased. They often have to travel from site to site to address the most pressing issues. This job often requires an associate’s or technical school degree. The median pay for this position is $51,000.
Wind Turbine Component Manufacturer
There are hundreds of parts that go into creating a wind turbine. This means that the job growth of wind turbine component manufacturers is looking up as renewable energy mandates increase. This position involves properly assembling the turbine and transporting it to the build site. The education necessary for this job may be a technical school that specializes in this field or even an associate’s degree. The average salary for this job is around $45,000 per year.
Site Preparation And Construction Worker
Wind turbines require a great deal of site preparation and other construction projects before it can begin generating renewable energy. This includes clearing brush and trees, constructing access roads, and pouring the foundation that will steady the turbine over its lifetime. The highest percentage of construction jobs in the wind industry are located in the Midwest, as this is the area of the country with the highest wind resource and thus, has the highest demand for all careers related to wind. Most of these jobs require a high school degree unless you wish to be a site manager, which may require a two year associate’s degree. The average construction worker can expect to make around $31,000 per year.
One of the biggest deciding factors in determining where to place a wind turbine is finding out what locations have the greatest wind resource. This is where a meteorological technician will come into play to take a variety of readings to determine the best location. Siting the wind turbine can greatly impact the length of time for a total return on investment. If this part of the process isn’t completed correctly, the project can take years longer to show a financial return. Most meteorological technicians have a high school degree and have completed on the job training. A meteorological technician can make up to $41,000 per year.