Ten of the Best Paying Jobs in Renewable Energy
The renewable energy industry has grown year after year, with experts predicting that this trend should continue. The renewable energy sector should accelerate thanks to growing interest, new business models, evolving supply-chain strategies, and more. This industry growth also triggers growth in energy careers, with a 5 percent increase in renewable energy jobs from 2019 to 2020, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
While there are plenty of jobs in the oil and gas industry, studies show that renewable energy jobs have a 25 percent higher median pay than jobs in the coal, natural gas and petroleum industries. Clean energy jobs are also more likely to offer better benefits and more opportunities for skill development and project variety.
In Northern Virginia, we’re spearheading innovation in renewable energy, with companies that have thousands of job opportunities available. Unsure of where to start? Read more to learn what some of the highest paying jobs in renewable energy.
What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Renewable Energy?
When looking for a good career in any industry, it’s important to ensure that it offers a competitive annual salary. In order to help job seekers, we’ve compiled ten of the highest-paying jobs in the renewable energy industry. All jobs in energy require specific education and experience requirements, but you’ll find jobs all the way from entry-level to advanced careers that require more work experience.
For our research, we used 2021 median salary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. Read on to learn about some of the top-paying renewable energy jobs.
Median Salary: $47,670 per year
Solar energy job growth has increased by 167 percent in the last decade and the industry is projected to continue growing. For those looking to enter the industry, solar installer jobs, also known as a solar photovoltaic installer, are often entry-level, with experience preferred but not always required. Solar installers are responsible for installing mechanical and electrical components of a solar energy system, including solar panels. Many solar farms and solar power plants will also provide on-the-job training.
Environmental Engineering Technician
Median Salary: $48,390 per year
At energy companies, renewable energy engineers create plans and solutions for environmental issues. It is the environmental engineering technician’s role to implement those plans. For example, they might set up and test the solutions to prevent environmental pollution or to clean up any existing pollution. While the job is more-entry level, renewable energy companies will be looking for candidates with an associate’s degree in a relevant field, like chemistry, environmental assessment, and hazardous waste management.
Wind Turbine Service Technician
Median Salary: $56,260 per year
Like the solar energy industry, wind energy is also projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.4 percent from 2021 to 2030. A common job within the industry is a wind service technician, whose role is to install, maintain, and repair wind turbines. The role often requires at least a few years of experience in turbine repair as well as turbine climbing. There are usually not any specific education requirements, but physical stamina for heavy lifting, climbing, and standing are required.
Renewable Energy Consultant
Median Salary: $76,530 per year
Many companies employ energy consultants, also known as energy auditors, who are responsible for assisting with the installation of renewable energy systems. This role might entail assessing the current energy used on-site to determine if a renewable energy source might be a better fit. This is not an entry-level role, as the candidate will need several years of experience plus a bachelor’s or master’s degree in energy management.
Median Salary: $81,410 per year
While financial analysts exist in multiple industries, financial analysts are in high-demand for renewable energy companies. Many of these businesses are still young and need the support of financial analysts to help attain a healthy profit. To become a financial analyst, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, but a master’s degree is often preferred. Many financial analysts get their start in a specific investment field often later transitioning to a portfolio manager to gain additional experience.
Median Salary: $83,680 per year
Every type of energy has its own type of environmental impact and it is the job of the geoscientist to not only measure those impacts but to help develop energy production resources. Geoscientists often spend equal time outside and indoors, often carrying out field studies and analyzing tests in the lab. To obtain this role in renewable energy production, geoscientists will need a bachelor’s degree and fieldwork experience in a relevant field.
Median Salary: $88,050 per year
Civil engineers can work in various types of energy projects, as their main responsibilities include designing site access roads for turbine transportation, testing materials, planning and designing systems, and analyzing reports. There are multiple levels of this energy career path, as civil engineers can begin at an entry-level position and progress all the way to an advanced senior role. Regardless of the level, the role does usually require a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering or related field.
Power Plant Operator
Median Salary: $94,790 per year
A power plant operator controls the systems in place that produce renewable energy. The role includes critical operations tasks including regulating the energy output, monitoring instruments, detecting and replying to emergencies, and troubleshooting any issues. The role requires extensive on-the-job training and experience with the type of energy at the plant.
Median Salary: $98,300 per year
While materials engineers work across a variety of industries, their role in renewable energy is to develop and test materials used to create clean energy products. This requires the study of multiple types of materials at the atomic level, like metals, plastics, ceramics, and more. They also work closely with site project managers and other project engineers. To become a materials engineer, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering or materials science.
Median Salary: $105,550 per year
With energy transitioning away from the usage of fossil fuels, chemical engineers are in high demand in the renewable energy industry. Chemical engineers are tasked with creating new tools, equipment and ideas as well as new methodologies for material and process development. These important tasks are helping to develop alternative carbon sources and fight climate change. Chemical engineering roles not only require a bachelor’s degree but also practical experience in lab work and field studies.