Considering a career in energy? Let us help you make an informed decision with this article outlining if energy is a good career! Here’s what’s going to be covered in this artcle:
- Is Energy a good career path?
- What opportunities are available for a career in energy?
- Are energy engineers in demand?
- Is Energy Engineering a good career?
- What Are the Best Paying Jobs in Energy?
The short answer is yes. A world without energy is an impossible thought due to the advancement of technology, it is essential in almost every aspect of our modern lives. The opportunities for energy career progression are limitless. Energy is an established, well-paid, and most importantly, constantly growing and evolving career field.
Energy engineers are the noble professionals given the responsibility to find new sources of energy, harness them and convert them into that magic that comes through the electrical sockets in your house that powers your iPhone.
Similar to most engineering fields, working in energy brings a diverse range of responsibilities, with a focus on two main objectives: creating and developing new ways to create energy cleanly and efficiently, and reducing current energy consumption. This means that engineers working in the energy field will have to be great problem solvers and adept at optimizing workflows.
Energy is a technical, highly specialized field that mostly requires a post-graduate degree. However, there are exceptions to this as some educational institutions run energy programmes that allow students to progress into the energy field without the advanced qualification.
Absolutely! The future of energy is evolving every day, as drastic changes are being made to the global energy landscape. This is good news for energy engineers as jobs are multiplying. Energy engineers can be found at every point in the energy cycle. They can work directly on an oil rig, where the oil is refined, at an electrical energy pylon, the electrical grid and pretty much anywhere else other forms of energy are being created or harnessed.
Global warming unfortunately has not stopped and has become one of the main global issues in the world, its effects are becoming more noticeable and having deadly effects. This has resulted in many countries stepping up their clean energy protocols and investing in solar, geothermal and wind energy. This creates additional job opportunities for energy engineers.
Prices for clean energy have also fallen, increasing the adaptation of clean energy methods and also increasing the number of career opportunities for energy engineers. Energy engineering is definitely not going anywhere as along with the need for the storing and generation of clean energy, there is also the task of making existing systems more energy efficient.
To get a general idea of the types of jobs available in energy, check out our 25 best paying jobs in energy. The biggest energy companies in the world are, obviously, the biggest employers of energy engineers. The likes of Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil, EON, British Gas and National Grid among many others are the main companies that energy engineers could be looking to for employment.
Any one of these companies have the resources and have multiple ventures in various fields all over the world, and they need the correct workforce to ensure all of their projects get completed successfully.
Government departments and various networks of suppliers also make up the career options for energy engineers. They also carry a wide range of opportunities for energy engineers and those alike who have an interest in working in the energy field.
Drill operations on oil rigs are managed by drilling supervisors, they oversee operations and make sure everything is completed on time. Contrary to some other high-paying jobs, a bachelor’s degree is not essential, experience is valued much higher than qualifications. However degrees in mechanical engineering or drilling technology can be helpful.
Drilling supervisors are paid on average $148,500 in the US (£109,250 in the UK).
Wind Farm Site Manager
Maintaining a wind farm is more work that you might think. They need a lot of management, and the bigger the wind farm is, the more equipment, management and employees that it requires.
Wind farm site managers are generally required to have a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree in management and/or business, this combined with relevant experience of managing employees will ensure that the wind farm stays productive and staff remain busy.
Wind farm site managers are paid on average $105,000 in the US (£76,725 in the UK).
Green Construction Manager
This role includes planning, budgeting and coordinating construction projects from beginning to end. Retrofit projects for existing buildings, and new energy efficient projects are all within their scope of work. They oversee the business side, the basics and the newer technology included in modern green projects.
Green construction managers are paid on average $91,500 in the US (£67,250 in the UK).
Geophysicists were in great demand in the oil and gas industry, as potential fuel resources needed to be looked for, and found on both land and sea. However, due to the shift towards renewable energy in recent times, and drops in the price of oil around the world, geophysicists are slowly becoming extinct.
In contrast, the geothermal energy sector is booming and geoscientists (that require a lot of the same experience that geophysicists did) are some of the most wanted professionals in the world today. It mostly requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree to enter this field.
Geoscientists are paid on average $91,000 in the US (£66,500 in the UK).
All energy and electricity firms that are planning to build new power plants will need civil engineers to be involved with the project. The candidates for this field must have an experienced background in large construction projects and possess at the minimum a bachelor’s degree in engineering (civil engineering).
Civil engineers are paid on average $86,500 in the US (£63,000 in the UK).
Financial Analyst For Renewable Energy Companies
As the energy field is still quite new and in its infancy, they will still be increasing their energy efficiency, carrying out analyses of investments, calculating the returns from these investments, and marketing their services. They will lean on financial analysts for these tasks as this is most definitely outside of the realm of engineering.
Professional financial analysts in the energy field will need to have a bachelor’s or master’s and good experience working in the same industry.
Financial analysts are paid on average $85,000 in the US (£62,000 in the UK).
Solar Project Developer
The number of solar project developers are growing in great numbers, as there are a lot of small, medium and large sized companies that are taking on solar projects around the world. Each project takes a sizable amount of planning due to the number of permits that are needed and connecting to the grid.
They will be in contact with various professionals during the course of their projects: financial analysts, lawyers and engineers to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
Solar project developers are paid on average $84,000 in the US (£61,500 in the UK).
Solar Power Plant Operator
Contrary to popular belief, solar energy installations need operators once they are installed. They do not just run on auto-pilot as many believe. All projects require one, and in larger power plants there are multiple operators all working at once to keep everything running as it should.
This position needs some sort of a mechanical/electrical background as they will be literally hands-on at the power plant.
Solar power plant operators are paid on average $83,000 in the US (£60,500 in the UK).
Solar Project Manager
Similar to the above role, all solar installations require construction/project managers to ensure smooth operation. This involves keeping budgets, ensuring the schedule is correct and organizing staff so that the proper tasks are completed at the right time.
This position requires a bachelor’s or more advanced degree in a business-related course plus the relevant experience in managing construction or industrial projects.
Solar project managers are paid on average $83,000 in the US (£60,500 in the UK).
Renewable Energy Consultant
This is one of the most technical professions on the list, and there is significant growth in these roles in the jobs market. Renewable energy consultants are tasked with dealing with clients new and old, and advising them on the best energy options and solutions for them.
Candidates for this type of role will need to possess specialized qualifications in renewable energy management as the knowledge set is very different from the other energy fields.
Renewable energy consultants are paid on average $82,500 in the US (£60,250 in the UK).
Private R&D companies and universities employ many scientific researchers as these are the places where such chemical engineers and physicists can provide the biggest impact. Solar energy in particular has seen the biggest increase in demand for research in the development of extremely efficient electric vehicle batteries.
Master’s degrees are generally required here, although many Ph.D students are also hired.
Scientific researchers are paid on average $77,000 in the US (£56,250 in the UK).
The renewable energy field has been growing as of late, and projects in this field are known to reach industrial scale. This has created great demand for jobs in this area, candidates with qualifications in industrial engineering along with previous experience in the oil and gas industry will have great opportunities here.
Industrial engineers are paid on average $77,000 in the US (£56,250 in the UK).
Solar Energy Software Developer
The production of solar energy relies heavily on software to monitor, fine-tune and measure the relevant equipment. These careers will appeal to software engineers that have previous experience in the development of industrial systems. Salaries for this field are quite competitive and if the candidate has a bachelor’s degree in computer science, it could be a great move for them.
Solar energy software developers are paid on average $73,000 in the US (£53,250 in the UK).
Opportunities for solar engineers have stayed high in recent years as electrical operators have needed added support integrating newer renewable sources of energy into the grid. Professionals with qualifications in electronic and electrical engineering will normally be the go-to candidates for these careers, as a lot of employers have a long list of projects that requires their skillset.
Solar engineers are paid on average $72,250 in the US (£52,750 in the UK).
Solar Energy Technician
Maintenance is essential in keeping all solar panels working, whether they be on residential homes or for more commercial purposes (power plants). Work experience is essential here and applicants with a background in HVAC, installing solar panels or heating will find plenty of jobs on offer. This is an interesting role as it is possibly the highest paying job on this list that doesn’t require a degree.
Solar energy technicians are paid on average $72,000 in the US (£52,500 in the UK).
This may sound strange but the oil and gas sector has been a long-time employer of chemists that apply their skills to the production and treatment of specialized lubricants and fuels. The renewable and alternative sectors also require the same skillset to aid their development of biofuels.
Hopeful candidates should possess an advanced degree in chemistry, even if only applying for an entry-level job.
Chemists are paid on average $70,000 in the US (£51,250 in the UK).
Wind Turbine Service Technician
Wind turbines are being installed in bigger numbers every year, therefore the demand for wind turbine service technicians has grown at the same rate. It requires a good background in electrical installations, construction and welding to service wind farms and complete new installations.
Wind turbine service technicians are paid on average $54,250 in the US (£39,750 in the UK).
Sales representative jobs in the energy sector are very technical and require very specific knowledge. They will be expected to analyse customer’s requirements, take note of existing equipment and be the main point of contact between the company, installer and customer. Past sales skills in a technical industry is essential for this role.
Sales representatives are paid on average $53,750 in the US (£39,250 in the UK).
Environmental Engineering Technician
The energy field is still constantly growing and changing, and technicians that can work very closely with engineers and analyse the impact of new facilities are highly sought after. The highest demand for new technicians is in hydro-energy and geothermal plants such as dams.
Environmental engineering technicians are paid on average $50,500 in the US (£37,000 in the UK).
Service Unit Operator
The oil and mining fields have let many workers like operators of construction equipment go in recent times, and to their advantage they have been able to fulfill roles in the renewable energy field. Relevant experience in oil and mining is a big advantage and this can be a great chance to offer their skills to a role that benefits the environment.
Service unit operators are paid on average $46,250 in the US (£33,750 in the UK).
Environmental Science And Protection Technician
These roles include tasks in both the laboratory and out in the field, that focus on the impact that the installation and maintenance of renewable energy producing facilities have on the environment. They also monitor the pollution levels in workplaces and the effect that it has on the workers. This is a very rewarding renewable energy job to have.
To obtain a role like this a candidate must have qualifications in environmental engineering.
Environmental science and protection technicians are paid on average $46,250 in the US (£33,750 in the UK).
Solar PV Installer
More and more homes are now converting over to renewable energy, and the main method that is used for this conversion is the installation of solar panels.
While this may sound simple, installing the panels and integrating the batteries into their design in both residential and commercial buildings is a highly specialized and technical job. Successful applicants need to have a decent background in electrical or HVAC installations, but they will also need to receive specialized training for installing solar panels.
Solar PV installers are paid on average $42,750 in the US (£31,500 in the UK).
Solar Power Plant Construction Worker
No matter what the size of the power plant, the one thing that is for certain is that it will need construction workers, and power plants of all sizes are popping up everywhere.
Construction workers are needed for installation and operation of the solar panels, be there just a few, or if there are thousands. In order to work on these industrial or commercial projects, job seekers must have skills in welding, scaffolding and building.
Solar power plant construction workers are paid on average $42,000 in the US (£31,000 in the UK).
Site assessments are at the beginning of every renewable energy project. It analyses where the installation of wind or solar farms would be most effective. It includes taking measurements over long periods of time, estimating the cost of the systems, analysing the structure of the mounts, among many other things. Workers with an electrical or construction background will do great in these roles.
Site Assessors are paid on average $40,000 in the US (£29,500 in the UK).
Roofers have seen an uptrend in available jobs with the installation of solar panels on the roofs of homes. Candidates must have good experience in the construction industry.
Roofers are paid on average $40,000 in the US (£29,500 in the UK).
More about mechanical engineering careers:
- Undergraduates: 11 GOLDEN Career Tips from a Product Design Veteran
- What Do Mechanical Engineers Do? Mechanical Design Engineering Career
- Top 10 Mechanical Engineering Courses and Degrees in the USA
- Top 10 Mechanical Engineering University Courses in the UK
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- What’s it like to be a freelance mechanical engineer?
- 5 Reasons Mechanical Design Engineers Should Go Global
- How To Pitch Your Mechanical Engineering PhD
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- How to get a mechanical engineering job at NASA
- How YOU could be holding back your mechanical engineering career
- The Khan Academy – any good for science and engineering?
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Also, make sure to check out our Mechanical Engineering Jobs Board.