According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), green jobs are either 1) those in businesses that produce goods or provide services that conserve natural resources or benefit the environment or 2) those in which employees' duties include making the employer's production processes more environmentally friendly or consume fewer natural resources. Engineers are especially well-suited for green jobs, as the profession focuses on solving problems and developing processes and technology to better people's lives. Green careers for engineers include environmental engineering jobs, solar energy engineer jobs, wind energy engineers and more.
Green Job Education Requirements
Green engineering jobs typically require a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field from an accredited program, and some employers may prefer candidates with master's degrees. Some specific training requirements are outlined below:
Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering and the life sciences to create solutions to environmental problems. They need training in geology, biology, chemistry, math, physics and general engineering
Alternative energy engineering jobs draw upon natural and sustainable resources, such as wind and solar power, to create energy. They need training in chemistry, electrical engineering and the earth sciences
Many positions also require professional licensure. To become a licensed professional engineer (PE), you must have an engineering degree from an ABET-accredited program, pass the fundamentals of engineering (FE) exam, complete relevant work experience and pass the professional engineering (PE) exam.
Green Job Market
Increasing concern about global warming and a growing awareness of humanity's carbon footprint have led to consistent, considerable growth in green careers in engineering. In fact, a report released last year by the BLS indicated that green jobs experienced a growth rate from 2010 to 2011 that was four times as fast as all other industries combined.
The BLS estimates that over 3.1 million people work in green jobs, which account for 2.4 percent of all U.S. employment. Green engineering jobs are especially wise career choices, as they combine the stability of the engineering profession with the exponential growth of green careers.
Green Job Salary Information
Salaries in green careers will vary by education, experience, and employer. Environmental engineers, for example, have a mean annual wage of $85,520, with those in the 90th percentile for earnings making $122,690. Green jobs also often call for electrical engineers, who make an average of $93,380 across all specialties. Electrical engineers who work in the wind power industry make an average of about $83,000, while those in the solar power industry make an average of $92,820.