Choosing a career path can be challenging. This blog post is for you if working in the energy sector interests you!
For billions of people worldwide, the energy sector is crucial to daily life. But is energy a good career path? In fact, reliable energy jobs of all kinds have been produced thanks to energy advancements and technological advances.
Explore the various career options in the energy sector, including the highest paying energy jobs, by reading on.
Table of Contents
- What is the Energy Industry?
- What Do Energy Jobs Pay?
- Types of Jobs in the Energy Industry
- The Fastest Growing Jobs in Energy
- Top 6 Best Paying Jobs in Energy
- What Degree Do You Need for An Energy Job?
- Pros and Cons of Working in the Energy Industry
- Is Energy a Good Career Path?
What is the Energy Industry?
The area of the economy that deals with the production and distribution of electricity, gas, oil, and other forms of energy is known as the energy industry. The energy sector is an essential component of any economy and has a big impact on a nation’s progress and expansion.
Energy can be divided into two categories: renewable and non-renewable. While non-renewable energy sources include fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas, renewable energy sources include solar, wind, and hydropower.
Why is the energy industry significant, then? The world would be very different if it didn’t have the energy industry because it gives us the electricity that runs our homes and businesses, the oil that runs our cars, and the natural gas that runs our factories. Additionally, the energy sector is significant because it employs over 7 million people in the US alone and millions of people worldwide. That’s a large number of people!
What Do Energy Jobs Pay?
In the US, the average annual salary for an energy position is $71,079 dollars. The average salary for the lowest-paying position in the energy sector is $30,000 per year, while the highest-paying position earns $141,000 annually. The level of education, location, and experience all influence salaries, of course.
Employment in the oil and gas sector typically pays more than employment in the renewable energy sector, and employment in urban areas typically pays more than employment in rural areas. Furthermore, as is common knowledge by this point, entry-level jobs typically pay less than those that require more education or experience.
Types of Jobs in the Energy Industry
In the energy sector, there are many open positions. Here are some examples:
A skilled tradesperson known as a welder uses heat and pressure to join metal components together. Construction or manufacturing are the typical industries where welders work.
Transmission System Operator
A transmission system operator is in charge of managing and upkeep of the electrical grid and works in power plants and other facilities.
An electrician sets up and fixes electrical systems. Installing and maintaining electrical equipment in factories and other industrial structures is the main responsibility of an electrician working in the energy sector.
Water Treatment Specialist
The operation and upkeep of water treatment machinery is the responsibility of a water treatment specialist. You’ll collaborate with a team in these energy-related careers to ensure that the water is potable and complies with all environmental regulations.
Nuclear Power Reactor Operator
Operating the nuclear reactors that generate electricity is the responsibility of a nuclear power plant operator. Nuclear power reactor operators keep an eye on the reactor, regulate the flow of water and steam, and ensure that the nuclear power plant is operating safely while at work in power plants and other facilities.
Systems inside factories and other industrial settings are developed and improved by industrial engineers. Industrial engineers are frequently employed in the construction or manufacturing industries. They may also be responsible for developing new production techniques, redesigning factory layouts, and analyzing production processes.
Solar Panel Installer
If you want to make a difference for the environment, working in the solar energy industry might be a great choice. Solar panel installers are in charge of mounting solar panels on roofs and other structures. They frequently work for solar energy or construction firms. Measurement and cutting of panels, tying panels to the electrical grid, and inverter installation are some of their additional responsibilities.
An expert in the composition, structure, and characteristics of substances is known as a chemist. In the energy sector, for example, where they create new fuels and lubricants, chemists work in a variety of fields. Research, the creation of new products, and product testing are frequently the responsibilities of chemists employed in the energy sector.
Ground-based oil and gas extraction is the responsibility of a petroleum engineer. Oil and gas companies employ petroleum engineers for the most part. Designing drilling rigs, overseeing the drilling operation, and assessing new drilling technologies are some of their duties. In the energy sector, petroleum engineers have the highest salaries.
Power Plant Operator
The technology for producing electricity is under the control of a power plant operator. They keep an eye on the machinery to make sure it works as it should, and if there are any issues, they must fix them. Along with maintaining grid stability and power quality, operators also make sure that the produced electricity’s voltage and frequency adhere to set standards. Additionally, they adapt to adjustments in the grid’s demand.
DID YOU KNOW: Green loans are available to both individuals and businesses for the purpose of financing eco-friendly goods and services. As more people and businesses realize how important it is to protect the environment, green loans are growing in popularity.
The Fastest Growing Jobs in Energy
The top five energy jobs as of now are listed below. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average projected growth rate for all occupations is eight percent. As you can see, these five professions far outpace that rate and are expanding.
Three of the five jobs listed below are in the field of renewable energy, while two are in the field of conventional energy.
- Wind Turbine Technician: 68% projected employment growth from 2020-30
- Solar Panel Installer: 52% projected employment increase from 2020-30
- Derrick Operator: 30% projected employment increase from 2020-30
- Software Developer: 22% projected employment increase from 2020-30
- Industrial Machinery Mechanic: 19% projected employment increase from 2020-30
Top 6 Best Paying Jobs in Energy
Numerous engineering and scientific positions are among the best-paying jobs in the energy sector. The following six positions are applicable to the entire energy industry, though some have a stronger focus on conventional energy. Each of the six energy jobs with the best salaries has a promising job outlook. Engineering has a number of these highest paying jobs. Learn more about how to enter the field of energy engineering.
The abilities of these scientists are diverse. Chemists are familiar with chemical processes that can result in combustion, solar energy, and other things. They may even use this information to assist in the creation of new products. In a lab, chemists frequently put in regular hours. A chemist working in the energy industry typically needs to be highly educated in their field.
- Average Salary: $79,300
- Job Outlook, 2020-30: 7% Projected Growth
Civil engineers develop, build, and maintain infrastructure projects like power plants. In order to manage rules, expenses, risks, and prior information during planning for these large projects, a civil engineer is required. The minimum educational requirement for civil engineers is a Bachelor’s degree, though advanced training is advised.
- Average Salary: $88,570
- Job Outlook, 2020-30: 8% Projected Growth
When an energy project becomes sufficiently large, an industrial engineer may be required. These engineers design systems that minimize waste and achieve maximum effectiveness. All tools and products used on the jobsite must be thoroughly understood by industrial engineers. Although a Master’s degree is helpful in this field, a Bachelor’s degree is necessary.
- Average Salary: $88,950
- Job Outlook, 2020-30: 14% Projected Growth
Renewable Mechanical Engineer
Engineers who specialize in mechanical design and construction create the equipment and tools used in numerous industries. In the field of renewable energy, engineers frequently construct wind farms where turbines are used to capture wind energy. When the equipment requires it, mechanical engineers go on field trips in addition to their office work. This position calls for a bachelor’s degree.
- Average Salary: $90,160
- Job Outlook, 2020-30: 7% Projected Growth
To design solutions to problems that adversely affect the environment, environmental engineers combine their knowledge of various natural sciences. When addressing issues like pollution, waste disposal, and other issues, these engineers take into account both the needs of the environment and the needs of the people who live there. A bachelor’s degree is necessary for this position.
- Average Salary: $92,120
- Job Outlook, 2020-30: 7% Projected Growth
Geoscientists research the earth’s physical characteristics, including its composition. Geoscientists use their expertise to identify potential resource deposits in the energy sector. Field samples will be gathered by geoscientists, who will then examine them in a lab. For many employers, an advanced degree is helpful, but a Bachelor’s in their field is necessary.
- Average Salary: $93,580
- Job Outlook, 2020-30: 7% Projected Growth
What Degree Do You Need for An Energy Job?
You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering for the majority of the positions on this list. But some employers may request a master’s or even a PhD for certain positions.
Critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork abilities are essential when discussing the skills required for the majority of jobs in the energy industry. Since the majority of these jobs require you to report your findings to superiors, communication skills are also crucial. Additionally, a few of the technical skills needed include expertise in HVAC, STEM, mechanical aptitude, math, and computer-aided design (CAD).
Pros and Cons of Working in the Energy Industry
Whether it’s a career in solar energy, oil and gas, or power plant companies, the energy industry is a vital component of the economy and offers a variety of employment opportunities. Working in this field does have some disadvantages, though. Examining the benefits and drawbacks of a career in the energy sector is our next step.
- Good pay: Energy-related jobs typically have good pay. Engineers, for instance, make an average of $86,000 annually.
- Job security: The energy industry is growing, and there’s a demand for qualified workers. This indicates that there are numerous employment options in this industry and that there will be even more opportunities in the future.
- You can make a difference: Working in the energy sector will enable you to contribute to the resolution of some of the most pressing issues facing the globe.
- You get to travel: Many jobs in the energy sector require travel, which can be a fantastic way to see the world. For instance, if you’re interested in working in the field of green energy technology, you can visit less developed nations to see how new environmental initiatives are carried out there.
- You’re not always stuck in the office: Many energy jobs require working outside, which can be a great way to get some fresh air and exercise. This can be especially appealing to individuals who are free-spirited and don’t want to be cooped up in an office.
- Never-ending learning opportunities: There are always new things to learn because the energy sector is dynamic. For those who enjoy learning and keeping up with the newest technologies, this can be a fantastic opportunity.
- Potential danger: Because there are so many potential dangers, working in the energy sector can be risky. Many workers in the field have hazard insurance because there have been numerous accidents recently and there is a risk of worker injury or death.
- Male-dominated industry: Women who want to advance their energy careers and get promoted may find it challenging due to the industry’s predominately male workforce.
- “Dirty” industry: If you care about the environment, a career in the energy sector might not be the best choice for you because it contributes significantly to pollution.
- Requires a lot of education and skills: Be ready to dedicate a lot of time and energy to your education and training as the majority of energy jobs require a college degree, specialized skills, and extensive on-site training.
- Long hours and high work related stress: It can be challenging for people with families or other obligations to work in high-stress, long-hour energy jobs.
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to working in the energy sector. Considerations like the pay of energy jobs, what it’s like to work in the field, the required degree, etc. should be carefully considered before making a choice.
Is Energy a Good Career Path?
Energy offers a wide range of different job types and career opportunities. This is due to the fact that numerous types of energy are currently in use around the globe. Although we still rely on fossil fuels for our energy, renewable energy sources such as wind turbines and solar farms account for a growing portion of our energy supply every year.
Depending on who you ask, working in the energy industry can look very different. For instance, a worker on a natural gas dig site won’t use the same equipment as a worker in the renewable energy sector.
Energy-related jobs can be found in a variety of fields. Most of the time, office environments are where software developers, financial analysts, and information system managers work. In the laboratory, chemists will work. On-site labor will be provided by installers and machine operators. Each stage of the energy harvesting cycle will probably be encountered by those who pursue careers in energy engineering.
Read More: Commercial Solar Panel Installation
How Many Jobs Are Available in Energy?
By 2050, the number of jobs in the energy sector could increase to 100 million, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This is more than 72% of what is already available.
Is Energy Engineering in Demand?
Energy engineers are in demand by a number of different industries, not only those who focus on green or renewable sources of energy.
What Do Energy Engineers Do?
These engineers develop solutions for improving energy consumption and use.
What Skills Do Energy Engineers Need?
Some of the technical skills you’ll need as an energy engineer include:
- 3D modeling
- Energy auditing
- AutoCAD (Computer Aided Design)
- Renewable Energy System Design Software
- Energy simulation
- Other computer programming skills
- Project management skills
- Mathematical and scientific skills
- Creative problem-solving skill
Why Pursue a Career in the Energy Industry?
An energy industry career can be chosen for a variety of reasons. Energy is a significant economic sector, the industry is expanding, and employment in this field is frequently stable even during times of economic hardship. Additionally, the energy industry offers lucrative employment.
So, is a career in energy a good choice? You’re on the right track if you’re up for long hours, physical labor, a dynamic environment, and a respectable wage.
Is the effort worthwhile, then? There are numerous opportunities for advancement because the sector is expanding. Energy is a crucial economic sector that is also home to many jobs that can remain stable even in times of recession. Additionally, you can earn some sweet cash!
However, there are some disadvantages to working in energy that you should be aware of when looking for jobs in energy technology: many energy jobs require specialized skills and training, some positions in the energy industry can be very demanding both mentally and physically, the hours are long, and it’s a male-dominated industry.