Green Technology is hot and so are green jobs according to occupational expert Laurence Shatkin’s book “200 Best Jobs for Renewing America.” In the book, Mr. Shatkin weighs in on the top green jobs in the United States while comparing three factors: income, job growth, and job openings.
“I looked at green jobs that had to do with energy efficiency, with renewable energy, with saving money through recycling and other practices like that,” Mr. Shatkin said. “We can’t have a green economy without these people involved.”
Here are the top 10 green jobs, according to Mr. Shatkin.
Green Job No. 10: Electricians
Annual earnings: $44,780
Percent growth: 7.4 percent
“We’re talking about energy here. A lot of installations require the work of electricians,” Shatkin said. Solar panels, transformers, and power grids at power plants are among these installations. “There are a lot of electronic controls and equipment that control” green technology, Shatkin said.
Green Job No. 9: Carpenters
Annual earnings: $37,660
Percent growth: 10.3 percent
Carpenters are needed to implement green construction. They can use materials made from old materials or recycle those from rehabilitated buildings. They’re also needed for newer project. “If you’re putting solar panels on your roof, you might need to make some modifications,” Shatkin said.
Green Job No. 8: Geoscientists
(Except Hydrologists and Geographers)
Annual earnings: $75,800
Percent growth: 21.9 percent
“They’re involved in the work that’s needed to find sources of geothermal heat, from hot rock beds, rock formations,” Shatkin said. Geoscientists also serve as consultants in projects, like a West Virginia coal plant’s plans to bury emissions.
Green Job No. 7: Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
Annual earnings: $44,090
Percent growth: 10.6 percent
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters apply their skills to several green industries. They direct steam to create energy. They install and maintain piping at ethanol power plants, geothermal plants, and within solar and water heaters.
Green Job No. 6: Environmental engineers
Annual earnings: $72,350
Percent growth: 25.4 percent
These engineers solve environmental concerns within various projects. For example, when a power plant in southern Virginia was relocated onto a wetland, environmental engineers created a new wetland in another area. “Still, the most important thing they do is deal with sewage disposal and other kinds of waste disposal because that has a huge impact on the environment,” Shatkin said.
Green Job No. 5: Construction and building inspectors
Annual earnings: $48,330
Percent growth: 18.2 percent
Construction and building inspectors are concerned with maintaining required codes. Increasingly, these codes concern the environment. “There are standards being written up now for green building, for energy efficiency, for use of renewable materials and for planting things around the area,” Shatkin said.
Green Job No. 4: Environmental scientists and specialists
Annual earnings: $58,380
Percent growth: 25.1 percent
“They’re working for a greener world,” Shatkin said. “Environmental scientists are dealing with environmental concerns and the impact that people have on the environment.” These are the technicians that conduct research and help implement change.
Green Job No. 3: First-line supervisors/managers of construction trades and extraction workers
Annual earnings: $55,950
Percent growth: 9.1 percent
“Again, construction is something where there can be greener practices,” Shatkin said. These managers and first-line supervisors work with construction workers to ensure energy codes are maintained. Extraction work, which is generally not thought of as a green process, can be environmentally sound.
Green Job No. 2: Industrial engineers
Annual earnings: $71,430
Percent growth: 20.3 percent
“Industrial engineers are efficiency experts, safety experts, and quality control experts,” Shatkin said. They can apply these skills to any process, making it more green, more efficient, and more sustainable in terms of resource use.
Green Job No. 1: Construction managers
Annual earnings: $76,230
Percent growth: 15.7 percent
“There’s an increasing interest in making energy-efficient buildings, and making buildings using renewable materials,” Shatkin said. “For example, you can use recyclable tires to make buildings: they last longer and don’t end up in a dump somewhere.” Construction managers lead this process.
Sign-up for U.S. Green Technology’s weekly newsletter to receive the latest green technology information, including the latest green jobs, blogs, news, and events.