If you’re after a career in the power industry, your job hunt won’t be a waste of energy. You can get ex-static about the opportunities because you’ll be shocked by what’s out there for people with your potential.
We’ve rounded up a list free of charge to spark up your interest (okay, let’s get into it before you get Bohr’ed).
This article will show you:
- What to expect from the energy industry.
- A breakdown of the best paying jobs in energy.
- If energy is a good career path for you.
Best Paying Jobs in Energy
Finding the right career for you isn’t easy, but there are a bunch of careers in the power sector—in science, finance, engineering, and more—to suit your background and interests.
But what exactly is it?
Well, it covers a range of fields, including fuel, vehicles, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electric power generation.
Mind you, it’s a competitive industry, and many employers will expect you to have a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions or a master’s degree for more advanced roles. We know, college isn’t for everyone—but some jobs accept high school diplomas or those who’ve done specialist courses or apprenticeship programs.
How many jobs are available in energy?
Jobs in energy are on the rise. The industry saw a 4% increase from 2020 to 2021—which might not seem like a lot, but that’s 3 million more jobs. It’s also predicted to grow by another 10% by 2031.
So, the energy industry could be a smart option for your next career move.
What Do Energy Jobs Pay?
The 2020 US Energy and Employment report says energy workers are paid 34% more than the median US wage—with clean energy jobs expected to keep growing in the future.
Those top jobs, like solar developers and petroleum engineers, can pay up to $200,000—while entry-level positions and lower-paid jobs (such as solar sales consultants) start around $36,000.
Generally, those working in nuclear and solar energy are making the big bucks, while coal mining or utility system construction workers are paid the least. As with most jobs, those with bachelor’s or master’s degrees under their belt are more likely to snatch the top-paying and more advanced positions.
If you’re eager to make some extra cash, read more about the ins and outs of energy investing.
25 Best Paying Jobs in Energy
Here’s our roundup of the best paying jobs in energy—
1. Petroleum Engineer
Annual salary: $79,000–$193,000
So, you want to earn the top dollar. Well, petroleum engineers make plenty by finding oil and gas for different energy requirements. You’ll also go underground by designing and developing methods to extract gas and oil.
But you won’t just be drilling. Petroleum engineers find the right sites for extraction while maintaining equipment and supervising the drilling process. You’ll also mingle with other engineers, site managers, and geologists to make sure everything is operating smoothly.
Requirements: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering or a related field like chemical, mechanical, or civil engineering. Your course may also need to be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
2. Chemical Engineer
Annual salary: $62,000–$187,000
Chemical engineers are a brainy bunch, using their knowledge of chemistry, mathematics, and natural sciences to solve problems related to materials and energy, such as fuel.
As a chemical engineer, you’ll have all the solutions for developing coal, petroleum, propane, and natural gas. You’ll be in your element developing energy generation processes using wind and solar power while contributing towards a greener planet.
Requirements: Ideally, employers are searching for individuals with a degree in chemical engineering, but you may also get the position with a related engineering degree or a background in chemistry.
3. Marketing Manager
Annual salary: $61,000–$208,000
You don’t need a scientific brain like Einstein to work in energy. If you want to show off some creative flair, plenty of energy companies are looking for marketing managers for their campaigns.
Successful marketers can get inside customers’ heads and identify their deepest desires. You’ll help companies find products or services that are up to date with the latest market trends. Savvy marketing also helps turn complex details into attention-grabbing ideas.
Requirements: Marketing managers often have a bachelor’s degree in marketing, business, or a related field. Work experience in marketing can also help you make your way to those top roles.
4. Wind Project Manager
Annual salary: $56,000–$170,000
A wind turbine saw a solar panel at an energy convention. He leaned in and shouted, “Hey, I’m a big fan!” Yup, renewable energy is on the rise—and it’s the wind project managers that are there from the start, usually calling the shots.
Wind turbines rely on strong winds, so it’s up to wind project managers to find the ideal windy spot and install the right amount of wind turbines. But don’t expect every day to be a breeze, as you’ll have to keep everything on track and within budget via project plans, tasks, and goals.
Requirements: With all that responsibility, most employers prefer an MBA in construction management, engineering, or business management. Experience working on other wind plant projects or construction could also give you a nice advantage.
5. Nuclear Engineer
Annual salary: $75,000–$169,000
Nuclear energy provides around 10% of the world’s electricity and is the second largest source of low-carbon power, so there’s a lot of demand for nuclear engineers.
You’ll be involved in designing and developing nuclear equipment while managing operations and maintenance. The most terrifying word in nuclear engineering is “oops”—so be sure to pay close attention to all safety standards.
Requirements: To land a role in nuclear engineering, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering or nuclear engineering, with a focus on science and maths. Some employees also look for a master’s degree for more advanced positions.
Annual salary: $48,000–$172,000
If traveling and working outdoors is your cup of tea, working as a geoscientist could be a good match. You’ll also need plenty of scientific brainpower—geoscientists specialize in all physical aspects of Earth, particularly its composition, structure, and processes.
Studying wind, solar, and geothermal energy resources gives you the tools to learn how renewable energy impacts the environment and climate. Knowledge of physical elements will help you pinpoint the minerals needed to keep renewable energy technology up and running.
Requirements: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in geoscience, geology, physical science, or natural resources. A master’s degree in geoscience or geophysics will also look impressive on your CV.
7. Thermal Engineer
Annual salary: $90,000–$122,000
Thermal engineers work with thermodynamics—a fancy way to say you’ll be designing, building, and maintaining heating and cooling systems. You’ll be in charge of thermal testing, monitoring performance, and improving systems.
In the energy industry, you can work with the heating systems in automobiles to make sure everything is energy efficient. If you’re keen to work in a thermal power plant, you can also help design and maintain energy conversion systems to push productivity and cut energy loss.
Requirements: Thermal engineering is closely tied to math and natural sciences, so recruiters are looking for someone with this kind of knowledge—which usually means you need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or chemical engineering.
8. Atmospheric Scientist
Annual salary: $48,000–$150,000
Despite popular belief, atmosphere scientists don’t always have their heads in the clouds—they can also be found studying air quality, climate, and atmospheric chemistry.
Atmospheric processes, like wind, are the driving force behind wind farming. So as an atmospheric scientist, you’ll have the brains to help assess and measure potential wind resources while helping develop valuable technologies and wind maps.
Requirements: Atmospheric scientists typically have a degree in meteorology, atmospheric science, or a similar field in earth sciences. You’ll need a master’s degree or PhD if you’re aiming for a research position.
9. Solar Developer
Annual salary: $86,000–$111,000
Want to brighten someone’s day? As a solar project developer, you’ll be in charge of bringing solar projects to life. This means a lot of juggling, so this role is ideal for someone who’s no stranger to multitasking.
Why? Well, you’ll be getting building permits and land rights, going through property tax agreements, and researching funding opportunities. You’ll also work with other professionals, like financial analysts, lawyers, laborers, contractors, engineers, and investors. Knowing your numbers also comes in handy when managing the budgets for each project.
Requirements: Getting into solar energy doesn’t happen overnight—many employers want candidates with a degree in engineering, finance, or construction management, and in some cases, an MBA is preferable.
10. Solar Project Manager
Annual salary: $69,000–$111,000
Solar power is simple—you install it, wait for the sun to do its magic, and watch that electricity flow. Well, it’s not that simple. In fact, it’s the job of the solar project manager to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Solar project managers plan and keep track of all the resources, tasks, budgets, and goals for each solar energy project. Being a team player is also key to bringing vendors, technicians, subcontractors, and financial partners together to get the job done.
Requirements: Although not always necessary, a bachelor’s degree in construction management, engineering, or a related field will be helpful. Many candidates get on-the-job training to learn about the company’s own equipment and software.
11. Resource Scientist
Annual salary: $78,000–$100,000
If working on a wind farm sounds like a breath of fresh air, don’t think wind farm technicians or managers are the only jobs available. Resource scientists also work behind the scenes in developing wind farms and their technology.
Resource scientists study all things atmosphere, weather, and climate-related. You’ll use this to suss out the location, safety, and weather conditions, so managers don’t end up picking the wrong site. You’ll also use wind speed, direction, and temperature data to estimate wind plant energy.
Requirements: Typically, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, atmospheric science, statistics, or mathematics to work as a resource scientist. Many employers also value a graduate degree, especially if you want to work in research.
12. Solar Engineer
Annual salary: $76,000–$101,000
Solar panels don’t need much maintenance—one of the reasons why they’re such a hot topic right now. The minimal upkeep is thanks to the hours spent planning, designing, and constructing done by solar engineers.
So, you’ll make sure everything is top-quality while using computer software to create the panel’s electrical systems. Your power moves will involve developing, monitoring, and evaluating the whole solar electrical system while being careful not to skip over any safety standards.
Requirements: With all the electrical work, employers look for those with a degree in electrical or mechanical engineering. But they may also accept degrees in chemistry, computer science, or engineering.
13. Electrical Engineer
Annual salary: $62,000–$162,000
Energy and electricity come hand in hand. If you consider yourself a bright spark, you can pick from plenty of fields, such as renewable energy, green construction, and energy in the developing world.
In renewable energy, you can work with wind turbines to develop and test their electrical components. These electrical systems are no cakewalk, so you’ll need to master all their intricacies to make sure the electronics are working safely and efficiently.
Requirements: To get started, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or a related engineering field. You can also participate in internships and engineering programs to help kick-start your career.
14. Financial Analyst
Annual salary: $57,000–$166,000
If you have a knack for crunching numbers, plenty of energy companies need financial analysts to help calculate investments, assess business performance, and give advice on making bank.
Developing and updating investment plans is a must. But you can also lend a hand in finding new projects and market opportunities by picking the brains of other departments in the company. Additionally, you’ll take energy projects to the next level with the right revenue strategies and cost reductions.
Requirements: For an entry-level position, most employers are looking for a bachelor degree in finance, business, economics, or analytics. Work experience or a master’s degree will also up your chances of getting the job.
15. Materials Engineer
Annual salary: $60,000–$161,000
A material engineer does precisely what it says on the tin, dealing with everything related to materials. From metals to composites and plastics, material engineers use materials to process, test, and develop a range of products.
To find energy generation solutions, you can use engineered materials to make new energy technology more widespread and cost-effective. You’ll also work on technologies like thermoelectric generators, nuclear fusion reactors, and solar and fuel cells.
Requirements: Material engineering or materials science is the obvious choice of degree if you want to get into this field. Additionally, engineering internships and programs to get real-world experience can look impressive to employers.
16. Industrial Engineer
Annual salary: $60,000–$129,000
Industrial engineers have a lot under their belts—and not just their tools. You’ll need to bring together machinery, information, materials, and workers to improve products and services. These skills come in handy when boosting efficiency in energy facilities.
In the wind farming industry, you can help get rid of any harmful waste in the turbine manufacturing process—and brainstorm ways to cut down on time and costs. Understanding the market and singling out the best strategies will help you make the biggest impact.
Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering is a must for most employers. Experience in engineering and a good dose of creativity and critical thinking is also a plus.
17. Civil Engineer
Annual salary: $60,000–$133,000
With the rise of green facilities using renewable energy, the skills of civil engineers are in hot demand. Expertise in design, construction, and maintenance is highly sought-after across energy facilities.
As well as designing and constructing wind farms and power plants, you can get stuck in with testing building materials and soil. This helps construction know if the ground is strong enough for construction and the installation of foundations.
Requirements: You’ll likely need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering to bag this job. But many employees also look for experience in industrial construction or those who have worked in managerial positions.
18. Wind Farm Site Manager
Annual salary: $71,000–$92,000
In wind farms, it’s the wind that runs the show—but it’s the job of the wind farm site manager to play their part in keeping the day-to-day operations running smoothly.
Site managers maintain the equipment and facilities while making sure the staff is putting in one hundred percent. It’s also a big thumbs up if you have the people skills to communicate with vendors and contractors while keeping the local landowners and community happy.
Requirements: While a bachelor’s degree is preferred, it’s usually not required, as many employers will accept a high school diploma with the right experience. Working on a wind plant or in renewable energy will give you a better chance of landing the role.
No degree? No problem. Here are some other jobs that don’t require a college degree.
19. Environmental Consultant
Annual salary: $63,000–$93,000
The way companies consume energy is under scrutiny—but you’re there to help them out. Whether trying out new energy projects or transitioning to renewable energy, environmental consultants help companies understand their environmental impact.
Your green knowledge will help companies find environmentally friendly solutions and improve pollution and climate change decisions. You can also use your environmental know-how to help businesses gain a competitive advantage, drive growth and boost that all-important profit.
Requirements: To prove your expertise, many employers look for a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, environmental studies, or environmental engineering. Going after a master’s degree in an environmental or science related-field will also be an impressive advantage.
20. Solar Sales Consultant
Annual salary: $36,000–$96,000
Solar panels are better for the environment and cheaper in the long term—but it’s the job of the solar sales consultant to convince you to make that purchase. And to do that, you have to understand solar energy like the palm of your hand.
Knowledge of solar panels is handy when talking to customers, from homeowners to big companies. You’ll be expected to offer advice and information on the installation, maintenance, and functionality of solar panels—all while trying to sell. Making that sale involves going door-to-door, arranging meetings, or the much-loved cold-calling.
Requirements: Many solar sales consultants have degrees in business or communication. However, getting into this field without a degree and only a high school diploma is possible, especially if you have a knack for customer service.
21. Wind Turbine Technician
Annual salary: $46,000–$77,000
Despite the name, working on a wind farm doesn’t mean you can rely on the wind for everything. Wind turbines are a big fan of technicians as they provide the maintenance needed to keep the turbines turning.
If you’re the outdoorsy type, this is ideal as you’ll be in direct contact with the wind turbines, often in maintenance and repair—jobs like cleaning the blades and checking electrical connections. However, wind turbines can reach up to 300 feet, so perhaps reconsider this role if you’re prone to shaky legs.
Requirements: Having a degree in mechanical engineering or a related field is a big plus for employers. Although, taking engineering courses in a technical school or having the right work experience will also make a good impression on employers.
22. Solar Site Assessor
Annual salary: $35,000–$89,000
You can’t just place solar panels on any old roof. Some buildings may not have enough roof space in direct sunlight, or your roof is just too old for a long-term solar panel investment.
The solar site assessor’s job is to see which properties are a good match for solar panels. You’ll carry out on-site evaluations to deliver first-class recommendations to potential customers. This involves checking out roof conditions, electrical systems, and weather conditions to find the perfect solar match for each roof.
Requirements: In most cases, a degree isn’t necessary—but a high school diploma and some training in site assessment and solar energy will help you out. Apprenticeships are a great way to get started and learn the ropes for the role.
23. Solar Energy Technician
Annual salary: $36,000–$72,000
While sunlight rules the roost in solar energy, the solar energy technician makes sure the solar panels are up and running. This involves assembling, installing, and maintaining solar panels.
Solar panels are designed and installed for various facilities and homes, so you’ll be in charge of making sure they are installed safely and without a hitch. Your electrical skills will be used here as you’ll need to connect the solar panels to electrical grids.
Requirements: If college isn’t for you, becoming a solar energy technician is a great option, as you can gain experience through an apprenticeship. Any experience in electrical appliances, solar panel installation, or even central heating is also beneficial.
24. Environmental Science Technician
Annual salary: $30,000–$76,000
Working as an environmental science technician in the energy industry is a team effort, as you’ll work with environmental engineers and scientists to identify and control ecological contamination.
Environmental science technicians can apply their expertise to wind farms by helping out with construction studies to see how species and habitats will interact with upcoming plans. You’ll also carry out environmental monitoring to watch over companies during construction and make sure they aren’t bending any environmental regulation rules.
Requirements: There’s no need to spend years in education to land this role. Many employers only look for an associate degree or two years of postsecondary training in a science-related field. Some positions also require a bachelor’s degree, usually in biology or chemistry.
25. Solar Power Plant Operator
Annual salary: $49,000–$70,000
Unlike the solar panels you see on your next-door neighbor’s roof, a solar power plant is a whole facility that uses sunlight to provide electricity to homes or industrial sites.
To keep that electricity flowing, solar power plant operators must maintain the equipment while fixing any issues or faults that may come up. You’ll often get to use computer programs to keep an eye on equipment, meet safety requirements, and make sure everything is working soundly.
Requirements: Having a degree in electrical engineering is helpful. However, having electrical or mechanical experience is better, especially if you show a good understanding of electricity or solar energy.
Is Energy a Good Career Path?
The energy industry shows plenty of promise—energy consumption grows at 1%–2% every year, so there’s no shortage of jobs.
Those with sought-after skills and specific industry knowledge can earn up to $200,000 in top-paying positions—especially if you work in engineering or scientific research.
The recent move towards renewable energy is making room for more job opportunities, especially for those with an environmental background. You’ll be making a difference and using your skills to contribute towards a more sustainable future.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best renewable energy jobs?
You can find well-paid jobs in solar energy and wind power, with plenty of growth opportunities. The best options include wind project managers, wind turbine technicians, solar engineers, and solar project developers.
What is the salary for green energy jobs?
Salaries for green energy jobs can start from $36,000 and reach up to $200,000 for advanced positions. If you’re keen to earn a high salary, check out engineering or scientific research jobs.
What are the best sustainable energy jobs?
You can find a range of jobs in the field of renewable energy which are considered sustainable energy jobs. They range from engineers and scientists to site managers, technicians, and consultants.
AUTHOR Lauren Bedford
Lauren is a published content writer who is passionate about helping and informing others through her content. In the last 5 years, Lauren has written about a range of subjects, including business, technology and finance.