Career Prospects in a Renewable Source of Energy

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Today an alternative source of energy is a much talked about term. It is generally said that the environmental movement is going to provide good jobs in a bad economy. Even the most optimistic plans seek to generate at the most 25 percent of energy through alternative sources for the next about 5 to 10 years. "Energy" is a broad term. Energy that is stored in organic matters is called bio-energy, the internal energy of the earth is called geothermal energy, and hydro-power energy is the energy of flowing water. Career prospects in a renewable source of energy involve almost all arenas of industrial activities. Coal, Oil, and natural gas resources on the earth have been estimated to be sufficient until the middle of this century. Therefore, an alternative source of energy is a necessity of coming days.

Career prospects in a renewable source of energy are not of the type of other traditional or alternative jobs. Some Universities are planning to start programs focused on renewable energy with an expectation that it will achieve the same growth rate as computer science programs about three decades back. This is an indication of the coming new energy age.

There are various sources of energy like wind, sunlight, organic matter, rivers, and the internal heat of the earth, which can be harnessed to obtain clean and renewable (never ending) power and fuel. It, however, requires a dedicated team of workers to make it a reality.

For engineers seeking career prospects in a renewable source of energy, a bachelor's degree in an engineering specialty is required. A graduate degree is required for some basic research positions. An engineer has to keep continuously educating him with the current and fast changing technology.

Managerial jobs in the utilities industry require a four year college degree. In some cases a 2 year technical degree also serves a purpose in smaller plants. Without any formal additional training, managers can normally move up in the career ladder into higher level management positions. For qualified applicants stepping into the utilities industry, the job prospects are excellent during the next 10 years mostly due to replacement needs on account of retirement.

For utility services, high school graduates can have entry level production jobs. In some cases where safety and security regulations demand for higher standards of employment, a degree from a college or university or technical school is required. Production workers starts from laborers in unskilled jobs and through apprenticeship programs and gaining experience one can advance to better paying positions.

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly earning of an electrical engineer in the utilities industry in 2006 was $37.44. Mean annual salaries for engineers in the Federal Government in the year 2007 ranged from $75,144 in agricultural engineering to $107,526 in ceramic engineering.

As per Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly earnings of production workers in the utilities industry in 2006 were $27.42 with some variation. The workers who were associated in electric power generation had earned higher average weekly earnings than in water, sewage, and other systems. Production workers earned hourly earnings of $27.42 in 2006 compared to private industry where they earned $16.76.

Career prospects in a renewable source of energy involves varieties of professionals and requires individuals to acquire different types of degrees and training to get involved with renewable energy. There are jobs like Corporate Planning and Finance, Human Resources, Law, Information Technology, and Accounting which are common in almost every industry including the renewable energy industry. There are some specialized jobs specific to renewable energy technologies relating to five main sources of renewable energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydro-power, and bio-energy. The US Department of Labor has announced five grant competitions totaling $500 million to fund projects for preparing workers for green jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.

Predicted growth of employment of engineers is equivalent to the average growth of all the occupations during the next decade which may vary by specialty. There is expected to be fast growth for environmental engineers. The overall growth for engineers is expected to be good.

Combined and as well as individual efforts are being made by the universities, industries, and national laboratories to find solutions to develop viable commercial means of harnessing the bio-energy, geothermal energy, biomass, and solar energy. All these efforts create requirements of chemists, microbiologists, biochemists, engineers, agricultural specialists, and many more. For a qualified person having a wide range of skills and interest, career prospects in a renewable source of energy are valuable and bright.
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