Is Energy a Good Career Path? Find Out If It's Right for You

windfarm engineer in field

Energy is a large market sector that plays an important role in the daily lives of people everywhere. Energy jobs involve finding, refining, producing, or providing power or fuel. If you like the idea of being part of an important industry that touches every aspect of life, this field might be the perfect place for you. With opportunities ranging from skilled and unskilled labor to highly technical engineering positions, and several roles in between, there are many options to consider. Explore some of the highest paying and in-demand energy jobs. Pay data is current as of 2021.

Energy Engineer

Engineers are in-demand in every aspect of the energy sector, including nuclear engineers, environmental engineers, geological engineers, electrical engineers, industrial engineers, and more. They are involved in identifying the most efficient and effective ways to harness and process various types of energy, based on the specific sector in which they are employed. Working as any type of engineer requires at least a bachelor's degree in the field, and an engineering license. Median pay across all engineering fields is above $90,000 per year. Many energy engineers earn six-figure salaries.

Engineering Technicians

Energy plants usually employ engineering technicians, who work closely with, and under the supervision of engineers. While these jobs don't require an engineering degree, they do require specialized expertise and training. Many roles require at least an associate degree. Some people who work in these roles are electronics technicians, while others are computer-aided drafting (CAD) operators. Job duties involve things like designing, assembling, and/or inspecting industrial equipment or work processes. On average, these positions pay around $27 per hour.

Plant Operators

There are opportunities for plant operators in all aspects of the energy sector. Plant operators work directly with industrial equipment and processes in places where energy is harnessed, processed, and/or stored. For example, nuclear energy companies employ nuclear reactor operators. They are responsible for operating, monitoring, and controlling nuclear operators. The median hourly rate of pay for this risky job is over $50 per hour. Power plant operators work with the equipment and systems necessary to generate electricity, while natural gas plant operators work with equipment related to gas storage and pipelines. The median pay for these jobs is around $30 per hour.

Power Line Installers

electrician working on electric pylon

Electricity providers employ power line installers who are responsible for installing, maintaining, repairing, and replacing power lines. They work with above-ground and underground power lines that are used to direct energy to homes and businesses, as well as to light roads and bridges. They work anywhere electricity is needed, in all kinds of weather conditions. They often work long days and have to be comfortable working at heights, as a good bit of their work is done via power company bucket trucks. These jobs are typically performed by electricians. The median compensation for power line installers is around $30 per hour.

Wind Turbine Technicians

Wind energy is a growing segment of the energy industry. Every wind energy company needs employees who know how to install and maintain wind turbines, as well as troubleshoot and repair them. Most people who work in this field go through a specialized short-term program at a trade school; some complete degrees in wind energy technology. This is a skilled labor position that requires being able to work outdoors. Due to the design of wind turbines, people who do this work need to be comfortable working high off the ground and in confined spaces. The average pay for wind turbine technicians is around $27 per hour.

Solar Panel Installers

Solar energy is another growing aspect of the overall energy industry. With more and more homes and businesses turning to solar power, there is a demand for people who have the skills necessary to install solar voltaic panels. This type of work does not require a degree, though employers prefer to hire people who have either completed a training program specific to solar installation, or who have related work experience (such as power line installation) that can be built upon via on-the-job training. The average compensation for solar panel installation technicians is around $22 per hour.

Oil and Gas Production

There are many career options in the oil and gas sector of the energy industry, including positions that involve drilling or fracking to access fossil fuels or accessing and piping sources of natural gas. There are many kinds of jobs in this extensive segment of the energy industry, from various entry-level oil and gas jobs to high-level positions for geologists and other scientists. Pay varies based on position and experience, ranging from less than $25,000 per year to more than $160,000.

Is Energy a Good Career Path for You?

If you're looking for a career in a field where consumer demand will always be high, energy is definitely a good path to consider. There are many options, including some in oil and gas production and others in renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. While the types of energy used are likely to evolve as time goes by, there will always be a need for power and fuel. The top-paying energy jobs are usually the ones that require extensive education and high-level expertise, but wages are strong across all types of energy jobs.

Was this page useful?
Related & Popular
Is Energy a Good Career Path? Find Out If It's Right for You