Landing a Job in Renewable Energy: Degree Programs

Reader Contribution by Staff

Interested in a job in the renewable energy field as an installer, engineer, or even as a salesperson or marketing director? Now is the time to get moving.

In previous blogs, I’ve discussed some advice on obtaining training and also ways to secure a job once you’ve completed your training.

Many people who take my classes at The Evergreen Institute inquire about certificates and degrees. They ask “Is it worth the time and effort to obtain a degree or a certificate?” More specifically, “Will a certificate or degree increase my employment prospects?”

My answer is yes. Both will serve you well when it comes time to find a job. In this piece, I’ll start with the degree route.

A quick search of the Internet reveals numerous technical and community colleges that offer degrees in renewable energy. Here are a few examples, just to give you a sense of what’s out there.

Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wis., for instance, offers an associate’s degree in wind energy technology. This program is designed for those who want to become technicians that service large commercial wind turbines.

The Metropolitan Community College of Kansas City is gearing up to offer numerous classes in solar electricity and wind energy. Several of their instructors have taken courses at our center.

The San Juan College in New Mexico has a renewable energy program as well. They offer a two-year degree that focuses primarily on solar electricity.

Some four-year universities offer bachelor’s degrees in renewable energy. The Oregon Institute of Technology, for instance, offers a four-year degree in renewable energy engineering.

The State University of New York at Canton offers a four-year degree in alternative energy and renewable energy.

Unfortunately, I haven’t found a single listing of all renewable energy degree programs offered in the states, so you’ll have to do some digging to find a program in your area. (This would be a great project for readers who have a little spare time and who would like to make a significant contribution to the field.)

If you have the time, sign up for a two- or four-year degree program.

A far quicker way of receiving the training is to sign up for a certificate program like the Residential Renewable Energy Certificate offered at my educational center, The Evergreen Institute. We even offer a Renewable Energy Educator Certificate.

If you want to become a solar PV, solar hot water, or wind site assessor, you can sign up for a certificate program offered by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. I’ll talk more about certificate programs in an upcoming blog.

Photo courtesy Dan Chiras/The Evergreen Institute

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