Want to Work in Clean Energy? Here Are Some Degree Paths to Consider

Careers in clean energy focus on using rich, natural resources – like wind, solar, water and more – to develop clean, sustainable energy. It’s also a sector that is seeing continual growth when it comes to careers. Is it a job path that interests you? There are quite a few different things you can major in and they’re not all engineering. Here are just three that you may want to opt for!

Environmental Engineering

Of course, one of the majors you can choose from for a job in clean energy is “environmental engineering.” Students in this field will learn how to use engineering, biology, chemistry, soil science, and more to solve environmental issues. Programs may also focus on nanotechnology, manufacturing, solar power, water reuse, mining logistics, pollutants, and more.

The employment demand for environmental engineers is expected to grow 5% between 2018 to 2028, with the median salary around $92,000. Many in this field have at least a Bachelor’s degree, but many also opt to go after their Master’s.

Ecology and Waste Management

Programs in “ecology and waste management” tend to go by different names depending on the school and the focus on the degree. The University of Florida, for example, calls it Environmental Management. Those studying under this degree can expect to learn about agricultural ecology, pest management, water resources, hydrology, pollution management, natural resources, soil conservation, and more.

This program can lead to several different job opportunities. You may opt to become a conservation scientist, wastewater treatment plant operator, or a hydrologist.

Urban Planning and Development

Another degree path to consider is “urban planning and development.” It is a bit different from the other options, but it’s still absolutely in the realm of “clean energy.” In this field, you’d be responsible for developing cities or towns to best use the land. You may have to develop clean energy recommendations for a city, for example, or you could be asked to implement effective clean solutions in a town within a certain budget.

Students in this field of study will learn about land use, urban design, housing, transportation, environmental planning, and more. Urban and regional planner employment is expected to rise about 10% between 2018 and 2028, and they have a median salary of just under $76,000. A majority in this field do have their Master’s, however.

There are a number of other “clean energy” degrees though to choose from! You may also want to look into:

  • Marine sciences
  • Geosciences
  • Natural resources
  • Conservation
  • Environmental science
  • Environmental technology
  • Data analysis
  • Environmental architecture
  • Environmental law
  • Computer science
  • Biology

Even if you major in business, for example, clean energy sectors are always looking for project managers, marketers, and branders. If you major in English, you may decide to become a technical writer for a clean energy firm. If none of the options above interest you, but you still want to work in clean energy, you might just have to think outside the box!

Use our career finder to explore your path.

For more information on clean energy, visit Clean Energy | Department of Energy.

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