Since the 2008 Presidential Election, the popularity of the term “green careers” has gained greater public attention. As unemployment rates increase, many job seekers are left wondering: What are the in-demand green careers that provide a lucrative income, opportunity for promotions, and have a low lay-off rate?
Investing in green careers could be the answer to both your economical and ecological woes. Green jobs provide the promise of industry growth and green salaries pay enough to support a family. It is continually stressed that the many green job opportunities lead to the path of economic stability and can help lift families out of poverty.
The structure of our entire society needs to be altered in order to facilitate this change. New equipment needs to be developed, buildings restructured, energy sources and storage revisited and waste management controlled. This is a nation-wide movement that will involve many existing sectors of business, in addition to creating new ones.
State and federal governments are investing money into the green movement because they see that it is a viable way to close the ever growing class gap. In the Current and Potential Green Jobs in the US Economy report produced at the 2008 mayor’s conference, it is estimated there will be a generation of 4.2 million new green jobs, which would provide up to 10% of new job growth in the next 30 years. If you are looking for a career to invest in your future, this is it.
There are green jobs available for those who attend a career college, community college, 4-year college or university, online school. If you’re interested in learning more about the green sciences, but do not want to pursue a degree, there are short-term courses and training programs available through most community colleges and training centers. Applicants with less traditional job experience are strongly encouraged to consider their options in a green career.
Green Career Trainings
Unskilled workers who want to get started in their green career immediately may choose to go through a career training process to get a certificate or license. These training programs last less than two years and you will graduate with the necessary skills to easily enter into your new job. Jobs that require a certificate usually involve installation, manufacturing or mechanics, such as electronics repairers, heating and air conditioning mechanics and installers, welders and solderers.
Green Associate Degrees
There are many 2-year degree programs available for the green career track. Those with a less traditional education are encouraged to consider obtaining their associates degree to gain employment in one of these many exciting careers:
- Agricultural technicians work with American farmers to raise plant and animal production without the use of harmful pesticides, while increasing the resistance of animals and plants to environmental predators such as disease and insects. For this green career, it is recommended that you get your associates degree in agriculture.
- Environmental engineering technicians must have the ability to develop, analyze and test machinery to decrease their ecological impact. A background in science is helpful, as is an associates degree in mechanical engineering.
- Fish and game wardens parole designated areas to ensure all are adhering to fish and game laws. They also investigate damage to property and crops by animals. For a jumpstart in this career path, consider an associates degree in wildlife science management, or in environmental science.
- Chemical technicians work to make sure environmental standards are upheld within the manufacturing of chemicals for our food. Applicants must have stellar research and reasoning skills, a food science degree, and of course a desire to make our food as safe as possible.
Green Bachelors Degrees
A bachelors degree can help you obtain mid-level jobs in the green sector. It is recommended that no matter what your education level, you have some hands-on job experience before you graduate. A few green careers to consider:
- Energy auditors visually check HVAC equipment, lighting fixtures, ducts, windows and weather-stripping in homes and commercial businesses to collect data to use for future structural improvements and renovations. Growth in this field is increasing faster than average, and a bachelors degree in business administration (BA), business management or marketing are preferred.
- Urban planners design short and long term plans for development and growth of the land and physical structures of cities and county areas to maximize the quality of life for the community and its residents. Innovative and creative minds are encouraged to apply, and a bachelors degree in urban planning is recommended.
- Conservationists work with landowners and governments to protect natural resources. A bachelors degree in ecology, or other related science, is required to enter into this position.
Green Masters Degrees
Getting your masters degree in any of the applied sciences will help you advance in your field, earn more money, and enter into a new career. Those who push through and earn their masters degree will reap the benefits of their hard work by having an entire group of new jobs to apply for. Be prepared to take on a leadership role because you will be the one to design and implement new plans, policies and procedures. Your heart has to really be in it for these careers, and you must be an incredibly ecologically minded individual.
- Solar energy engineers analyze and evaluate energy efficiency and solar panels in residential and commercial areas through use of computer modeling programs. Relevant work experience and a masters degree in engineering are required.
- Hydrologists study the movement of underground and surface water sources through collecting, analyzing and evaluating data. Earn your masters degree in geology to pursue this field.
- Environmental economists research and make plans to help solve any economic problems that occur in the production and distribution of goods. For this position, a masters degree in economics is encouraged.
Tips & Tactics
- Work study programs, apprenticeships, and internships are strongly encouraged within your last two years of college to increase your potential for gaining employment immediately upon graduation.
- Lately, many schools are receiving private funding to implement or continue environmentally conscious programs, courses and degrees.
- Can’t find a green career that sparks your interest? Get educated and create your own! Job creation is one of the most important tools for rebuilding our economy.