Green careers are a hot topic today as concerns over global warming and environmental degradation continue to grow. You may have noticed that green products, appliances, buildings and other structures have swept the nation over the past several years, leading to an explosion of green jobs. In fact, the entire global community is beginning to realize that green careers are detrimental to renewing Earth’s resources and sustaining a healthy environment.
Due to the ever expanding nature of the green industry, there is not a general definition of green jobs in America. However, there are two points that most agree on:
- A green job must promote positive and innovative change in energy efficiency, renewable energy, or greenhouse gas emissions.
- Besides taking care of the environment, green careers strive to care for the person as well, meaning that it must provide an income large enough to support a family, leave room for possible job advancement, and promote a safe and healthy workplace.
In the past several years, legislation has been passed to aid in job creation in the green sector. The Green Job Act of 2007 allotted $125 million a year to the support and creation of green jobs. To give you a head start in your career, Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 maintains funding for the Green Job Act and provides training programs located in private and government sponsored training centers and community colleges.
Green Collar Jobs
The “Green collar” movement has gained popularity since the passing of the Green Job Act. Green collar and Blue collar jobs differ only in the way that they impact the environment. Green collar jobs consider the environmental impact the top priority when planning, creating, building and implementing new projects or products. Blue collar jobs may take the company’s effects on the environment into consideration, but this factor does not take precedence.
Green Degree Programs
Green career availability is not limited to any one job track. In fact, green jobs spread the economical gamut, with green careers popping up for every skill and education level. Almost all of the green jobs available require some form of career training prior to being hired.
Green degrees can be found in nearly every school. Environmentally focused degree programs have been available in schools since the 1970’s, when ecological issues became a part of popular culture consciousness. Today, online schools, career training, community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities and graduate schools all offer certificates and degrees applicable to a green career.
Who Should Apply to Green Jobs?
With today’s unsteady economic situation, the rise of green jobs continue to be detrimental in lifting ourselves and our communities out of poverty and into career paths that will allow us to thrive. Applicants who have little to no work experience, have been laid off, or are looking for a more lucrative career change are all perfect candidates for green career trainings.
Employers are looking for applicants who are job-ready. Students must be educated in math, science and technology, and employers favor those who have received hands-on training.
There are many jobs available for the less educated and those with fewer job experiences. However, the opportunity for advancement can be hindered by your level of education. Some popular degrees that can be translated to a green career are:
- Biology/Biological Sciences
- Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Environmental Engineering Technology/Environmental Technology
- Geological/Geophysical Engineering
- Manufacturing Engineering
- Nuclear Engineering
- Water Resources Engineering
- Hydrology and Water Resources Science
- Oceanography, Chemical and Physical
- Biotechnology Lab Technician
- Chemical Technology/Technician
- Other Physical Science Technologies/Technicians
In Demand Green Careers
Many types of green careers can be found within traditional career paths, including engineering, repair, technology, and architecture. Also, service oriented green jobs, such as bus driving, help consumers to live a green lifestyle.
The trend of opening overseas factories over the past 30 years has lead to a significant decrease in manufacturing jobs across the country. Factory employers see the green movement as an opportunity for growth and expansion and a way to keep our manufacturing companies in America, instead of shipping them overseas.
Green job opportunities exist in both rural and urban locations. Job placement programs and training programs are offered at many colleges and universities that prepare students for immediate placement within their field.