Want to help the environment and your career at the same time? This Earth Day, do more than recycling your disposable coffee cup and heeding your environmentally conscious co-worker’s admonition to think twice before you print out emails. Consider a career change to a green job, and give yourself a better shot at job security while saving the planet at the same time. You’d be surprised at how relatively little specialized experience or education you need to change to some (although of course not all) greener occupations.
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For example, these jobs are all growing faster than average, and while they vary widely in pay offered and training required, they show that there’s a wide variety of green jobs available for interested workers.
1. Wind Turbine Technician: Want to work outdoors, and don’t mind heights? Wind Turbine Technician might be the job for you. Workers in this occupation don’t necessarily need a lot of experience in a related industry prior to starting this job, but they do need significant on-the-job training (and usually have some college, although not necessarily a degree). To find out more about apprenticeships and training opportunities, see these resources, courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Median Annual Salary: $45,620
Typical Entry-Level Education Required: Some college
Job Outlook 2014-24: 108 percent projected growth
2. Solar Photovoltaic Installers: Solar power is booming. By the end of 2015, the U.S. had installed enough solar panels to power 5.4 million homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. It’s no surprise, then, that the demand for the workers who install those panels is increasing.
Median Annual Salary: $36,926
Typical Entry-Level Education Required: High school diploma or equivalent, although some employers might require a bachelor’s degree and certification.
Job Outlook 2014-24: 24 percent projected growth
3. Geoscientist: OK, this job isn’t one you can prepare for with an apprenticeship or a year or two of school, but if you love studying the composition of the earth and doing fieldwork, and don’t mind travel and irregular hours, it might be the perfect choice. Geoscientists play an important role in energy extraction, land management, and environmental protection. For more information on what it takes to become a Geoscientist, see the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s resource page.
Median Annual Salary: $75,129
Typical Entry-Level Education Required: Bachelor’s degree required, master’s often preferred. Some states might require licensure.
Job Outlook 2014-24: 10 percent projected growth
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