Environmental awareness is no doubt a hot topic, and one that we all have a stake in. Jobs in this field promise excellent growth over the next 10 years. Because of the explosion of interest in all things green over the last decade, unique “green-collar” jobs are starting to become part of the main stream. In January of this year, the Obama Administration awarded $2.3 billion for the Recovery Act Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for clean energy manufacturing projects across the United States. The White House press release stated that it will lead to “183 projects in 43 states…tens of thousands of high quality clean energy jobs and the domestic manufacturing of advanced clean energy technologies including solar, wind and efficiency and energy management technologies.” Regardless of your political perspective, there is no denying that the “green” industry is poised to produce a substantial number of jobs over the next decade and beyond.
THE FACTS ON GREEN JOBS
The Pew Charitable Trusts stated in a 2009 report that “clean energy economy jobs” grew by 9.1% between 1998 and 2007, compared to a growth of 3.7% for all jobs, a fact that points to the sustainability of an industry that is all about… well… sustainability.
As further support, the number of job postings including the term “green” on Indeed.com, which searches thousands of job sites, has grown 120% since 2005. And job postings with the term “environmental” have grown more than 50%. This shows a clear rise in interest in this industry.
What’s more, on CNN Money’s list of the “100 Best Jobs in America” (in terms of pay, growth and quality of life), environmental engineering ranked #5 with a projected growth of 31% over the next 10 years. This is a great example of a “green collar” job.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, our go-to source for job trends, received funding this year to collect data on green jobs, which shows the growing presence of the industry. The BLS is still compiling all of the statistics and profiling for the field, but the information on careers in wind energy is now up.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks green jobs down into two categories: positions in which workers create green goods or provide green services and positions where employees are there to make their company more environmentally friendly. Here are some great options in both categories:
- Sustainability coordinators
- Carbon brokers
- Environmental educators
- Eco tour guides
- Urban/land-use planner
- Environmental Engineer
- Interface designer
- Interior/exterior designer (LEED standards)
- Construction of solar thermal plants
- Solar panel installer
- Wind turbine fabricator
Here are some green-only job boards and resources:
The credentials for green jobs are still being developed and debated, but familiarize yourself with the various certifications and requirements that currently exist. Not all green jobs require them, but they could set you apart.
Key green credentials:
- USGBC LEED Certifications
- BPI Individual Building Certification
- NABCEP Solar Thermal Installation Certification
- RESNET Certified Energy Auditor or Rater
- AEE Energy Certifications
- Green Advantage Certified Practitioners
If green is your color, consider going green in your job search for a stable, rewarding career. Why not help the environment while making a good living?
Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan and is an executive coach trained in organizational psychology.