Career Choice: Energy Engineers

Career Choice: Energy Engineers
  • Type: Career Type
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    More than 1.6 million engineers are employed in the United States, a position that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says offers among the highest levels of pay for workers who possess a bachelor’s degree.

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Energy jobs for engineers.

The BLS lists 17 different sub-categories for engineers, people who work energy related projects such as green technology. [1] If you’re in college and your major is engineering, then know that the average salary for an energy engineer is $89,560 as of May 2009 according to O*NET OnLine. [2]

Duties

Energy engineers work on a variety of projects designed to conserve energy including heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems; lighting systems; air quality; building design and construction; and remodeling. Such engineers are tasked with the responsibility of identifying ways to save energy; conduct energy audits; perform energy modeling; conduct job site observations; inspect or monitor energy systems; evaluate construction design and work with other engineers to tackle projects from conception to completion.

Education

Most energy engineers hold at least a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. Some 69 percent have a bachelor’s degree, 12 percent have a master’s degree and 8 percent have at least some college according to O*NET. Most engineers have a degree in engineering, requiring the completion of courses in science, mathematics, lab work, besides taking unrelated courses such as humanities and social sciences. Membership in the Association of Energy Engineers can raise your visibility, enabling you to connect with more than 14,000 professionals in over 83 countries. Such engineers are skilled in alternative energy, renewable energy, power generation, energy services and sustainability. [3]

Salary

The BLS lists the starting salary for engineers as around $50,000, depending on the job classification. Your beginning salary may be higher based on your employer, your skills and education and other factors such as job location. Engineers can command high salaries, earning well over $100,000 at some point in their careers. For example, electrical engineers in the top 10 percentile average $125,810 per year. Some engineers earn in excess of $80 per hour or $166,400 per year.

Opportunities

As of 2008, O*NET Online lists 183,000 people employed as energy engineers. Projected growth from 2008 to 2018 is expected to range from 7 to 13 percent, which is about the average for all jobs. Your opportunities may be good particularly if you’re analytical, inquisitive, creative and detail oriented. The push to “green technology” can also increase demand for your services.

References

[1] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition; Engineers; May 2010

[2] O*Net OnLine: Energy Engineers; May 2009

[3] The Association of Energy Engineers: Home

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