5 growing careers in green job market

Sept. 11, 2017

Illustration by USGBC

Green construction is projected to account for more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs and to generate $190.3 billion in labor earnings between 2015 and 2018, according to the 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study.

Architects, building engineers and contractors play significant roles in ensuring sustainability, but there are many other roles that make a difference in achieving environmental, economic and social progress. Here are some of the top green jobs that are expected to grow in the next seven years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Wind turbine service technician
Projected growth: 108 percent
Wind turbine technicians work on all aspects of the wind system, including turbines, controls and ancillary support equipment. They are expected to climb towers and platforms at least 85 feet high. They install, inspect, diagnose and repair turbines and components and review related manuals, blueprints and schematic diagrams to maintain a highly automated system.
Example job titles: wind energy mechanic, wind turbine mechanic, wind turbine technician.

2. Solar photovoltaic installer
Projected growth: 24.3 percent
Solar photovoltaic installers assemble, install or maintain solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on roofs or other structures in compliance with site assessment and schematics. Their responsibilities include assessing the environment and mitigating any hazards associated with installation, along with sealing the systems against weather. This often includes electrical work and testing.
Example job titles: solar technician, PV testing technician, solar energy technician, solar field service technician.

3. Environmental engineer
Projected growth: 12.4 percent
Environmental engineers are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health and water and air pollution control. They also address global issues, such as unsafe drinking water, climate change and environmental sustainability.
Example job titles: air pollution control engineer, environmental remediation engineer, hazardous substances engineer, pollution control engineer, soil engineer, waste management engineer, water treatment plant engineer.

4. Construction and building inspector
Projected growth: 8 percent 
Construction and building inspectors ensure that construction meets local and national building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations and contract specifications. Inspectors generally perform an initial check during the first phase of construction, follow-up inspections throughout and a final comprehensive inspection.
Example job titles: architectural inspector, bridge inspector, building code inspector, construction inspector, electrical inspector, plumbing inspector, plumbing inspector, residential building inspector.

5. Buildingcustodian
Projected growth: 5.8 percent
Custodians work to make sure that buildings are neat, clean and safe. They also may oversee building security, window cleaning and minor building maintenance and repairs. Custodians implement a building’s green cleaning program, ensuring that safe and environmentally friendly cleaning products and procedures are used and that waste is disposed of properly.
Example job titles: cleaning and maintenance worker, custodial worker, floor cleaner, janitor, office cleaner, school custodian, window washer.

Learning at Greenbuild

To learn more about careers and sectors in the green building industry and for great networking opportunities, Greenbuild 2017 in Boston, India and China will offer training sessions focused on many of these areas. Boston’s event, for instance, will offer the career-related events below:

Course: Internships: Creating a Talent Pipeline for Green Industries
Thurs., Nov. 9, 1–2 p.m.
This session will cover the topic of internships from the perspectives of interns, employers and a unique state-led initiative to support the clean energy industry through on-the-job training. Learn how to structure a successful internship program, discover the job prospects in sustainability and discuss lessons learned from both attendees and presenters.

Course: Staying Nimble in Your Sustainability Career
Thurs., Nov. 9, 5–6 p.m.

Learn how to adapt to an ever-changing landscape in green building and a steady flow of new technologies, rating systems and opportunities. Top leaders in the industry share how they grow their technical expertise, build relationships and catalyze market transformation.

Topics: Architectural Firms, Associations / Organizations, Building Owners and Managers, Construction Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Energy Saving Products, Energy Storage - Solar Energy Storage, Engineering Firms, Great Commercial Buildings, Solar Energy & Solar Power, Sustainable Communities, Technology, Urban Planning and Design, USGBC, Wind Power

Companies: U.S. Green Building Council

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