What are the hottest green collar jobs right now? This industry is moving at such a hectic pace you can’t always predict exactly what technology or system will reach critical mass first – especially if it depends on your climate and geography. So the best choice may be the one that lets you start from the broadest point, and gradually specialize as technology – as well as your experience and needs – change. That choice seems to be Environmental Engineering.
Will wind turbines end up being a more feasible solution in your area, or will it be solar panels? Will LEED continue to be the leading environmental building certification, or will some other organization rise to overtake them, leaving all of the “LEED Certification Specialists” out of a job? Will a new type of battery system be invented in three years that makes large, complicated battery banks a thing of the past? Will metal roof manufacturers be manufacturing their products lined with photovoltaics? Will a “green mechanic” of tomorrow be working with electric cars, hybrid cars, or vehicles that run on natural gas, or… ?
With most Environmental Engineering programs – from internships like the ones at Dancing Rabbit eco-village, to a four-year degree from Stanford – the courses involve a variety of theories, skills and technologies. From architecture and construction, to mechanics and hydrology; from thermal biomass collection in strawbale homes, to the design of a residential PV system; From drafting and technical drawings of complex, industrial wind turbines, to the history of adobe bricks… A solid background in environmental engineering will prepare you for a variety of so-called “green collar” jobs, even if they don’t exist yet.
A word of advice: Before you decide to invest in a two-year or four-year education in environmental studies, do an internship for a few months to a year. The experience is only going to help solidify your goals, lower your cost of education (by keeping you from taking classes you don’t need if they aren’t required), and improve your chances of getting into the best schools.
Already know what you want to do and just need to land the job? Here are 15 Resources for Finding Green Collar Jobs. Don’t forget volunteer opportunities either. I once did a straw-bale build with Red Feather Development Group in Arizona and learned a lot while having a heap of fun.
Solar and Wind power images from of LivingOffGrid.org.
Everett S. writes for the Go Frugal Blog on FreeShipping.org, where you can find articles about topics as varied as worm composting, coupon clipping, electronics recycling, and energy efficiency.
This post has been distributed on behalf of Miguel Salcido, the consultant for sites that sell energy star house plans and home plans.