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Green and Growing: Environmental Jobs

Green and Growing: Environmental Jobs

By Connie Blaszczyk | Monster Staff Writer

What’s the good news for green job seekers? Environmental career opportunities are thriving in numerous sectors and around the globe. Why is the environment driving so many jobs? In a word: Mainstreaming.

Once thought of as more “crunchy granola” than “big business,” green products and services are becoming a significant part of the mainstream economy in agriculture, transportation, energy, consumer goods – you name it. Even traditional business careers like sales and marketing take on a green hue when the product is wind energy or organic food.

Are you looking to get in on some of the environmental action? If so, you’ll want to check out the five growth areas below, as recommended by Kevin Doyle, coauthor of The ECO Guide to Careers that Make a Difference and national director of program development at the Environmental Careers Organization, a nonprofit started in 1972 that features a wide variety of environmental internships and fellowships. “These opportunities are just the tip of a massive iceberg of jobs,” says Doyle. “And unlike our real icebergs, this one isn’t threatened by global warming. It’s fed by it.

Wind Power

This industry has been around since the ’70s, but it’s just now hitting the market in a bigger way, given the rise of energy costs. A 2007 report from Clean Edge finds wind power revenues expected to rise from $17.9 billion in 2006 to $60.8 billion in 2016.

Wind power jobs are not your father’s environmental career. From wind resource assessor (the person who finds windy locations) to wind turbine installation and maintenance personnel (those who keep the propellers turning), these jobs were way under the radar screen until recently.

And then there is the science behind the technology, including atmospheric physics, climatology and meteorology. A background in these disciplines is useful, particularly if you have a master’s degree in meteorology, because it could lead to jobs in wind power meteorology (scientists who map out atmospheric models) and wind power forecasting (another term for wind resource assessor).

If you have a degree in engineering, grid integration positions (people who connect wind energy to the overall energy grid) are an option. Training in mechanical or electrical engineering will allow you to parlay your skills into wind power with minimal additional education or simply through on-the-job training. Or, you can find a certificate program at a growing number of local colleges.

For more information on wind power opportunities, check out the American Wind Energy Association.

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