Last Updated: March 10, 2023
It can be tough to decide what career path to take—as there are so many options available, it can be difficult to determine which one is the right fit for you. If you’re interested in working in the energy industry, this blog post is for you!
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of working in the energy sector and provide you with some tips on how to get started. So, if you’re curious to know is energy a good career path for you, read on!
What Is the Energy Industry?
The energy industry is the sector of the economy that’s concerned with the production and distribution of electricity, gas, oil, and other forms of energy. The energy industry is a vital part of any economy, and plays a significant role in the development and growth of a country.
There are two main types of energy: renewable and non-renewable. Renewable energy sources include solar, wind, and hydro power, while non-renewable energy sources include fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas.
So, why is the energy industry important? Since the energy industry provides the world with the electricity that powers homes and businesses, the oil that powers vehicles, and the natural gas that powers industry, the world would be a very different place without it. The energy industry is also important because it provides energy industry jobs for millions of people around the world—over 7 million people are employed in the energy sector in the US alone. That’s a lot of people!
Types of Energy Sector Companies
There are many different types of energy companies out there. Here are a few examples:
Oil and Gas Drilling and Production
These companies are responsible for extracting oil and gas from the ground, typically having large operations with many employees. The typical work day in these kinds of companies can be long and demanding, but energy careers like this are well-paid.
Pipeline and Refining
After the oil and natural gas are extracted, they need to be transported to refineries to be processed into usable products. This is done by pipeline and refining companies, which are usually called “midstream” companies.
Mining companies are responsible for extracting coal, uranium, and other minerals from the ground. These companies use heavy machinery and typically have large operations. There are a lot of job positions in these companies, from miners to engineers.
Renewable energy includes solar, wind, and hydro power. These companies are usually smaller than other types of energy companies, but they’re growing rapidly. The job market in renewable energy is expected to grow significantly in the next few years, so it’s really good to pursue a career in renewable energy.
The chemical industry is closely related to the energy industry. Many of the products produced by chemical companies are used in the energy sector, such as plastics and fertilizers.
DID YOU KNOW: According to the latest statistics for electricity prices by state, the state with the highest electricity price is Hawaii, with a median cost of 34.3 cents per kWh.
Types of Jobs in the Energy Industry
There are a great number of job positions in the energy industry. Here are some examples:
A welder is a skilled tradesperson who joins together metal parts using heat and pressure. Welders typically work in the construction or manufacturing industries.
Transmission System Operator
Working in power plants and other facilities, a transmission system operator is responsible for operating and maintaining the electrical grid.
An electrician installs and repairs electrical systems. The main task for an electrician working in the energy sector is to install and maintain electrical equipment in factories and other industrial buildings.
Water Treatment Specialist
A water treatment expert is in charge of running and maintaining water treatment equipment. In these kinds of careers in energy, you’ll work with a team to make sure the water is safe to drink and meets all environmental regulations.
Nuclear Power Reactor Operator
The job of a nuclear power plant operator is to run the nuclear reactors that produce electricity. Working in power plants and other facilities, nuclear power reactor operators monitor the reactor, control the flow of water and steam, and make sure the nuclear power plant is operating safely.
An industrial engineer is in charge of developing and improving systems inside factories as well as other industrial areas. Industrial engineers are frequently employed in the manufacturing or building sectors. Some of their job tasks include analyzing production processes, developing new methods of production, and redesigning factory layouts.
Solar Panel Installer
Having a career in solar energy might be a great option if you’re looking to have a positive impact on the environment. Typically working for solar energy or construction companies, solar panel installers are responsible for installing solar panels on rooftops and other structures. Some of their other duties can include measuring and cutting panels, connecting panels to the electrical grid, and installing inverters.
A chemist is a scientist who studies the composition, structure, and properties of substances. Chemists work in many different fields, such as the energy industry, where they develop new fuels and lubricants. A chemist working in the energy industry will typically have the following tasks: conducting research, developing new products, and testing products.
A petroleum engineer is in charge of extracting oil and gas from the ground. For the most part, petroleum engineers work for oil and gas companies. Some of their job tasks include designing drilling rigs, supervising the drilling process, and evaluating new drilling technologies. Petroleum engineers have the best paid jobs in the energy industry.
Power Plant Operator
A power plant operator is in command of the electricity-generating technology. They monitor equipment to make sure it functions properly, and if there’s a problem, they must take corrective action. Operators also maintain power quality and grid stability, including making sure the voltage and frequency of the electricity produced meets standards. They also respond to changes in demand from the grid.
DID YOU KNOW: Individuals and companies can get a green loan to finance environmentally friendly products or services. Green loans are becoming more popular, as people and businesses alike become more conscious of the need to protect our environment.
What Do Energy Jobs Pay?
The average annual salary for an energy job in the US is $71,079. The highest paying position in the energy industry is paid $141,000 on average per year, while the lowest paying position has an average salary of $30,000 per year. Of course, salaries vary depending on your experience, location, and level of education.
Jobs in the oil and gas industry tend to pay more than jobs in the renewable energy industry, and jobs in cities tend to pay more than jobs in rural areas. And as we all know by now, jobs that require more experience or higher level of education tend to pay more than entry-level jobs.
Best Paying Jobs in Energy
Although the energy industry salary is higher than the other sectors by default, some job positions tend to have a higher salary than others. The top seven highest paying energy jobs are:
The national average salary in the US for a chemist job position is $60,795 per year. For an entry level position with less than a year of experience, a chemist can make up to $53,546 annually. On the other hand, a chemist with more than 10 years of experience in the field has an average annual salary of $85,492.
Falling under the category of engineering, the main duties of a civil engineer are to design, construct, and oversee infrastructure projects. The national average salary for a civil engineer job position in the US is $81,660 per year. If you have more than 6 years experience in that position, you can have an annual salary of $111,241. In this energy sector, entry level jobs offer a salary of $64,790.
3.Power Plant Operator
The main duty of a power plant operator is to control the machinery that generates electricity. The average salary for this job position in the US is $88,326 per year. This position requires a high school diploma or equivalent and on-the-job training. Power plant operators typically work in shifts that include evenings and weekends, which can be long and sometimes stressful, which is often the case in many careers in the energy sector.
4. Petroleum Engineer
A petroleum engineer is in charge of developing ways to extract oil and gas from the ground and developing plans to improve the efficiency of these operations. The average annual salary for a petroleum engineer job in the United States is $82,799. If you’re fresh out of college, you’ll get an average salary of $77,546, while an experienced petroleum engineer can have an annual salary of $135,190.
An environmental engineer job is perfect for those who want to help protect the environment, and they usually work in the renewable energy field. The main duties of an environmental engineer are to find ways to reduce pollution and waste, as well as develop plans to clean up polluted areas. For this career in renewable energy, the average salary is $82,835 per year.
The national average salary for an industrial engineer job in the United States is $78,484 per year. The city with the highest salary for this position is Chicago, IL, with an annual salary of $85,149. An industrial engineer is in charge of developing and improving systems inside factories as well as other industrial areas.
7.Renewable Energy Development Engineer
A renewable mechanical engineer is responsible for developing and managing the construction of renewable energy projects. The average salary for this job in the US is $86,787 per year, while experienced engineers with a career in renewable energy of more than 10 years are paid above $100,000 per year.
As we can see, most of the highest paying energy jobs are in engineering, which isn’t surprising, as most high-paying jobs in general are in engineering. The only exception on this list is chemist, which is a science-related job.
What Degree Do You Need for an Energy Job?
For most jobs on this list, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering. However, for some positions, employees may ask for a master’s degree or even a PhD.
When talking about skills needed for most of the energy industry jobs, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are a must, as well as being able to work in a team. Communication skills are also important, as most of these jobs will require you to report your findings to your superiors. In addition, some of the technical skills required include knowledge in HVAC, STEM Knowledge, mechanical skills, math skills, and computer-aided design (CAD) skills.
DID YOU KNOW: Apart from having the needed skillset, getting any type of job—including a job in the energy sector—requires you to have a great written resume. If you’re not able to do it by yourself, there are many online resume writing services that can give you a little push.
- Among the best paying jobs in the energy sector are: power plant operator, petroleum engineer, environmental engineer, renewable energy development engineer, civil engineer, and chemist.
- Jobs in energy technology are among the fastest-growing in the US—the solar industry alone added 142,698 jobs in the past two years.
- To get a job in the industry sector you need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
- The pros of working in the energy field include working in a constantly growing industry with personal development opportunities, good salary, and abundant and stable job opportunities even in economic crises.
- The cons of working in the energy field are: many positions require specialized skills and training, some jobs can be both mentally and physically demanding, the hours are often long, and it’s a male-dominated industry.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Working in the Energy Industry?
The energy industry is an essential part of the economy offering a variety of career opportunities, whether it’s a career in solar energy, oil and gas, or power plant companies. However, there are also some drawbacks to working in this field. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of pursuing a career in the energy industry.
- Good pay: Energy jobs tend to be well-paid. For example, the median salary for an engineer is $86,000 per year.
- Job security: The energy industry is growing, and there’s a demand for qualified workers. This means there are plenty of job opportunities available in this field, and there will be even more jobs for the future.
- You can make a difference: By working in the energy industry, you can help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.
- You get to travel: Many energy jobs involve travel, which can be a great opportunity to see the world. For example, if you’re pursuing a career in green energy technology, you can travel to less developed countries where new environmental projects are implemented.
- You’re not always stuck in the office: Many energy jobs involve working outdoors, which can be a great way to get some fresh air and exercise, which can be especially appealing to free-spirited people who don’t want to be stuck in the office.
- Never-ending learning opportunities: The energy industry is constantly changing, which means there are always new things to learn. This can be a great opportunity for those who love to learn and stay up-to-date on the latest technologies.
- Potential danger: Working in the energy industry can be dangerous, as there are many potential hazards. There have been several accidents in recent years, and workers are at risk of injury or death, which is why many workers in the field have hazard insurance.
- Male-dominated industry: The energy industry is predominantly male, making it difficult for women who want to advance their energy careers and get promoted.
- “Dirty” industry: The energy industry is responsible for a lot of pollution, so if you care about the environment, it may not be the right career path for you.
- Requires a lot of education and skills: As most energy jobs require a college degree, specialized skills, and long on-site training, be prepared to invest a lot of time and effort into your education and training.
- Long hours and high work related stress: Many energy jobs are high-stress and require long hours, which can be difficult for people with families or other commitments.
As you can see, there are both pros and cons to working in the energy industry. Before making a decision, it’s important to carefully weigh factors like what do energy jobs pay, what’s it like working in the sector, what degree do you need, etc.
Is Energy a Good Career Path: Conclusion
So, is it worth the hustle? As the industry is growing, there are many opportunities for advancement. Energy is also a critical sector of the economy, and jobs in this field can be very stable even during economic downturns. Plus, you can make some sweet money! However, there are some drawbacks to working in energy that you should keep in mind when looking for jobs in energy technology: many energy jobs require specialized skills and training, some positions in the energy industry can be very demanding both mentally and physically, the hours are long, and it’s a male-dominated industry. So, do you have what it takes to work in the energy industry?
The energy industry is growing, and there’s a demand for qualified workers. In 2020, there were more than 7.5 millions employees in the energy sector in the US. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the energy sector is expected to grow by 14% by 2029, adding about one million new energy sector jobs.
There are many reasons to pursue a career in the energy industry. As the industry is growing, there are many opportunities for advancement, energy is an important sector of the economy, and employment in this area is often steady even during economic crises. Also, jobs in the energy sector pay well. So, is energy a good career path? If you’re down for long hours, terrain work, a fast growing environment, and a good salary check, you’re on the right path.
There are many careers in the field of energy, such as: solar photovoltaic installer, wind turbine technician, nuclear engineer, power plant operator, chemist, renewable energy project manager, industrial engineer, and many others. There are also entry-level jobs in the industry that aren’t related to the energy field, such as: data entry, customer service, and administrative support.