What are the best paying jobs in energy? Keep in mind that the energy industry offers some of the highest paying positions, with a median hourly wage of $25.60. The industry offers various energy careers in diverse segments, such as power generation, transmission, renewable energy, storage, and distribution.
- Best paying jobs in energy sector include software engineers, petroleum engineers, information systems managers, geoscientists, project developers, energy technicians, and data analysts.
- The best paying jobs in energy sector are information systems managers, with a median salary of $158,010 per year.
- According to the United States Energy and Employment Report (USEER), the total number of jobs will is more than 7.8 million as of 2021.
- Demand for tech jobs in the energy field is expected to grow, majorly driven by renewable energy sector projects.
With the technological innovations in the energy industry and the gradual move to adopt net zero energy sources, this field is experiencing its biggest demand for tech jobs. These new jobs are in the production end, where solar, wind energy and hydropower account for the largest share of new jobs.
What is the Energy Field?
The energy field comprises various industries involved in the production, transmission, storage, and distribution of energy. This field is spread across multiple sectors such as oil and gas and electricity generation from nuclear, coal, hydropower, biofuels, wind, solar, and motor vehicles industries.
The energy segment recorded a 4% growth in employment rate between 2020 and 2021, which is significantly higher than the overall workforce growth in the entire United States economy.at 2.8%. Approximately 40% of energy jobs are in the renewable energy sector and net-zero emissions sectors, which heavily rely on technology which creates a large demand for tech jobs.
Best Paying Jobs in Energy Field
Computer and Information Systems Managers
Median pay: $159,010
Degree requirement: Bachelor’s in computer or software engineering
Computer and information systems managers are in high demand in the energy field, and this is one of the best paying jobs in energy, with a median salary of $151,000. IT managers are in charge of planning, coordinating, and directing all computer-related activities in the firm.
In energy companies, IT managers determine the IT goals and implement them to meet the firm’s needs. This position requires years of experience in information systems administration, although most companies do offer entry-level jobs in computer and information systems management. These technicians are in charge of the installation and maintenance of computer hardware, software, and data security.
As energy companies adopt digital processes and move operations to the cloud, this has created the demand for cybersecurity and digital information security technicians. It’s the IT manager’s job to coordinate the firm’s digital security hence the need to have a background in programming, software, and computer engineering.
Median pay: $122,270
Degree requirement: Bachelor in aerospace engineering
In the energy industry, aerospace engineering is required when designing and installing wind energy plants. Aerospace engineers are some of the best-paying jobs in energy sector owing to the complexity of the tasks involved and the low supply of skilled engineers.
The renewable energy segment needs aerospace engineers to analyze and design wind farms. They are also heavily involved in the development work as well as research and manufacturing of wind turbines, especially the aerodynamic rotor blades. In order for a solar energy system to perform optimally, the aerospace engineer has to coordinate efforts with the power plant operator and the solar energy technician on the ground.
The entry-level requirement for this position is a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering. Some of the tasks one can expect while working for an energy company as an aerospace engineer include designing and testing prototypes, monitoring the functionality of existing wind turbines to ensure safe and optimal operations, and maintaining quality standards in deploying new turbines and disposal of damaged products.
Median pay: $121,760
Degree requirement: Bachelor in nuclear engineering
Nuclear engineers are responsible for researching and creating various processes involving nuclear radiation. In the energy field, nuclear engineers are responsible for maintaining nuclear power plants to ensure that they run in optimal conditions to maintain high standards of safety.
Nuclear engineers are also responsible for researching and experimenting with various radioactive materials to discover new and safer ways to produce nuclear energy. They are responsible for maintaining reactor cores, handling nuclear fuel, handling and disposing of nuclear waste, and ensuring that the entire process goes on without a hitch owing to the risks involved.
Part of the job requirement to become a nuclear power plant operator is that you must have a bachelors in nuclear engineering and attend a two-year program with certification from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The job also requires on the job training as per the federal government requirements and staying updated with current nuclear laws.
While legacy nuclear power plants are now declining, there’s an increased prospect that the demand for nuclear engineering is about to pick up owing to the uncertain nature of renewable energy sources. New technologies such as thorium-based reactors and molten salt reactors are getting adopted, and it is expected that they will become commercially deployed within this decade, creating more jobs for nuclear engineers.
Median pay: $94,570
Degree requirement: Bachelor in atmospheric sciences
Atmospheric scientists deal with a wide range of topics ranging from weather forecasting, air quality, weather, and climate to global warming. In the energy sector, atmospheric scientists are responsible for forecasting and creating instruments that predict weather patterns and risks that they might deal with energy production and transmission.
Atmospheric scientists mainly work as solar energy technicians and wind power operators, where they predict future weather changes that are bound to affect energy production. In some cases, wind turbines need to be shut down to avoid catastrophic damage during storms caused by unnecessary strain on the rotor. It’s the atmospheric scientists’ job to predict whether specific storms require cut-out speeds to be instituted during severe storms.
Median pay: $101,780
Degree requirement: bachelor’s in electrical engineering
In the energy field, electrical engineers work on designing, developing, and supervising the installation of electrical equipment. The entire industry relies heavily on electrical engineers to research and develop new energy sources and storage solutions. Their skills are also essential in manufacturing electrical tools and equipment used in the energy field.
Electrical engineers are critical in transforming the energy sector, and they are instrumental in the innovations required to set up smart grids and renewable energy management. Electrical engineers are also responsible for directing the installation and servicing of electronic systems and stress testing the entire system to find points of failure and address them.
Median pay: $108,210
Degree requirement: bachelor’s in construction management
As the energy field continues to expand, there’s more demand for long-term structures that are not only safe but also secure. It’s a construction manager’s role to oversee the planning, budgeting, and supervision work in any construction project. Construction managers with proper training and experience are in high demand as energy companies roll out renewable energy sources and storage sites.
Construction works to upgrade existing buildings in legacy power plants also require strict supervision to reduce downtime without sacrificing quality control. The construction managers involved in such projects have to coordinate with civil engineers, prepare cost estimates and construction timelines and calculate the expected budgets. The job also requires the construction manager to give regular feedback to investors and owners on the progress while also ensuring that the entire construction site and its team are complying with legal and safety guides.,
Battery tech engineers
Median pay: $114,000
Degree Requirement: Master of science in engineering
Wind and solar might be renewable energy sources but their availability changes depending on the time of day and weather conditions. As such, the power produced from these sources either needs to be used as it is being generated or stored in battery packs. That’s where battery tech engineers come in. It’s their job to design, test, and roll out various battery storage solutions ranging from alkaline to lithium-ion batteries.
Battery tech engineers working in the energy sector play an essential role in supporting renewable energy sources by researching innovative energy materials needed in electrochemical cell fabrication. They also work with cell manufacturers to ensure that storage solution products meet the expected standards for various renewable energy sources.
Battery tech engineers are in high demand as the EV industry is also hunting for their skills, making this a great career path. To become a battery engineer, you need a degree in engineering, physics, chemistry, or a related field. Some experience in laboratories working on electrochemical cells will also come in handy. This is one of those energy careers that also needs you to have a good understanding of data analytics, as you will be dealing with huge amounts of data from tests that need to be analyzed to draw actionable insights.
Machine learning scientists
Median pay: $110,000
Degree Requirement: masters in computer science
Machine learning scientists use deep learning models to analyze big data and find correlations that would otherwise be impossible for researchers to discover. It’s the work of a machine learning scientist to help in the decision-making processes by providing useful insights gained from ML models.
The main reason why the energy field requires machine learning experts is that the entire industry is faced with the demand-to-supply ratio optimization problem. Even with the large amounts of data collected in terms of actual energy needs and production rates, it’s still hard to predict when the grid will experience maximum electricity load and when to balance the supply from other sources to avoid overloading a particular source beyond its capabilities.
Deep learning models have shown an uncanny ability to solve optimization problems by providing accurate predictions. Energy companies can then deploy the predictive models to optimize the production rate and balance off the demand with high speed saving the grid from overloading. Machine learning scientists are especially in high demand in the renewable energy companies where ML models can predict future production rates,
Median pay: $83,680
Degree Requirement: Masters in geophysics
Scientists working in the energy sector discover and take part in the development of exploitable natural resource reserves such as oil, gas, and geothermal. The job involves studying the structure of the earth to collect data on geochemical information. By employing software analysis, they can determine the economic feasibility of various natural resources that hold potential benefits to energy companies.
The oil and gas industry employs the largest percentage of geosciences in the energy sector, but the geothermal renewable energy segment is on the rise, creating more demand for geoscientists. In this segment, they collaborate with civil engineers, drilling engineers and petroleum engineers to discover optimal drilling locations depending on the models developed and perform geological risk analysis.
Working as a geoscientist requires a master’s degree in geophysics or geoscience. The salary does vary depending on which segment of the energy field you are working on, experience, location, and qualifications making this one of the best paying jobs in energy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are energy sector Jobs?
Energy jobs are essentially any career that involves engineering, installation, production, construction, and repair of energy-related installations. These energy careers range from architects to chemical equipment operators, civil engineers, solar project developers, and construction workers. Electronic and electrical engineering technicians represent some of the most sought-after skills in the energy field and the best paying energy jobs.
Tech talent is also in high demand in the energy field as more computerized processes get adopted and the need to transition to smart technology in the production and distribution of energy. These include but are not limited to data sorting and cleaning, computer science, programming, cloud security, and neural networks.
What is the average pay in renewable energy jobs?
Salaries in the energy field are highly competitive due to the high demand for specialized skills, and the average energy jobs pay $25.60 per hour. This represents a 34% increase compared to the nation’s median wage of $19.14 per hour. As the energy sector shifts away from coal and other nonrenewable sources to renewable energy, the pay rate is expected to continue growing owing to the huge demand for tech-trained workers.
Is the renewable energy field a good career path?
The energy field is a great career path with diverse opportunities and the added benefit of working in a growing industry. Most energy companies are constantly innovating and supporting a competitive workforce. These companies also offer on the job training and invest in their worker’s technical skills, which will boost your CV down the line if you ever need to switch to the highest paying jobs.
Energy companies are regulated by the federal energy regulatory commission and the department of labor to enforce numerous laws and mandates. These cover most workplace activities, stipulates wages and work hours, safety and health, and employee benefits security. As a result, you can expect great salaries and incentives as well as health and life insurance benefits while working in best paying jobs in energy.
What is the outlook on energy jobs?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the United States will experience up to 60% increase in renewable energy consultants positions over the next decade. The energy field added more than 300,000 jobs in 2021, representing a 4% increase bringing the total energy careers to over 7.8 million. BLS estimates that the solar photovoltaic segment will see up to 50% increase in paying jobs, while service unit operator jobs in oil and gas industry will go up by 22%.
It’s expected that smart grids and battery storage systems will also create more demand for renewable energy jobs. The 26% growth in electric vehicle jobs is expected to continue as more residents switch from internal combustion engine cars to fully electric vehicles. This increase will also drive up the demand for best paying jobs in energy and EV chargers technician jobs.
The traditional air conditioning, heating, and ventilation segment are also seeing an increase owing to the ever-changing weather conditions across the country. The energy efficiency segment added over 58000 jobs in 2021, according to the DOE report.
It’s important to note that not all segments of the energy field are experiencing this growth; some traditional energy sources are in decline . The coal, gas, and petroleum segment lost more than 29,000 jobs as the whole industry switched to renewable energy sources. this has led to a drop in petroleum engineers jobs in energy industry.
What is the job satisfaction rate in the energy field?
Glassdoor found that renewable energy jobs provide a higher rate of satisfaction compared to other sectors, with employees giving their jobs a 4.1 out of 5 starters rating. According to a report by PayScale, energy workers reported a 3.9 out of 5 satisfaction rating with their jobs. This is on the higher end compared to other careers in the States.
Whether you are planning ahead on your future career path or you have already graduated and want to venture into the energy field, one thing is clear; these are some of the highest paying jobs. Not only is it a key segment of the economy, but it’s also one of the rapidly expanding sectors in the United States with a huge demand for skilled and tech-savvy labor.
As the country gradually adopts renewable energy, companies are rushing to fill up best paying jobs in energy field to meet the unprecedented demand. Energy jobs pay off better than other sectors, and the demand is projected to grow throughout the decade. Keep in mind that beyond a standard degree, having some tech skills in data analysis or coding will come in handy as you apply for a job in the energy field.