Biofuels/Biodiesel Technology and Product Development Managers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Take classes in math, biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, history, and English. Biofuels/biodiesel technology and product development managers use computers and different software programs in their work, so be sure to also take computer classes. Knowing a foreign language may be helpful as well.

Postsecondary Training

A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement for biofuels/biodiesel technology and product develpment manager jobs. Many people in this field have a degree in chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, or a similar area. In addition to science, math, statistics, and laboratory courses, degree programs may include classes in project management, computer applications, quality control, health and safety, production and operations management, and general management principles. Employers may prefer managers who hold a master's degree, which may be in the sciences or engineering, but may also be in business administration.

Find links to educational programs in clean energy at the U.S. Department of Energy's Web site, https://www.energy.gov/eere/education/eere-career-resources. The National Science Foundation offers a list of college programs that offer biofuels-related degrees and certificates at https://www.bio-link.org/home2/home/degrees.

Many biofuels/biodiesel research and development students participate in an internship with a biofuels or biodiesel employer while in college. The internship gives them the opportunity to learn more about the field and see if this is something that suits their skills and interests. They also get the chance to network and make valuable contacts. The U.S. Department of Energy offers links to information on internships, fellowships, and scholarships at https://www.energy.gov/eere/about-us/employment-opportunities-eere/eere-internships-and-fellowships.

Other Education or Training

Biofuels/biodiesel technology and product development managers continue their education throughout their careers. They take continuing education classes and attend conferences offered by professional associations such as the Renewable Fuels Association, among others.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Certification is not required for biofuels/biodiesel technology and product development work. Those who want to enhance their skills and knowledge and show competency in their profession may receive voluntary certification as product development professionals. The Product Development and Management Association, for example, offers the New Product Development Professional (NPDP) certification to those who meet specific education and work-experience requirements and pass an exam.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Employers prefer to hire biofuels/biodiesel technology and product development managers who have, at minimum, a bachelor's degree and three to five years of prior work experience in a biofuels/biodiesel company. Those with a master's or graduate degree are typically required to have less work-related experience for entry-level jobs.

Technology and product development managers who do best in this type of work are able to balance working independently with working with teams and supervising staff members. The ability to gather and analyze data and solve complex problems is a key asset in the job. Much time is spent on computers, looking at and compiling data, so knowledge of computer software programs is beneficial. The work requires critical thinking, good judgment and decision making, and clear writing and speaking skills.

Biofuels/biodiesel technology and product development managers must have knowledge of production processes, quality control, raw materials, chemical composition and properties, and engineering science and technology applications and principles. They must also be well-versed in analytic and scientific software programs, enterprise resource planning software, and Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.