Energy Conservation Technicians


Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you are interested in this field, take classes such as algebra, geometry, physics, chemistry, machine shop, and ecology. These courses and others incorporating laboratory work will provide you with a solid foundation for any postsecondary program that follows. In addition, classes in computer science, drafting (either mechanical or architectural), and public speaking are also very helpful.

Postsecondary Training

Many community colleges and technical institutes provide two-year programs under the specific title of energy conservation and use technology or energy management technology. In addition, schools offer related programs in solar power, electric power, building maintenance, equipment maintenance, and general engineering technology. Though not required for many entry-level jobs, these postsecondary programs can expand career options. With an advanced degree, applicants have a better chance at higher paying jobs, often with private industries.

Advanced training focuses on the principles and applications of physics, energy conservation, energy economics, instrumentation, electronics, electromechanical systems, computers, heating systems, and air-conditioning. A typical curriculum offers a first year of study in physics, chemistry, mathematics, energy technology, energy production systems, electricity and electromechanical devices, and microcomputer operations. The second year of study becomes more specialized, including courses in mechanical and fluid systems, electrical power, blueprint reading, energy conservation, codes and regulations, technical communications, and energy audits.

Considerable time is spent in laboratories, where students gain hands-on experience by assembling, disassembling, adjusting, and operating devices, mechanisms, and integrated systems of machines and controls. Students also usually complete an internship with a government agency or private company that provides energy conservation services to the public or businesses, or that conducts research in the field.

Other Education or Training

Many organizations offer conferences, symposia, seminars, and other continuing education (CE) opportunities. For example, the Association of Energy Engineers offers seminars such as Fundamentals of Energy Auditing, Fundamentals of Lighting Efficiency, and Fundamentals of Energy Efficiency: A Training Program for Practitioners. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Association of Energy Conservation Professionals also provide CE opportunities. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no state or federal requirements for certification or licensing of energy conservation technicians. However, certification from the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies and a degree from an accredited technical program are valuable credentials and proof of knowledge and technical skills. The Association of Energy Engineers also offers various certifications to professionals in the field, and North American Technician Excellence offers an energy efficiency certification specialization for heating and cooling industry technicians.

Other Requirements

Some positions in electrical power plants require energy conservation technicians to pass certain psychological tests to predict their behavior during crises. Security clearances, arranged by the employer, are required for employment in nuclear power plants and other workplaces designated by the government as high-security facilities.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Internships, volunteering, and part-time jobs with firms that provide energy-efficiency services will provide useful experience for aspiring energy conservation technicians.

Students entering this field must have a practical understanding of the physical sciences, a good aptitude for math, and the ability to communicate in writing and speech with technical specialists as well as consumers. Their work requires a clear and precise understanding of operational and maintenance manuals, schematic drawings, blueprints, and computational formulas.