Fuel Cell Technicians
There are approximately 28,600 people employed in the U.S. fuel cell industry, according to the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report from the U.S. Department of Energy. Fuel cell technicians are employed by automotive manufacturers with fuel cell and hydrogen vehicle programs, companies that manufacture fuel cells and related technology, merchant hydrogen producers, and government agencies that conduct fuel cell research, such as the U.S. Department of Energy and its National Laboratories, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center. The states that offer the most opportunities for fuel cell industry workers are California, Connecticut, and New York, according to the Department of Energy's report called "State of the States: Fuel Cells in America 2016." Other states that offer good employment opportunities in fuel cell technologies include Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Ohio.
Fuel cell technicians often get their start through internships, part-time jobs, and technician training programs while they are in school. Ask your school's career service office for assistance in researching internship and employment opportunities in companies with fuel cell services. Technicians also find jobs by contacting companies and government agencies directly and through job listings on employment Web sites.
Fuel cell technicians with four or more years of experience advance by taking on more complex projects and handling more responsibilities. They become managers and supervisors, overseeing the work of junior-level technicians and other team members. They may move into other areas of the company, such as technical sales or customer relations. Fuel cell technicians also advance by becoming certifified and going back to school for advanced degrees in specialized areas.
Tips for Entry
Keep up with news and developments in the fuel cell industry by reading newsletters such as "Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Connection," http://www.fchea.org/newsletters.
Connect with fuel cell professionals and groups on LinkedIn and follow key professionals in the field on Twitter to stay up to date on industry developments and learn about job openings.
Explore education and training opportunities in the aerospace, automotive, and commercial-vehicle industries by visiting SAE International's Web site, http://www.sae.org.
Search for job openings and learn more about the different types of companies that employ fuel cell technicians by visiting these Web sites:
Attend fuel cell and hydrogen energy conferences and events to network with other professionals and learn more about current developments and predictions for the future of the industry.