Wind Energy Industry Workers
Approximately 120,000 people are employed in the wind energy industry, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Different regions of the United States are windier than others, which is why wind-related projects tend to be most concentrated in the Midwest, Southwest, and Northeast regions of the United States. The top five U.S. states by total installed wind capacity are Texas (30,904 MW), Iowa (10,799 MW), Oklahoma (8,173 MW), Kansas (6,512 MW), and California (5,871 MW).
There are more than 500 wind-related manufacturing facilities in the United States. Much wind turbine manufacturing is located in the Midwest and Southeast. Large manufacturers include GE Wind Energy, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, and Vestas.
Many wind energy industry workers obtain their first jobs in the field as a result of contacts made through volunteerships, internships, or part-time positions. Others learn about job openings via trade associations, industry publications, career fairs, networking events, or the services of their colleges’ career services offices. Useful information about careers in the renewable-energy industry can be found at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Jobs Web page, http://energy.gov/eere/education/education-homepage.
Advancement prospects vary by career. For example, wind turbine service technicians advance by earning higher salaries, taking on managerial responsibilities, or becoming engineers (after the completion of a bachelor’s degree in engineering). Engineers and scientists might open their own consulting firms or seek employment with larger companies. With a Ph.D., engineers and scientists can become college professors or oversee environmental-impact and site suitability studies. Trades workers and office workers typically advance by receiving pay raises and managerial duties. By returning to school, construction workers such as electricians or welders can become construction managers or open their own contracting businesses.
Tips for Entry
Read publications such as Windpower Monthly (https://www.windpowermonthly.com) to learn more about trends in the industry and potential employers.
Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media to stay up to date on industry developments and learn about job openings.
Join the American Wind Energy Association and other professional associations to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Search for job listings at https://awea-jobs.careerwebsite.com/?navItemNumber=8205 and https://www.nspe.org/resources/career-center, as well as through online employment Web sites.