Wind Energy Industry Workers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you plan to work in a science-related position in the wind energy industry, take earth science, environmental science, mathematics, physics, and related classes in high school. Aspiring engineers and technicians should take mathematics, physics, and shop. Since many engineers travel overseas to turbine manufacturers, it would be useful to take a foreign language. Those interested in management careers should take accounting and business classes. All workers will benefit by taking English, speech, and computer science classes.

Postsecondary Education

Educational requirements vary by career. The following paragraphs detail educational requirements for selected workers in the major subsectors of the wind energy industry.

Research & Development/Manufacturing

Most wind engineers have a bachelor of science in an engineering specialty, such as electrical, civil, environmental, industrial, materials, or mechanical engineering. Many companies prefer to hire engineers with master of science degrees, so those who pursue advanced degrees may have better odds of securing work. Engineers also receive extensive on-the-job training.

Engineering technicians prepare for the field by earning a certificate or an associate’s degree in engineering technology or a related field and completing on-the-job training.

Most manufacturing workers receive on-the-job training, although more skilled workers, such as computer-controlled machine tool operators, obtain their skills via postsecondary technical training or apprenticeships.

Industrial production managers usually have bachelor’s degrees in industrial technology, business administration, management, or industrial engineering, although some work their way up from entry-level positions. Once they are hired, production managers also learn production methods for wind turbine components and the general business policies of their company.

Project Development

Asset managers and land acquisition professionals have at least a bachelor’s degree in real estate, law, business, engineering or a related field, plus knowledge of the permit application process and tax and accounting rules.

Most logisticians have bachelor’s degrees in engineering, economics, or business, and augment this education with postgraduate study in supply chain management or logistics. They also receive on-the-job training regarding logistics issues in the wind energy industry.

Atmospheric and environmental scientists usually have bachelor’s degrees in earth science, geology, environmental science, meteorology, or related fields. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that “a Ph.D. is desirable for scientists in certain fields who oversee environmental impact and site suitability studies and provide expert guidance to ensure that wind turbines are constructed for optimal efficiency and minimal environmental impact.”

Construction managers typically have bachelor’s degrees in construction management, business management, or management, along with experience in the construction industry and with wind farm construction.

Construction workers learn their skills via on-the-job training, through apprenticeships, or by earning technical degrees or certificates. 

Operation & Maintenance

Wind turbine service technicians train for the field in a variety of ways. Some enter the industry from technician or electrician positions in other industries, learning the specialized skills necessary to work in the field via on-the-job training or at technical schools. Many high school graduates who are interested in the field attend community colleges and technical schools, which offer one-year certificates and two-year degrees in wind turbine maintenance.  

Support Positions

Training for support workers ranges from on-the-job training for secretaries and receptionists, to a bachelor’s degree in computer science or related fields for computer professionals, to a law degree for lawyers.

Online databases of wind energy educational programs can be found on the U.S. Department of Energy's Web site at


Certificate programs in renewable energy are provided by colleges and universities, professional associations, and private organizations.

Other Education or Training

The American Wind Energy Association offers educational sessions at its annual conference that cover technical, scientific, and business issues. The Association of Energy Engineers, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Midwest Renewable Energy Association, and the National Society of Professional Engineers also provide continuing education opportunities.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association certifies renewable energy site assessors in wind technology (home-sized systems). The North American Board of Certified Energy Professionals offers certification to small wind power installers. 

Many engineering technicians choose to become certified by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies. To become certified, a technician must have a specific amount of job-related experience and pass a multiple-choice examination. The Electronics Technicians Association International offers certification for small wind tower installers.

SME offers certification to manufacturing engineers. The Association of Energy Engineers also offers certification in a variety of specialties. To be considered for certification, a candidate must meet eligibility standards such as a minimum of three years of relevant work experience and membership in a professional organization. Most programs consist of classroom work and an examination.

Engineers who work on projects that affect the property, health, or life of the public typically pursue licensure. There are two levels of licensing for engineers. Professional Engineers (PEs) have graduated from an accredited engineering curriculum, have four years of engineering experience, and have passed a written exam. Engineering graduates need not wait until they have four years of experience, however, to start the licensure process. Those who pass the Fundamentals of Engineering examination after graduating are called Engineers in Training (EITs) or Engineer Interns (EIs). The EIT certification usually is valid for 10 years. After acquiring suitable work experience, EITs can take the second examination, the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam, to gain full PE licensure. For more information on licensing and examination requirements, visit

Certification and licensing requirements for other jobs in the wind energy industry vary according to the position. Contact professional associations in your area of interest for more information.

Some atmospheric and environmental scientists may need to be licensed. Wind energy industry workers who are employed in positions that may affect the power grid must be certified by the North American Energy Reliability Corporation.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Prior experience in the wind energy industry, such as an internship, volunteering, or a part-time job, is useful.

Desirable skills and personality traits vary for the wide range of workers in the wind energy industry. For example, wind turbine technicians need strong mechanical skills, good hand-eye coordination, good communication skills, and no fear of heights or working in confined spaces. Engineers and scientists must be creative, good problem solvers, and strong communicators, enjoy conducting research, and have excellent technical and scientific ability.

Key traits of all successful workers include strong communication skills, good organizational and time-management skills, the ability to work as a member of a team, and a willingness to continue to learn throughout one’s career.