Wind Energy Operations Managers
Education and Training Requirements
Helpful classes for future wind energy operations manager work include earth science, environmental science, mathematics, physics, and computer science. Be sure to include English and speech classes, because communication skills are essential for working effectively with others. Shop classes will help you learn the basics about machines and tools. Foreign language classes are also beneficial.
Most wind energy operations managers have an associate's or bachelor's degree. Some employers may prefer to hire managers who hold a master's degree. Common degree fields for this profession are engineering, business, or related areas. Operations managers also receive training while on the job and through postsecondary technical training and apprenticeships. Many community colleges and technical schools offer certificate programs in wind turbine operations and maintenance.
Online databases of wind energy educational programs can be found on the U.S. Department of Energy's Web site at https://windexchange.energy.gov/maps-data/323.
Certificate programs in renewable energy are provided by colleges and universities, professional associations such as the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, as well as 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
Wind energy operations managers with certification demonstrate to prospective employers that they have achieved a high level of skills and knowledge in their field. The Association of Energy Engineers 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.
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.
The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies offers certification to technicians who meet work experience requirements and pass a multiple-choice examination. The Electronics Technicians Association International offers certification for small wind tower installers.
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. 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.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Wind energy operations managers usually have four or more years of experience and prior training either while on the job, through a technical school, or an apprenticeship. Strong administration and management skills are needed to manage workers and create a cooperative, productive work environment. Knowledge of machines and tools, safety and security procedures and regulations, and various software programs are important in this job. Wind energy operations managers must have strong mechanical skills, good hand-eye coordination, good communication skills, and no fear of heights or working in confined spaces. They must be detail oriented and able to monitor the work of others, take corrective actions when needed, and be active listeners. Successful operations managers are detail oriented, have an adaptable and flexible attitude, are reliable and responsible, and have integrity.