Is Energy A Good Career Path? (15 Jobs In Energy: Best-Paying + Entry-Level)

By Caitlin Mazur
May. 23, 2022
Career Paths

Yes, energy is a good career path. As one of the largest industries in the world, the future of energy looks bright. This is a broad and far-reaching field that can be innovative and incredibly rewarding. Serving your community while helping the environment thrive is a work you can be proud of on a daily basis.

Not just that, but the energy industry is incredibly lucrative and sustainable. There will always be a need for energy and having a career in this field means you’ll never have to worry about your market phasing out of popularity.

Here are 13 great jobs in Energy:

  1. Power Plant Operator Jobs (Overview)

  2. Nuclear Engineer Jobs (Overview)

  3. Mechanical Engineer Jobs (Overview)

  4. Chemist Jobs (Overview)

  5. Environmental Engineer Jobs (Overview)

  6. Water Treatment Specialist Jobs (Overview)

  7. Transmission System Operator Jobs (Overview)

  8. Electrician Jobs (Overview)

  9. Wind Turbine Technician Jobs (Overview)

  10. Industrial Engineer Jobs (Overview)

  11. Geologist Jobs (Overview)

  12. Welder Jobs (Overview)

  13. Nuclear Reactor Operator Jobs (Overview)

The 8 Best-Paying Jobs in Energy

No matter the time or place, energy is a necessity for the general population. However, energy is a highly technical field, so it may not be for everyone. If you enjoy the technical side of things and are interested in a job in energy, know you’ll be compensated for your hard work. Here are some of the highest-paying jobs in energy.

  1. Surveying technician

    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    Surveying technicians are individuals who operate surveying instruments such as electronic distance-measuring equipment. Surveying technicians are responsible for recording survey measurements and collecting additional information to measure neutral features of the earth.

    With this information, surveying technicians utilize the data to create topographical maps. Surveying technicians may also be responsible for using global position and geographical information systems to measure, record, and calculate data sets to build computer images and drawings that are used in these maps.

  2. Power plant operator

    Average Annual Salary: $47,000

    A power plant operator is someone who oversees plant operations and maintains safety protocols. These individuals are a key link in the nation’s energy chain as they are directly responsible for operating machines that generate electricity.

    This includes a variety of responsibilities, including controlling different power-generation equipment, maintenance, and repairs. You may also be tasked with reviewing meters, control boards, and gauges to ensure they meet specific requirements, as well as testing equipment.

    Find Power plant operator jobs near me

  3. Nuclear engineer

    Average Annual Salary: $87,000

    Nuclear engineers are individuals who research and develop the processes, instruments, and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. They may conduct various forms of research to create instruments or systems to find benefits and uses for different radioactive materials.

    Additional responsibilities for this role may include developing nuclear equipment such as reactor cores, instrumentation, or radiation shielding that can be used within a nuclear plant. You may also be required to conduct certain experiments that may test the effectiveness of nuclear products.

    Find Nuclear engineer jobs near me

  4. Mechanical engineer

    Average Annual Salary: $79,000

    Mechanical engineers are those who design power-producing machines like electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines. They may also create items such as power-using machines like air-conditioning systems, robotics, and transportation machinery.

    Those in mechanical engineering may also be tasked with evaluating problems to determine the thermal and mechanical devices that can be used to help solve certain problems. Depending on your organization, you could also be hired to design mechanical systems through computer-aided design (CAD) software.

    Find Mechanical engineer jobs near me

  5. Chemist

    Average Annual Salary: $58,000

    Chemists are people who investigate the properties of matter at the level of atoms and molecules. They may measure proportions and reaction rates in order to understand how substances behave or how to use them in new compounds. In energy, they may perform experiences to review quality or create new products.

    Chemists in energy may closely research the chemical makeup of materials used in manufacturing to ensure the end product is safe for general consumers. Additionally, they may be required to coordinate test procedures and develop or enhance products, formulas, or analytical processes.

    Find Chemist jobs near me

  6. Environmental engineer

    Average Annual Salary: $69,000

    Environmental engineers work to use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental issues. They work hard to protect people from the effects of adverse environmental events such as climate change or having access to clean drinking water.

    Environmental engineers often develop strategies to improve air and water pollution, public health, and recycling initiatives. They may also be tasked with creating environmental reports, designing protective environmental projects, or doing quality-control checks for the business.

    Find Environmental engineer jobs near me

  7. Water treatment specialist

    Average Annual Salary: $55,000

    Water treatment specialists are responsible for supervising and installing water purification equipment and making sure clean water is available or stored wherever it may be needed. This might be in your community or for a business.

    Other responsibilities may include performing water quality tests, inspecting existing facilities to ensure the water is safe to drink, and informing community members on how to detect clean water, as well as how and where to access it.

    Find Water treatment specialist jobs near me

7 Entry-Level Jobs in Energy

There are plenty of jobs in energy, including ones that are considered entry-level. These jobs are still compensated highly, as long as you have the prerequisite education requirements. Consider some of these entry-level jobs in energy that can help you climb the career ladder in energy.

  1. Transmission system operator

    Average Annual Salary: $66,000

    A transmission system operator is an individual who typically works for a utility company. This individual oversees generators and operating systems for companies that work with or have direct access to power grids, ensuring everything works properly.

    This job may require you to work with machines and employees within the company to regulate electricity flow from transmission lines to industrial plants. Other requirements might include monitoring or observing different pieces of equipment or being aware of upcoming weather to anticipate power needs or conflicts.

    Find Transmission system operator jobs near me

  2. Electrician

    Average Annual Salary: $53,000

    At some point, everyone needs to call an electrician to their house to repair something electrical. Electricians are an important part of our community as they install, repair, and design power systems in locations like public spaces, homes, factories, and businesses.

    Electricians might also be tasked with things such as using diagrams or blueprints to help homes or businesses understand and diagnose electrical issues. They may also test electrical systems and install equipment, fixtures, and wiring.

    Find Electrician jobs near me

  3. Wind turbine technician

    Average Annual Salary: $49,000

    Wind turbines turn wind energy into electricity by using the aerodynamic force from the rotor blades. Wind flow patterns and speeds can vary greatly across the US and can be impacted by the environment. Wind turbine technicians are responsible for installing, repairing, and performing maintenance.

    In this career, you may be required to also inspect and record the performance and the integrity of turbine towers. Be prepared to be tasked with climbing towers to repair or inspect turbines, troubleshoot mechanical, hydraulic, or electrical systems on turbines, and collect data to combat errors and improve performance.

    Find Wind turbine technician jobs near me

  4. Industrial engineer

    Average Annual Salary: $78,000

    Industrial engineers create efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service. In turn, this helps companies eliminate waste, enhance efficiency, and reduce costs in the business.

    Industrial engineers are also responsible for reviewing the business’ production schedules to provide efficiency improvements. They may also be asked to create control systems to help minimize environmental and economic waste, as well as design facility layouts.

    Find Industrial engineer jobs near me

  5. Geologist

    Average Annual Salary: $77,000

    Geologists are scientists who study the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that makes up our planet, terrestrial planets, and the processes that shape them. In energy, they use this information to understand how it can affect our environment in order to keep the population healthy and sustainable.

    In companies, geologists may be tasked with creating new methods for collecting data and conducting studies that don’t negatively impact the environment. They may be responsible for managing construction companies on how to appropriately conduct projects in order to protect the environment.

    Find Geologist jobs near me

  6. Welder

    Average Annual Salary: $38,000

    A welder is a highly skilled tradesperson who uses intense heat and gas to join metal together or fills or repair holes in metal constructions. A welder might be responsible for operating machines that repair or manufacture key equipment, tools, or other structures necessary for the business to operate.

    Welders typically plan layouts through blueprints or drawings and then use their skills and tools to weld beams, pipelines, and other necessary components. They may also perform maintenance work by reviewing welded surfaces to repair any potential points of concern or errors.

    Find Welder jobs near me

  7. Nuclear reactor operator

    Average Annual Salary: $45,000

    As the name suggests, nuclear power reactor operators control nuclear reactors. They may adjust control rods, which affect how much electricity the reactor generates. Their duties include monitoring reactors, turbines, generators, and cooling systems and adjusting any controls necessary.

    A key part of this job is data collection. Most of these machines record data that must then be analyzed to determine any cause for abnormalities that may take place in the machinery. This is important to keep things running smoothly.

    Find Nuclear reactor operator jobs near me

  8. Oil rig worker

    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    An oil rig worker is responsible for supporting oil and gas drilling and extraction operations on an offshore oil platform. This may be a specific job on the rig or involve duties related to general labor tasks. Oil rig positions like derrickman and driller work directly with the equipment needed to drill and extract oil.

    Typically oil rig workers must undergo safety training before working and need a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) to perform these duties. You’ll also need to be physically strong and have the stamina to work 12-hour shifts and move heavy equipment.

Why Choose a Career in Energy?

Energy companies have commitments to foster a healthy environment by investing money into technologies that will allow our populations to create industry without harming the environment. Careers in the energy market provide an essential service to individuals throughout communities. Here are some great reasons to choose a career in energy:

  • Environmental stewardship. Providing energy while enhancing the quality of our environment and the health of our communities is important. Working in energy gives you the opportunity to be innovative and be a steward in creating a clean and safe environment for all.

  • Aid your community. Working in energy often means you’re directly contributing to the welfare of your community. In addition, many companies offer philanthropic support to their cities and communities.

  • Reliability. Energy is in constant demand. Our populations depend on a constant supply of energy for the health of our economy, national security, and everyday needs. This means this career is evergreen and in constant need of energy workers.

  • Competitive pay. Because of the high labor and skill needed for many jobs in energy, this is a high-paying field. You’ll be able to climb through the ranks of this career field and be well compensated for it.

  • Rewarding work. Because energy is essential, providing your services to your community can be incredibly rewarding. Not just that, but creating new innovations that can help improve the environment can be rewarding as well.

Education and Certification Requirements for a Career in Energy

If you’re looking to pursue a career in energy, it’s important to understand the education or certifications required. Depending on the job you decide to take, you may need different levels of education, experience, or certification. Here are a few different ways to begin the process of entering the energy field.

  • Find a school that offers energy education. If you are looking for a school that offers energy education, you can look at the National Energy Education Network (NEEN) for schools offering energy programs near you.

  • Find an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are a great entry point for individuals looking for jobs in a skilled trade. These jobs typically provide on-the-job training, skills development, and mentoring.

  • Prepare for pre-employment testing. In the energy field, pre-employment testing is a common requirement. For jobs that are highly technical in nature, workers must pass a test.

  • Take practice tests. The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) offers practice tests to help you increase your success. There are also Energy Test preparation tests offered in person by the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD).

What Do People Working In Energy Do?

The energy sector in the United States employs over six million people. These individuals range from engineers to clean energy innovators who are looking for new, sustainable ways to harness and store power to tradespeople who make everything operate properly. Energy jobs can expand to developers in national infrastructure or those working in the energy business.

Although there are specific skills and certifications you may need to enter this field, working in energy means you have an essential job that is also rewarding, lucrative, and always in high demand. The skills you bring to any job in energy are meaningful and, to that end, well-compensated.

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Career Paths


Caitlin Mazur

Caitlin Mazur is a freelance writer at Zippia. Caitlin is passionate about helping Zippia’s readers land the jobs of their dreams by offering content that discusses job-seeking advice based on experience and extensive research. Caitlin holds a degree in English from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.

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