Clean Energy Careers

Grid control training center at PNNL Labs

Grid control training center at PNNL Labs

The nation is moving rapidly towards a renewable energy economy. This is creating many new jobs and career possibilities. We are in the process of reinventing how we generate, store, and distribute energy. This means developing new technology, processes, and services. These changes mean that some jobs in old industries are disappearing but there is the potential for many new jobs in emerging industries.

Below are listed some of the careers that you might look for in the next 10 years.

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Position What they do How to prepare
Solar cell research scientist Develop new solar cell technology PhD chemistry, physics, engineering
Production technician High tech manufacturing, robotics BA or MS, nanotechnology
Solar estimator Determines size and components for installing solar BS or AA, math, engineering
Solar Installer Places solar panels on building roofs High school or AAiHHddf
Wind power mechanic Installs and maintains wind turbines High school or AA
Materials scientist Develops new materials for storing electricity PhD materials science, chemistry
Battery Engineer Designs battery that uses new materials Bachelor’s degree in electrical or mechanical engineering
Electric Vehicle Engineer Designs components and systems for electric cars BA automotive engineering
Smart Grid designer Develops ways to manage and integrate new energy sources PhD or MS in mathematics, engineering, software
Smart demand installer Installs web enabled controls for devices that use power AA, electrician
Materials scientist – new power conductors Researches and designs super conductors for long distance power transfer PhD physics, materials science
Utility Planner Plans the grid and sets prices that encourage conservation and efficiency BA or MS electrical engineering
The Washington Research Foundation has provided a six-year gift of $6.74 million to support nine new faculty hires, six postdoctoral researchers and the creation of a new experimental manufacturing facility on campus that will help move discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace. This investment in the CEI is truly transformational.”
– Daniel Schwartz, CEI Director
“Providing clean energy to the inhabitants of our planet is a major challenge to future generations. The University of Washington is to be congratulated for establishing an Institute where faculty and students can work together to tackle the difficult global challenge of energy sustainability.”
– Mildred Dresselhaus, Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering, Emerita and Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Energy competition is opening up in a variety of ways, the push for carbon control will continue, and the rate of technology advancement is exponential. All the things I’ve seen at the CEI are just perfect for the way we see things going in energy. You guys are at the cutting edge. We’re counting on you.”
– Ronald Litzinger, President, Edison Energy
Since its founding the Clean Energy Institute has contributed more than $1.1 million toward the education of 66 STEM scholars and recruitment of 12 students through our fellowship programs.