Somewhere, Howard Hughes is whispering, “It’s the wave of the future,” and he’d be right.
There are several terms that are used to describe environmentally friendly and waste-limiting energy sources: clean, renewable and alternative energy. Whatever you call it, the “green” economy, based on decreased waste, has forged new careers within the U.S. economy.
This has been, in part, encouraged by the U.S. Department of Energy, whose Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) recently awarded Penn State a $2.9 million research grant.
Such incentives indicate a focus and need to establish skills within the renewable-energy spectrum, and alternative energy careers offer opportunities in a multitude of roles.
Schools like Penn State have an array of green-based economy studies from the Bachelor of Arts in Energy and Sustainability Policy to graduate programs that include Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems – Solar Energy. These studies are additionally offered online, lifting location restrictions for interested students, and may provide a crack into a broadening career field for veterans.
Penn State’s undergraduate program is a policy-focused curriculum that engages with national and international regulation challenges. This degree can lead to careers with government organizations in the creation of policy or with non-profit organizations that seek to bring non-traditional sources of electricity to underprivileged groups. National laboratories such as the DOE National Renewable Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory or the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are among potential employers.
At the graduate level, students can study the technical side of renewable energy with a focus on engineering and science. This can result in solar energy careers that explore alternative energy solutions or work alongside planners of large-scale projects.
Everglades University in Florida offers in-person and online options for its Bachelor of Science in Alternative and Renewable Energy Management. Students can choose to focus on expanding their expertise in a variety of alternative energy sources and their real-world applications when faced with factors such as construction, project planning and environmental regulations. Managers who are able to effectively understand federal and state code requirements while balancing the implementation of alternative energy technology are vital in construction.
For those looking for vocational training, Lincoln Tech offers Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) courses that familiarize students with green technology such as solar and thermal sources of heating and cooling. Technicians can provide home and business installation and repair of alternative HVAC systems.
If you think you might be interested in a career in Solar and other alternative energy technologies the DOE has a wealth of resources to help explore your options.