Wind Career Map Text Version

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Below is the text version for the Wind Career Map.

The application includes five fields of work—Project Development; Component Manufacturing; Construction; Operations; and Education, Training, and Research. Each section is divided into entry-level, mid-level, and advanced-level jobs, and lists advancement opportunities for each career.

All jobs link to the Wind Energy Career Map: Resource List and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

You can jump to the section you're most interested in:

About this Mapping Tool

This wind career map explores an expanding universe of wind energy occupations, describing diverse jobs across the industry, charting possible progression between them, and identifying the high-quality training necessary to do them well.

Sectors: The career map arranges wind occupations into four broad categories: Project Development; Component Manufacturing; Construction; Operations; Education, Training, and Research. There is much overlap and conversation between these sectors, and some jobs could sit in more than one.

Skill Levels: The map also organizes jobs into three general skill levels:

  • Entry Level - Pre-apprentice or apprentice-level, less than a 2-year post-secondary credential, 1-3 years' experience.
  • Mid-Level - Journey or associate's level, 3-5 years' experience.
  • Advanced Level - Master craft or bachelor's level and higher, 5+ years' experience.

Whatever the designated level of a job title on this map, most occupations include a wide range of skill levels, and could sit higher or lower on the y-axis. As wind technology rapidly evolves, workers in all positions will need to update their skills through continuing education or on-the-job-training, and in many cases could benefit from professional certification.

Jobs: This tool maps a broad and representative selection of occupations for which some training in wind-specific skills is required. Not every wind job is listed. And not every job listed devotes the majority of its time to wind work. But each one plays a critical role in building a safe and robust wind industry.

Job Details: Look here for a more complete picture of the job in a wind context, including: typical education, training, and experience; skills and responsibilities; median wages.

Pathways: Labor markets are organized as lattices, not ladders. There are many possible career routes within and across wind sectors for workers seeking advancement or new opportunities. This tool maps some of them.

  • Routes to Advancement chart logical transitions from one job to another, offering general information about training or credentials needed to make the move. Advances within an occupation—from apprentice to journeyman, say, or specialist to manager—are not mapped as linked dots, but indicated within the full job description.
  • Multi-Sector Routes show how several occupational transitions could be linked into career paths across wind industry sectors. Some of the transitions imply enormous advances in skill, credentials, and education; they offer a birds-eye guide to affinity and potential, rather than a topographical map of specific work and learning pathways.

More Information: See the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for further explanation of scope and content.

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Project Development

Advanced-Level Careers

Attorney
Job Details

Job Description: Attorneys advise and represent individuals, businesses, or government agencies on legal issues or disputes. Attorneys work within each sector of the wind industry, leading and supporting contract negotiation and execution, financing and confidentiality agreements, patents and intellectual property filings, mergers and acquisitions and legal compliance. They may also be involved in litigation procedures or work on regulatory and compliance issues.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Formal requirements to become an attorney usually include a 4-year bachelor's degree, 3 years of law school, and passing a written bar examination. However, requirements may vary by state.

Routes To Advancement:
Finance Manager - Certification (Certified Public Accountant) facilitates this move.

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Power Marketer
Job Details

Job Description: Power marketers have a strong understanding of energy markets. They market the power from proposed wind energy projects. Once a power proposal has been accepted by a buyer, they typically lead the negotiations of the power purchase agreement.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Power marketers typically need a degree in finance or engineering. Entry level positions as an analyst may only require a bachelor's degree, while advanced positions often require a master's degree. Experience in electric power generation is helpful.

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Financial Manager
Job Details

Job Description: A financial manager develops and maintains financial pro formas used by project developers for preliminary project economic analysis. They lead project financing efforts of each project.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Financial managers usually have a bachelor's degree and more than 5-10 years of experience in another business or financial occupation, such as a commercial loan officer, accountant, auditor, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.

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Power Systems/Transmission Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: A Power Systems Engineer may work for a wind owner/developer, turbine manufacturer, or electric utility. They may be responsible for evaluating interconnection standards and transmission feasibility, system impact and facility studies or testing new electrical components of wind turbine designs. Their responsibilities may also include working on transmission and/or distribution systems.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Power Systems Engineers typically have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, but may also qualify for positions with a civil, industrial, mechanical, or construction management degree. Employers value practical experience, so graduates of cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn academic credit for structured work experience, are valuable. Certification as a professional engineer (PE) or the ability to achieve this certification may be required.

Routes To Advancement:
Regulatory Expert - This move may involve narrowing one's field of expertise to regulatory policy and possibly obtaining some additional education in policy, law, or a master's degree in a related field. Many regulatory experts are also attorneys or Certified Public Accountants.

Power Marketer - This move requires several years of experience in the field or in a related area, increasing knowledge of contract negotiation and market awareness.

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Project Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Project engineers support Project Managers and Developers during the wind project development process by integrating wind assessment studies, layout designs, and manage bids/pricing for the construction process. They assist with managing technical third party contract work for the project. When the project wins a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and transitions into construction, the project engineer continues with the project, either assisting the Construction manager or becoming the Construction Manager for the project.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Project engineers usually have a bachelor's degree in mechanical, aerospace or electrical engineering. They may also have a degree in other technical disciplines or construction management. Employers also value practical experience, so graduates of cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn academic credit for structured work experience, are valuable.

Routes To Advancement:
Project Manager - Earning a master's degree and years of experience facilitate this move.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

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Regulatory Expert
Job Details

Job Description: Regulatory experts research and keep current on various regulatory issues within the energy industry. They develop positions on policy issues, analyze how policy issues will impact business opportunities, and provide updates and strategy recommendations to senior management, sales, project development teams and other internal stakeholders. This role often serves on various stakeholder committees, such as industry trade associations, or assists in lobbying functions during state and federal rule making procedures associated with transmission and interconnection issues, energy market issues, state Renewable Portfolio Standards, land use, siting/permitting, and taxes.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Degree in political science, law, economics, public policy, public affairs.

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Resource Scientist
Job Details

Job Description: Resource scientists study weather, climate, and site conditions as they relate to the deployment of renewable energy technologies. Resource scientists use this data to create wind plant energy predictions and assess the placement and suitability of sites for turbine technology deployment.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Resource scientists need a bachelor's degree in atmospheric science, engineering, math, statistics or a closely related field for most positions. Those who work in research usually need a master's degree or a Ph.D.

Routes To Advancement:
Research Scientist - To achieve this position, hold a master's degree in respective field and have work experience in field of study.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

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Environmental Scientist
Job Details

Job Description: Environmental scientists work with wind farm developers to help them comply with environmental regulations and policies and to ensure that physical and wildlife sensitivities as well as cultural impacts are mitigated. They use their knowledge of the natural sciences, understanding of human behavior and local cultural importance to minimize impacts to the health of the environment and the population. These scientists are heavily involved in the study and permitting phases of development.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Environmental scientists need at least a bachelor's degree in a related field for most entry-level jobs. Employers also value practical experience. Therefore, cooperative programs, which provide college credit for structured job experience, are valuable as well.

Routes To Advancement:
Research Scientist - To achieve this position, hold a master's degree in respective field and have work experience in field of study.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

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Civil Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Civil engineers design and supervise large construction projects, including wind farm foundations, access roads, and crane paths and pads. They test road, soil, concrete, and other construction materials to ensure quality of work as well as implement environmental protection measures such as storm water pollution prevention.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Civil engineers need a bachelor's degree. They typically need a graduate degree for promotion to managerial positions. Civil engineers who sell their own services publicly must be licensed in all states and the District of Columbia. Professional Engineering licenses are necessary for some regulatory and inspection career paths.

Routes To Advancement:
Research Engineer - Obtaining several years of experience in the industry field supports this move. Earning a professional engineers license could be desirable.

Engineering Manager - This advance may require some additional coursework for professional development and years of experience in the industry field.

Project Engineer - Gain several years of experience in current occupation to facilitate this advancement. Professional engineers license could be advantageous.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

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Quality Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Quality Engineers work with manufacturers, developers, project managers and many others within each sector of the wind industry. They work with quality assurance and quality control teams to develop processes, test procedures and implement systems that ensure the products and processes fulfill quality standards, meet safety regulations, and satisfy client expectations.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Quality engineers need a bachelor's degree in an engineering field, plus experience. Professional certifications may be required.

Routes To Advancement: Transition from outside the wind industry - Typically, moves from other industries into the wind industry are lateral moves, and they may require some wind-specific training.

When entering the wind industry, specific knowledge of wind turbine manufacturing and wind energy systems is necessary. Demonstrated success in quality assurance or control is required. This move necessitates on-the-job training and education.

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Land Acquisition Specialist
Job Details

Job Description: Land acquisition specialists help developers and project owners obtain land for new wind development, as well as administer the land after it has been purchased or leased. They coordinate with permitting specialists, lawyers, engineers, and scientists to ensure that the wind farm is built on time and within budget.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Land acquisition specialists are expected to have a bachelor's degree or higher in business, real estate, law, engineering, or a related discipline. Experience and familiarity with the permitting process and an understanding of real estate, tax and accounting rules is desirable. It is preferable that candidates possess or can obtain a real estate or notary license. Companies will typically hire people with experience in land acquisition and management and train them to their specific wind energy needs. Experience in the energy industry is helpful.

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Mid-Level Careers

No mid-level project development careers are listed.

Entry-Level Careers

Meteorological Technician
Job Details

Job Description: Meteorological technicians are employed to install, maintain, relocate and decommission meteorological towers and equipment used to capture information about the potential wind resource at identified locations.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Most companies require meteorological technicians to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Candidates with some education or experience in engineering or a related technical field may be preferred.

Routes To Advancement:
Wind Technician - Field experience and wind technician certification are necessary for this move.

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Component Manufacturing

Advanced-Level Careers

Attorney
Job Details

Job Description: Attorneys advise and represent individuals, businesses, or government agencies on legal issues or disputes. Attorneys work within each sector of the wind industry, leading and supporting contract negotiation and execution, financing and confidentiality agreements, patents and intellectual property filings, mergers and acquisitions and legal compliance. They may also be involved in litigation procedures or work on regulatory and compliance issues.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Formal requirements to become an attorney usually include a 4-year bachelor's degree, 3 years of law school, and passing a written bar examination. However, requirements may vary by state.

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Research Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Research engineers work with government, academic institutions, manufacturers and other sectors of the wind industry to plan, manage and conduct projects to develop and assess new wind turbine technologies and processes that produce the most electricity at the lowest cost. Researchers in component manufacturing study cutting edge technologies and invent new processes or components helpful in wind power technology.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Research engineers must have a bachelor's degree. Employers value practical experience, e.g., cooperative engineering programs, prior work experience, or internships.

Routes To Advancement:
Engineering Manager - To transfer from research to industry, demonstrated expertise (e.g., through published research results) is necessary.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

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Aerospace Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Aerospace Engineers are responsible for development and design of structures and systems from concept through to production throughout the company. In the wind industry, aerospace engineers are also involved in layout and energy production estimates of wind plants.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Aerospace engineers must have a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering or another field of engineering or science related to aerospace systems.

Routes To Advancement:
Engineering Manager - Gaining several years job experience supports this move.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

Research Engineer - To achieve this position, a master's degree in a related field is preferred. Work experience and demonstrated expertise in field of study is necessary.

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Design Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Design engineers lead, perform, design and analyze wind turbine structures and components so that they efficiently generate the most power, are more reliable, withstand environmental stresses, have a lower cost, and reduced environmental impacts. They work on products throughout their entire life cycle, from conceptual design through design and development, testing, qualification, manufacturing, and installation and operation support.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Design engineers typically hold a bachelor's degree or higher in electrical or mechanical engineering or a related discipline. Employers value practical experience, e.g., cooperative engineering programs, prior work experience, or internships. Design engineers often specialize in specific disciplines such as aerodynamics or electromechanical systems, so a master's degree or Ph.D. in a specialized area will be advantageous.

Routes To Advancement:
Engineering Manager - Gain several years job experience in current occupation to facilitate this move. An engineering degree is required.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

Research Engineer - To achieve this position, a master's degree in a related field is preferred. Work experience and demonstrated expertise in field of study is necessary.

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Sales Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Sales engineers sell complex technological products or services to businesses. They must have extensive knowledge of the products' specifications, weights, parts, and functions and must understand the processes that make these products work. They combine their technical knowledge of the products or services they are selling with strong interpersonal skills.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Sales engineers typically need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field.

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Electrical Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of turbines' electrical components, including electric motors, machinery controls, lighting and wiring, generators, communications systems, and electricity transmission systems.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Electrical engineers must have a bachelor's degree. Employers also value practical experience, so graduates of cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn academic credit for structured work experience, are valuable as well.

Routes To Advancement:
Project Engineer - Gain several years of experience in current occupation to facilitate this advancement. Professional engineers license could be advantageous.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

Research Engineer - To achieve this position, a master's degree in a related field is preferred. Work experience and demonstrated expertise in field of study is necessary.

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Engineering Manager
Job Details

Job Description: The engineering manager plans, coordinates, and directs activities in engineering, including research and development. They lead a team of engineers to specify, design, analyze and verify new components and systems.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Engineering managers typically have at least a bachelor's degree and significant work experience.

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Industrial Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in the wind turbine production processes. They devise efficient ways to use workers, machines, materials, available technology, and energy to increase productivity and minimize time and costs in the manufacture of turbine systems and components.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Industrial engineers should have a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering. Employers also value experience, so internships or cooperative-education engineering programs at universities are a plus.

Routes To Advancement:
Engineering Manager - Gaining several years job experience supports this move.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

Research Engineer - To achieve this position, a master's degree in a related field is preferred. Work experience and demonstrated expertise in field of study is necessary.

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Quality Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Quality Engineers work with manufacturers, developers, project managers and many others within each sector of the wind industry. They work with quality assurance and quality control teams to develop processes, test procedures and implement systems that ensure the products and processes fulfill quality standards, meet safety regulations, and satisfy client expectations.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Quality engineers need a bachelor's degree in an engineering field, plus experience. Professional certifications may be required.

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Mid-Level Careers

Buyer
Job Details

Job Description: Buyers purchase raw materials and parts for manufacturing wind turbine components, towers and balance of plant construction materials. They evaluate suppliers, competitively bid and negotiate contracts, and review supplier quality management systems. Purchasing managers oversee buyers and purchasing agents.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Although educational requirements for buyers may vary by the size of the organization and the type of product, all need extensive on-the-job training. They need a bachelor's degree, extensive work experience as a buyer, with specific licensing preferred.

Routes To Advancement:
Sales Engineer - Obtain a bachelor's degree in engineering and gain sales experience.
Transition from outside the wind industry - Typically, moves from other industries into the wind industry are lateral moves, and they may require some wind-specific training.

When entering the wind industry, this requires demonstrated expertise in purchasing, and an ability to apply current skills to the wind industry.

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Logistician
Job Details

Job Description: Logisticians analyze and coordinate an organization's supply chain—the system that moves a product from supplier to consumer. They manage the entire life cycle of a product, which includes how a product is acquired, distributed, allocated, and delivered.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Although an associate's degree may be sufficient for some logistician jobs, a bachelor's degree is typically required for most positions. Industry certification and work experience in a related field can be helpful for jobseekers.

Routes To Advancement:
Buyer - This advance typically requires a bachelor's degree and work experience as a buyer or purchasing agent.

Sales Engineer - Obtain a bachelor's degree in engineering and gain sales experience.

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Salesperson
Job Details

Job Description: Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. Relationship-building is key. They contact customers, explain product features, answer questions, and negotiate prices.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Educational requirements vary, depending on the type of product sold. If the products are not scientific or technical, a high school diploma is generally enough for entry into the occupation. If the products are scientific or technical, sales representatives typically need at least a bachelor's degree.

Routes To Advancement:
Buyer - Additional education such as earning an associate's or bachelor's degree and years of experience in the industry field would support this move.

Sales Engineer - This move is achieved by earning a bachelor's degree in engineering.

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Entry-Level Careers

Assembler and Fabricator
Job Details

Job Description: Assemblers and fabricators assemble both finished products and the parts that go into them. They use tools, machines, and their hands to make generators, computers, electronic devices, towers and blades, and other parts.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. The education level and qualifications needed to enter these jobs vary depending on the industry and employer. Although a high school diploma is enough for most jobs, experience and additional training is needed for more advanced assembly work.

Routes To Advancement:
Salesperson - This move requires product knowledge gained on the job and natural skill or education in sales or marketing.

Manufacturing Manager - Additional education such as earning an associate's or bachelor's degree and years of experience would support this move.

Logistician - This path is achieved with experience and demonstrated expertise in logistical management.

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Trade Worker
Job Details

Job Description: After a site is selected and construction begins, trade workers help install the wind turbines and support structures. This requires the work of many skilled people, including a wide variety of trade workers. Trade workers in the wind turbine construction phase are primarily, but are not limited to cement masons, electricians, and equipment operators.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Trade workers often learn informally on the job. Other positions may learn their trade through a formal apprenticeship or technical school. Additional certifications may be required depending on state, union, and project training requirements. Electricians require formal training.

Routes To Advancement:
Salesperson - This move requires product knowledge gained on the job and natural skill or education in sales or marketing.

Manufacturing Manager - Additional education such as earning an associate's or bachelor's degree and years of experience would support this move.

Logistician - This path is achieved with experience and demonstrated expertise in logistical management.

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Transportation Worker
Job Details

Job Description: Transporting extremely large wind turbine components to remote areas takes a great deal of planning. When wind turbines need to be delivered to the wind farm, getting wind turbine components from the factory to the construction site requires the work of teams of logisticians, heavy-load truck drivers, and, occasionally, rail and water freight movers.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Transportation workers' education and training requirements vary by the type of job whether it is truck, rail, or water transportation. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers usually have a high school diploma and attend a professional truck-driving school. They must have a commercial driver's license (CDL). Railroad occupations generally require a high school diploma and several months of on-the-job training. Water transportation officers and engineers usually must have a bachelor's degree. Most water transportation jobs require the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a Merchant Marine Credential (MMC).

Routes To Advancement:
Logistician - This path is achieved with experience and demonstrated expertise in logistical management.

Salesperson - This move requires product knowledge gained on the job and natural skill or education in sales or marketing.

Sales Engineer - Obtain a bachelor's degree in engineering and gain sales experience.

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Construction

Advanced-Level Careers

Project Manager
Job Details

Job Description: Project managers oversee the construction of the wind plant from site selection to the final installation of turbines. They coordinate the construction of a wind project, directing and coordinating activities ensuring that the project is complete on schedule and within budget. Project managers are also involved with the contractual bidding of projects and business development for the company as a whole.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Experience in construction management, particularly wind plant construction, is vital for project managers. Most managers have experience working on several wind plant projects before they are selected to manage one. Project managers usually hold a bachelor's degree or higher in engineering, construction management, or business management. Advanced degrees, such as an MBA, are becoming more common.

Routes To Advancement:
Site/Plant Manager - This move may require additional training specific to operations and maintenance.

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Project Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Project engineers support Project Managers and Developers during the wind project development process by integrating wind assessment studies, layout designs, and manage bids/pricing for the construction process. They assist with managing technical third party contract work for the project. When the project wins a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and transitions into construction, the project engineer continues with the project, either assisting the Construction manager or becoming the Construction Manager for the project.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Project engineers usually have a bachelor's degree in mechanical, aerospace or electrical engineering. They may also have a degree in other technical disciplines or construction management. Employers also value practical experience, so graduates of cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn academic credit for structured work experience, are valuable.

Routes To Advancement:
Project Manager - Obtaining experience in the industry field facilitates this move.

Research Engineer - To achieve this position, a master's degree in a related field is preferred. Work experience and demonstrated expertise in field of study is necessary.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

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Industrial Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in the wind turbine production processes. They devise efficient ways to use workers, machines, materials, available technology, and energy to increase productivity and minimize time and costs in the manufacture of turbine systems and components.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Industrial engineers should have a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering. Employers also value experience, so internships or cooperative-education engineering programs at universities are a plus.

Routes To Advancement:
Design Engineer - To achieve this position, gain experience in current occupation and the industry field.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

Project Engineer - Years of experience in industrial engineering and project leadership facilitate this move. A Professional Engineering license could be advantageous.

Project Manager - Obtaining job experience in construction work and the industry field facilitates this move.

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Mechanical Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. There are many different applications of a mechanical engineer's skills in the wind industry, but they generally research, design, develop, and test tools, machines, and mechanical devices. Mechanical engineers work on wind turbine siting, components and systems, contributing to performance optimization and cost reductions for project developers, manufacturing and operation companies.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Mechanical engineers need a bachelor's degree. A graduate degree is typically needed for promotion into advanced or managerial positions.

Routes To Advancement:
Project Engineer - Years of experience in mechanical engineering and project leadership facilitate this move. A Professional Engineering license could be advantageous.

Project Manager - Obtaining several years job experience in construction work facilitates this move.

Research Engineer - To achieve this position, a master's degree in a related field is preferred. Work experience and demonstrated expertise in field of study is necessary.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

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Electrical Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of turbines' electrical components, including electric motors, machinery controls, lighting and wiring, generators, communications systems, and electricity transmission systems.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Electrical engineers must have a bachelor's degree. Employers also value practical experience, so graduates of cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn academic credit for structured work experience, are valuable as well.

Routes To Advancement:
Project Engineer - Years of experience in electrical engineering and project leadership facilitate this move. A Professional Engineering license could be advantageous.

Project Manager - Obtaining job experience in construction work and the industry field facilitates this move.

Research Engineer - To achieve this position, a master's degree in a related field is preferred. Work experience and demonstrated expertise in field of study is necessary.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

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Civil Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Civil engineers design and supervise large construction projects, including wind farm foundations, access roads, and crane paths and pads. They test road, soil, concrete, and other construction materials to ensure quality of work as well as implement environmental protection measures such as storm water pollution prevention.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Civil engineers need a bachelor's degree. They typically need a graduate degree for promotion to managerial positions. Civil engineers who sell their own services publicly must be licensed in all states and the District of Columbia. Professional Engineering licenses are necessary for some regulatory and inspection career paths.

Routes To Advancement:
Project Engineer - Years of experience in civil engineering and project leadership facilitate this move. A Professional Engineering license could be advantageous.

Project Manager - Obtaining job experience in construction work and the industry field facilitates this move.

Research Engineer - To achieve this position, a master's degree in a related field is preferred. Work experience and demonstrated expertise in field of study is necessary.

Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

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Quality Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Quality Engineers work with manufacturers, developers, project managers and many others within each sector of the wind industry. They work with quality assurance and quality control teams to develop processes, test procedures and implement systems that ensure the products and processes fulfill quality standards, meet safety regulations, and satisfy client expectations.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Quality engineers need a bachelor's degree in an engineering field, plus experience. Professional certifications may be required.

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Mid-Level Careers

Construction Manager
Job Details

Job Description: Construction managers coordinate and supervise wind plant construction activities. They assist the project manager with project planning and cost estimates. They work with teams of engineers and oversee the work of trade workers and subcontractors.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Employers increasingly prefer candidates with both construction experience and a bachelor's degree in a construction-related field. However, some managers may qualify with a high school diploma and by working many years in a construction trade. Although not required, certification is becoming increasingly important for construction managers, demonstrating their knowledge and experience.

Routes To Advancement:
Project Engineer - This move typically requires a bachelor's degree in engineering and construction experience.

Project Manager - This advance typically requires a bachelor's degree. Obtaining certification or a master's degree may improve career opportunities.

The black line that leads to this job represents a career transition from outside the industry. Typically, moves from other industries into the wind industry are lateral moves, and they may require some wind-specific training.

To enter the wind industry, construction management expertise is required.

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Entry-Level Careers

Trade Worker
Job Details

Job Description: After a site is selected and construction begins, trade workers help install the wind turbines and support structures. This requires the work of many skilled people, including a wide variety of trade workers. Trade workers in the wind turbine construction phase are primarily, but are not limited to cement masons, electricians, and equipment operators.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Trade workers often learn informally on the job. Other positions may learn their trade through a formal apprenticeship or technical school. Additional certifications may be required depending on state, union, and project training requirements. Electricians require formal training.

Routes To Advancement:
Technical Trainer/Instructor - This advance may require additional education such as acquiring a degree or certification as a technical trainer. Having several years of experience in the occupation as well as good communication and presentation skills facilitate this move.

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Construction Worker
Job Details

Job Description: Construction workers in the wind industry are responsible for building local access roads and the foundations that support wind turbines. They operate heavy equipment and work to put the wind turbine tower, nacelle, and blade segments together.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Most construction workers learn their trade through short-term on-the-job training. There are generally no formal education requirements, although previous work experience may be preferred. Crane operators and excavating machine operators usually have several years of experience in related occupations.

Routes To Advancement:
Construction Manager - This path is achieved by acquiring skills with years of experience on the job, being aware of management policies, workers' abilities, and union negotiations.

Project Manager - This advance typically requires a bachelor's degree and years of construction experience. Obtaining certification or a master's degree may improve career opportunities.

Transportation Worker - This move requires a high school diploma and appropriate license.

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Operations

Advanced-Level Careers

Attorney
Job Details

Job Description: Attorneys advise and represent individuals, businesses, or government agencies on legal issues or disputes. Attorneys work within each sector of the wind industry, leading and supporting contract negotiation and execution, financing and confidentiality agreements, patents and intellectual property filings, mergers and acquisitions and legal compliance. They may also be involved in litigation procedures or work on regulatory and compliance issues.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Formal requirements to become an attorney usually include a 4-year bachelor's degree, 3 years of law school, and passing a written bar examination. However, requirements may vary by state.

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Asset Manager
Job Details

Job Description: An asset manager develops and maintains financial pro formas used by project developers for preliminary project economic analysis. They lead project financing efforts of each project.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Asset managers usually have a bachelor's degree and more than 5-10 years of experience in another business or financial occupation, such as a commercial loan officer, accountant, auditor, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.

Routes To Advancement:
Finance Manager - Certification and applicable licenses facilitate this move. Knowledge of the project development process is advantageous.

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Mechanical Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. There are many different applications of a mechanical engineer's skills in the wind industry, but they generally research, design, develop, and test tools, machines, and mechanical devices. Mechanical engineers work on wind turbine siting, components and systems, contributing to performance optimization and cost reductions for project developers, manufacturing and operation companies.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Mechanical engineers need a bachelor's degree. A graduate degree is typically needed for promotion into advanced or managerial positions.

Routes To Advancement:
Site/Plant Manager - Obtaining current occupation job experience in the industry field and possibly some additional business coursework or management training specific to an organization support this move.

Project Engineer - Obtaining experience as an on-site engineer and demonstrated expertise in project management facilitates this move.

Technical Trainer/Instructor - This move may require certification as a technical trainer. Having several years of experience in the occupation as well as good communication and presentation skills facilitate this move.

Research Engineer - To achieve this position, a master's degree in respective field is preferable. Work experience is advantageous, however entry level research engineers may not need more than an Engineering degree.

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Electrical Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of turbines' electrical components, including electric motors, machinery controls, lighting and wiring, generators, communications systems, and electricity transmission systems.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Electrical engineers must have a bachelor's degree. Employers also value practical experience, so graduates of cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn academic credit for structured work experience, are valuable as well.

Routes To Advancement:
Site/Plant Manager - Obtaining current occupation job experience in the industry field and possibly some additional business coursework or management training specific to an organization support this move.

Project Engineer - Obtaining experience in this occupation and/or years of construction work facilitates this move.

Power Systems/Transmission Engineer - Years of experience would support this move.

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Quality Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Quality Engineers work with manufacturers, developers, project managers and many others within each sector of the wind industry. They work with quality assurance and quality control teams to develop processes, test procedures and implement systems that ensure the products and processes fulfill quality standards, meet safety regulations, and satisfy client expectations.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Quality engineers need a bachelor's degree in an engineering field, plus experience. Professional certifications may be required.

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Mid-Level Careers

Site/Plant Manager
Job Details

Job Description: Wind plant managers oversee the systems that generate and distribute electric power. They direct all wind plant operations for maintenance and repair, safety, performance, and profitability. They manage all wind plant employees, contractors, and equipment support teams, and are responsible for insuring the smooth operation of wind plant activities. They support and maintain public and landowner relationships, and address community, local government, and regulatory body concerns.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Wind plant managers need at least a high school diploma and years of experience in renewable energy, mechanical, electrical, field service management or related fields. College or vocational school degrees may be preferred. Experience working at a wind plant, in system operations, performing maintenance on rotating or electrical equipment, exposure to high voltage maintenance and switching, plant SCADA systems, large mechanical equipment and computerized maintenance management systems is a plus.

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Environmental Science Technician
Job Details

Job Description: The environmental science technician is responsible for conducting surveys, counting various species of concern, as well as monitoring species, habitat interaction and behavior changes as a result of proposed actions.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Most environmental science technicians need an associate's degree or two years of postsecondary training. New technicians are often trained on the job by more experienced environmental science technicians.

Routes To Advancement:
Environmental Scientist - A bachelor's degree in earth science or related field supports a move to entry-level positions. Obtain a master's degree for more advanced positions.

The black line that leads to this job represents a career transition from outside the industry. Typically, moves from other industries into the wind industry are lateral moves, and they may require some wind-specific training.

To enter the wind industry requires demonstrated knowledge of environmental science and technical skills.

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Entry-Level Careers

Wind Technician
Job Details

Job Description: Wind technicians install, inspect, maintain, operate, and repair wind turbines. Wind technicians area capable of diagnosing and fixing any problem that could cause the turbine to be shut down unexpectedly or fail to operate properly.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Most wind turbine service technicians learn their trade by attending a technical school. After completing a two-year technical program, employers usually provide on-the-job training, typically lasting over 12 months.

Routes To Advancement:
Technical Trainer/Instructor - This advance may require certification as a technical trainer. Having several years of experience in the occupation as well as good communication and presentation skills facilitate this move.

Training and Development Manager - This advance may require additional education such as acquiring a bachelor's degree or certification. Having several years of experience in the occupation as well as good communication and presentation skills facilitate this move.

Mechanical Engineer - This move would require a bachelor's degree in Engineering.

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Meteorological Technician
Job Details

Job Description: Meteorological technicians are employed to install, maintain, relocate and decommission meteorological towers and equipment used to capture information about the potential wind resource at identified locations.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Most companies require meteorological technicians to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Candidates with some education or experience in engineering or a related technical field may be preferred.

Routes To Advancement:
Wind Technician - Field experience and wind technician certification are necessary for this move.

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Education, Training, and Research

Advanced-Level Careers

Professor
Job Details

Job Description: Professors instruct students in academic and vocational subject beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books. Professors that focus on wind energy may teach wind and renewable energy-related courses in the fields of engineering, policy, business, economics, social sciences, and other subjects at college and universities. University-level instructors often conduct their own research, direct wind energy research centers or institutes, and publish literature relating to wind-generation electricity.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Educational requirements vary with the subject taught and the type of educational institution. Most commonly, professors must have a Ph.D. However, a master's degree may be enough for some instructors at other types of colleges.

Routes To Advancement:
Environmental Scientist - No additional academic or training is required. Demonstrated expertise in the environmental science field.

Engineering Manager - Relevant engineering degree, with demonstrated management experience. Typically this move would be made by a professor who has done research on component manufacturing.

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Research Scientist
Job Details

Job Description: Research scientists work with government, academic institutions, manufacturers and other sectors of the wind industry to plan, manage and conduct research projects and develop scientific approaches and solutions to industry challenges.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Research scientists need a bachelor's degree in a closely related field for most positions. Usually, a master's degree or a Ph.D is preferred.

Routes To Advancement:
Professor - A Ph.D. is necessary. Gain several years of experience in current occupation. Teaching experience is advantageous. Academic departments may require candidate to have their own funding sources.

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Research Engineer
Job Details

Job Description: Research engineers work with government, academic institutions, manufacturers and other sectors of the wind industry to plan, manage and conduct projects to develop and assess new wind turbine technologies and processes that produce the most electricity at the lowest cost. Researchers in component manufacturing study cutting edge technologies and invent new processes or components helpful in wind power technology.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Research engineers must have a bachelor's degree. Employers value practical experience, e.g., cooperative engineering programs, prior work experience, or internships.

Routes To Advancement:
Professor - Obtain a doctoral degree. Gain several years of experience in current occupation, publish articles in peer reviewed journals. Teaching experience and obtaining a funding source for the position will help facilitate this move.

Design Engineer - To achieve this position, gain experience in current occupation and the industry field.

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Analyst and Researcher
Job Details

Job Description: Government, academic, and industry researchers test wind turbine technology, study wind power systems, research wind energy costs, study the domestic and international wind power markets and workforces, and explore ways to improve technology, acceptance and understanding of wind power systems. Researchers publish and disseminate their findings by attending conferences, meetings, reports, and advising decision-makers.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. A bachelor's degree is required for entry level positions. Researchers can also be students, recent graduates, or people changing careers who participate in internships.

Routes To Advancement:
Research Scientist - To achieve this position, hold a graduate degree in respective field and have work experience in field of study. Publications in peer reviewed journals are often required.

Research Engineer - Obtain a bachelor's degree in engineering as well as several years of experience in the industry to support this move.

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Training and Development Manager
Job Details

Job Description: Training and development managers plan, direct, and coordinate programs to enhance the knowledge and skills of an organization's employees. They oversee a staff of training and development specialists as well as a budget.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Training managers need a combination of education and related work experience. Although training and development managers need a bachelor's degree for many positions, some jobs require a master's degree.

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Mid-Level Careers

Technical Trainer/Instructor
Job Details

Job Description: Technical trainers and instructors educate people in wind industry topics. Courses cover a broad range of topics, from general education on wind and renewable energy, safety, regulatory and technology issues, and may involve hands-on instruction. Technical trainers and instructors may teach single courses as well as semester-long wind-power-related classes. Instructors at community or technical colleges may also teach additional career skills to help students earn a certificate or an associate degree, preparing them for a specific job such as a wind technician.

Career transitions are related to experience and education. Although technical trainers/instructors typically need a bachelor's degree, some may enter the occupation with a high school diploma and relevant experience or an associate's degree. Technical trainers/instructors need work experience in the subject they teach. Requirements for licensing and certification vary by state.

Routes To Advancement:
Training and Development Manager - This advance may require additional education such as acquiring a bachelor's degree and several years of experience.

Professor - Obtaining a Ph.D. and years of experience in the current occupation facilitate this move. Publications in peer reviewed journals are often required. Academic departments may require applicant to have their own funding sources.

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Entry-Level Careers

No entry-level education, training, and research careers are listed.