Ever wondered if working in energy is a good idea? Well, you’re not alone, many are asking themselves, “Is energy a good career path?”
We’ll explore the different jobs in the energy field and determine what makes it a smart choice for those looking to build a career.
Why Work in the Energy Industry?
The energy industry plays a crucial role in how we live today. It powers our homes and businesses, fuels transportation, and makes logistics of food and goods possible. We can sustain our modern, interconnected civilization with a continuous energy supply.
The demand for skilled professionals in the energy industry remains strong. Governments worldwide are committed to switching to sustainable, renewable energy sources like solar and wind.
The prospects for entry-level and specialized roles in the energy industry are promising. There are ample opportunities for roles in research and development, policy-making, and engineering.
Energy Sectors, Companies, and Job Types
The energy industry is divided into several sectors, all contributing to the progress of economies worldwide.
Energy Jobs in the Mining Sector
Mining is directly linked to the energy industry since raw materials used for energy production come from mining activities. Without mining, the energy sector wouldn’t have fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, as well as minerals and metals necessary for renewable energy.
Mining in the energy sector offers many job opportunities for engineers, technicians, geologists, safety experts, and environmental scientists.
Mining jobs are available at top U.S. mining companies like Peabody Energy Corporation, Freeport-McMoRan, Alcoa, Newmont Mining, and Southern Copper, among others.
Energy Jobs in the Oil and Gas Drilling Sector
Oil and gas drilling operations are necessary to extract hydrocarbons (components of petroleum and natural gas). Engineers, geologists, geophysicists, rig operators, drilling and well technicians, environmental scientists, and other specialists work together to meet the world’s demand for conventional energy.
The job outlook of this energy subcategory is bright, with top U.S. oil and gas companies like Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, EOG Resources, and Occidental Petroleum leading the market.
Energy Jobs in the Pipeline and Refining Sector
Refining is necessary for raw resources to be usable daily. Pipelines, which serve as the arteries of the energy infrastructure, then transport refined oil and gas over vast distances.
Environmental compliance specialists, pipeline operators, safety inspectors, maintenance technicians, refinery process engineers, and other pipeline and refining specialists work together to ensure oil and gas are processed and transported safely.
The top U.S. pipeline and refining companies are Kinder Morgan Inc and Energy Transfer LP are the top U.S. pipeline and refining companies.
Energy Jobs in the Electrical Power Sector
The electrical power sector is critical to the broader energy industry. It is a complex sector that generates, transmits, and distributes electricity.
In this sector, you can find jobs such as power system operators, electrical engineers, transmission planners, and grid operations analysts.
Career options vary because the electrical power sector encompasses various power-generating methods. These range from traditional fossil fuels to renewable energy sources like hydropower, wind, or solar.
Top electrical power companies in the U.S. include NextEra Energy, Southern Company, Duke Energy, Sempra, American Electric, Dominion Energy, and Exelon.
Energy Jobs in the Renewable Energy Sector
Renewable energy involves harnessing sustainable power from natural resources such as water, wind, sunlight, and geothermal heat. The push to transition to this kind of energy from fossil fuels stems from global efforts to combat climate change.
Because the renewable energy sector is continuously evolving, jobs like energy analysts, wind turbine technicians, solar panel installers, hydroelectric engineers, and renewable energy project developers are in high demand.
To glimpse other possible career options in this field, check the career pages of top U.S. renewable energy companies like Constellation Energy, Duke Energy, and The Southern Company.
Energy Jobs in the Chemicals Sector
The production or processing of chemicals and petrochemicals is crucial for conducting a wide range of operations in the energy sector.
Job examples in the chemical sector include polymer scientists, chemical analysts, chemical plant process operators, and chemical engineers.
Dow Inc., BASF SE, Chevron Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and ExxonMobil are good examples of petrochemical companies that integrate energy and chemicals within their business portfolios.
Best Jobs in the Energy Industry
Here are 10 examples of the best jobs in the energy industry.
Studies Earth’s structure, resources, and environmental impact, often in fieldwork and labs.
- Location/Setting: Fieldwork and labs.
- Requirements: Geoscience degree.
- Average Pay: Around $110,000.
2. Renewable Energy Consultant
Advises on renewable energy strategies and solutions for businesses and organizations.
- Location/Setting: Consulting firms and energy companies.
- Requirements: Knowledge of renewable energy.
- Average Pay: $107,000, often commission-based
3. Civil Engineer
Designs and manages construction projects, ensuring infrastructure durability and safety.
- Location/Setting: Construction sites and offices.
- Requirements: Civil engineering degree.
- Average Pay: Around $102,000.
4. Green Construction Manager
Oversees eco-friendly construction projects, ensuring sustainable practices and materials.
- Location/Setting: Construction sites with green building focus.
- Requirements: Construction management experience.
- Average Pay: $95,000 to $151,000.
5. Drilling Supervisor
Manages drilling operations, ensures safety, and supervises site personnel.
- Location/Setting: On-site at drilling sites.
- Requirements: Experience in drilling operations.
- Average Pay: $93,000.
6. Industrial Engineer
Optimizes processes in manufacturing for efficiency and productivity improvements.
- Location/Setting: Manufacturing facilities.
- Requirements: Engineering degree.
- Average Pay: Around $86,000.
7. Financial Analyst For Renewable Energy Companies
Analyzes financial data, evaluates investments, and provides strategic advice for renewable energy companies.
- Location/Setting: Corporate offices.
- Requirements: Finance degree.
- Average Pay: Around $86,000.
8. Solar Power Plant Operator
Manages and monitors solar power plant operations for optimal energy output.
- Location/Setting: Solar farms.
- Requirements: Technical training.
- Average Pay: Around $67,000.
9. Wind Turbine Service Technician
Maintains and repairs wind turbines for efficient energy production.
- Location/Setting: Wind farms.
- Requirements: Technical degree, certification.
- Average Pay: Around $56,000.
10. Environmental Engineering Technician
Assists in environmental projects, testing, and monitoring to ensure compliance and sustainability.
- Location/Setting: Fieldwork, labs.
- Requirements: Environmental science degree.
- Average Pay: Around $51,000.
Getting a Job in the Energy Industry
To get a job in the energy industry, you need a relevant degree (engineering, environmental science), industry knowledge, safety awareness, regulatory compliance, and sustainability knowledge.
Skills Needed for Energy Careers
Specific skills would vary between roles. Still, if you want to enter the energy sector, you need the following skills:
- Technical proficiency
- Project management
- Data analysis
How to Apply for a Job in the Energy Industry
As with any job, your chances of getting your dream job are higher if you make a plan.
To apply for a job in the energy industry, make sure to:
- Create a targeted resume
- Leverage industry-specific job sites
- Network with professionals in the energy sector
- Apply online
- Be prepared for interviews to showcase your expertise
Pros and Cons of a Career in Energy
Like any industry, energy careers have advantages and disadvantages.
Pros of a Career in Energy
- Impactful contribution: When energy professionals address global climate challenges with sustainable practices, they also shape the future of energy.
- Be at the forefront of innovation: If you’re a part of this sector, you can witness new and cutting-edge technologies.
- Diverse career options and growth: This industry offers many career paths, regardless of having an entry-level or specialist position.
Cons of a Career in Energy
- Environmental impact beyond your control: Some companies may be involved in environmentally unethical issues.
- Market volatility: The energy sector fluctuates during economic shifts, which could affect job stability.
- Regulatory challenges: Laws keep changing, which means you must adapt and continuously learn the industry and legal standards of the job.
Frequently Asked Questions – Is Energy a Good Career Path?
Is Energy a Good Career?
As countries and companies transition to sustainable and renewable energy sources, professionals working in this field will be responsible for shaping the world’s future of energy production and consumption.
This sector offers challenging but fulfilling competitively-paid careers with job security and opportunities for career advancement.
There are also many energy companies with the best benefits, such as Occidental (wellness reimbursements), Devon Energy (matching 401k), Chevron (tuition assistance), Exxon (flexible work arrangements), and others.
What Are Examples of Energy Careers?
Specialized engineering roles play a significant role in the energy sector. Examples include petroleum engineers, renewable energy engineers, nuclear engineers, geotechnical engineers, environmental engineers, and chemical engineers.
Aside from engineers, there is space for various jobs at different skill levels, including safety experts, logistics professionals, skilled labor, manufacturing jobs, project management specialists, research and development analysts, and policy-making experts. These roles are also in demand in the energy sector.
Are There Many Jobs in the Energy Industry?
The energy sector presents diverse job opportunities in conventional and renewable energy, evolving into a technology-driven field that welcomes tech-skilled workers. With over 136,000 jobs available, the industry spans various roles, from labor to engineering and software development. Considering its job stability, competitive pay, and growing demand for renewable energy professionals, the energy industry emerges as a promising career path.
What Is the Highest Salary for an Energy Engineer?
Petroleum engineers are one of the highest-paid engineering jobs in the energy sector. As a petroleum engineer trying to figure out how to make 500k a year, you’d have to look out for supervisory and managerial positions.
If leading isn’t ideal for you, a sales position where you can still use your petroleum engineering background in selling products or services to clients can be a more lucrative career.
Conclusion – Is Energy a Good Career Path?
If you’re wondering whether working in energy is a good choice, the answer is a clear yes. Energy jobs are important and exciting, especially with the world focusing more on eco-friendliness.
There are lots of chances to work on cleaner, greener energy solutions. The energy field is always changing and growing, offering steady jobs and a chance to help the planet.
So, if you’re thinking about a career, going into energy is a smart move for a secure job and a chance to make a real difference.
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Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.