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Top 10 jobs for energy majors and who’s hiring

Are you an energy major looking for a job? Discover the top 10 jobs and their hiring outlooks in the field of energy.

We all want to help save the planet, right? If you’re a college student or recent grad in an energy-related field, you might do your part by working for a renewable energy company. The clean energy field is booming, so you’ll have plenty of prospects to look forward to.

Many niche fields serve the energy supply chain you can work in, from wind power to photovoltaics (solar energy). There are also many job types within the energy field, from chemical equipment operators to electricians.

So, if you fear heights, you don’t have to install solar panels (yikes). You can work safely in a lab — with both feet on the ground — as a soil and plant scientist instead!

Below, we detail some popular entry-level jobs in the energy space, so you can see what path might be right for you. We highlight energy job opportunities on Handshake to help you start your job search. Explore the top companies hiring in energy, oil and gas here.

Is energy a good career path for you?

If you’re interested in working in energy, you’ll need a few traits. These skill sets can help you thrive in the field and ensure steady career growth:

  • Problem-solving. Critical thinking and analytical abilities will allow you to solve issues, like how to ensure energy forms are sustainable.
  • Communication. Being able to communicate clearly, both verbally and in writing, is helpful, especially when explaining energy topics to people without an energy background.
  • Project management. Many energy professionals work on multiple projects at once. Multitasking and being able to prioritize duties are handy.
  • Teamwork. Energy professionals generally work in large teams and need to be able to collaborate and share information.
  • Leadership. Since energy workers are often in large teams, they need strong leaders. Leadership skills can enhance workforce development and help you rise to the ranks of team leader.

Plenty of opportunities are available if you have the needed skills and qualifications. Data shows the energy sector is growing, especially in renewables, as countries seek to cut carbon emissions and pursue energy transitions to cleaner sources.

Industries where you can build an energy career

Working in energy doesn’t have to mean working for your local electric power provider. There are many energy positions available outside the energy sector. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

  • Government. Government jobs in the energy space range from environmental engineers to water treatment specialists.
  • Hospitality. Businesses like hotels and event spaces need energy pros like electricians to keep the lights on — literally! HVAC technicians are also needed.
  • Agriculture. Agriculture is another major employer in the energy sector, hiring roles like wind turbine technicians and soil and plant scientists.
  • Health care. Even health care hires people in the energy sector! For example, you could work as a hazardous materials removal worker. Other roles range from electricians to HVAC installers — for example, for hospitals or medical labs.

Intrigued by the possibilities? Scroll down to see what companies are hiring in energy on Handshake right now.

Most valuable degrees to earn a job in energy

Energy jobs can be pretty technical, so you may need a degree. These degrees are in demand in the energy industry:

  • Engineering. An engineering degree in a niche like mechanical or electrical engineering is a must-have for an industrial machinery mechanic.
  • Agriculture. A degree in the agricultural sciences is a prerequisite for jobs like plant and soil scientist.
  • Sustainability. A degree in sustainability can prove helpful for various energy-related jobs, from HVAC technician to solar panel installer — anything where energy efficiency is an issue!
  • Technical or vocational degrees. Vocational schools and technical colleges offer certifications for electricians and HVAC professionals, which are usually the first step into these roles.

Beneficial energy certifications

Beyond a basic degree, some additional certifications can help make your cover letter and resume pop if you want to enter the energy sector. Examples include:

  • Certified Energy Manager. A CEM certification gives you the skills to optimize an entire building’s energy performance. Check out the Energy Management Professionals (EMP) certification.
  • LEED professional. This credential teaches the essentials of green energy solutions in various contexts, from construction to community management. The U.S. Green Building Council has options.
  • Certified Sustainable Building Advisor. A CSBA certification gives you the know-how to implement sustainable building practices, from selecting green materials to optimizing energy performance. The World Green Building Council has options.

Who’s hiring in energy on Handshake?

Top 10 entry-level jobs in energy

With the right education, you can look forward to diverse prospects in the energy field. Here are some popular entry-level jobs.

1. Transmission system operator

Transmission system operators (TSO) monitor the operation of high-voltage transmission systems, ensuring ongoing power output. They may check for factors impacting power generation, make adjustments to adapt to changing environmental conditions, and collect data regarding performance issues.

Median salary: $85,192 per year


  • High school degree (associate preferred)
  • Transmission operations experience or construction experience


  • Knowledge of AC/DC theory
  • Proficient in office tools like MS suite
  • Good decision-making skills

2. Wind turbine technician

Wind turbine technicians monitor and service wind turbines and escalate more complex technical issues to engineers. They work in the field, which can mean long days outdoors.

Median salary: $49,920 per year


  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Experience in the mechanical, electrical, or industrial field


  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Independent worker
  • Physical fitness

3. Solar panel installer

These pros assemble and install solar panels on building rooftops and other structures, configuring photovoltaic systems and connecting them to the relevant power grid. They also inspect electrical installation and wiring.

Median salary: $39,520 per year


  • High school diploma or equivalent (vocational/technical training preferred)
  • Previous experience


  • Ability to work at great heights
  • Physically fit
  • Technically adept

4. Water treatment specialist

These experts set up and maintain water treatment equipment and perform water quality tests to ensure water is properly treated. They may also identify and document potential health hazards.

Median salary: $41,600 per year


  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • On-the-job training


  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication abilities

5. Electrician

Electricians install, maintain, and repair lighting, wiring, and control systems in houses, businesses, factories, and more. They may also work as part of construction teams, planning electrical systems for new builds.

Median salary: $47,840 per year


  • Electrical degree from technical/vocational college
  • Apprenticeship completion


  • Safety-conscious
  • Teamwork
  • Communicative

6. Surveying technician

Surveyors use math to measure and mark land boundaries for development. Based on the measurements they take, they calculate a building site’s elevation and dimensions.

Median salary: $41,600 per year


  • Bachelor’s degree in geospatial sciences, geophysics, or similar
  • Surveying license


  • Detail-oriented
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Knowledge of software like AutoCAD

7. Industrial machinery mechanic

Industrial maintenance machinists install and maintain industrial equipment in manufacturing plants, factories, and similar industrial settings. They may also provide preventative maintenance, addressing a range of systems from hydraulic to electrical.

Median salary: $49,920 per year


  • Engineering degree (mechanical, electrical, or similar)


  • Multitasking ability
  • Work well under pressure
  • Physically fit

8. HVAC installer

HVAC maintenance technicians help install and maintain heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. They may also perform emergency repairs and address customer questions, working for businesses or private customers.

Median salary: $37,440 per year


  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Prior experience (like an apprenticeship)


  • Willingness to work outside regular business hours
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work in small spaces

9. Soil and plant scientist

Soil and plant scientists research agricultural products, such as farming crops. They may examine soil composition, assess how soil treatment practices impact plant growth, and develop methods for conserving soil better.

Median salary: $59,541 per year


  • Bachelor’s in agriculture sciences or similar


  • Analytical mindset
  • Detail-oriented
  • Organizational abilities

10. Chemical equipment operator

Chemical operators support production teams — for example, in manufacturing plants — by mixing and processing chemicals. They also record data, troubleshoot equipment issues, and prepare reports to improve workflows.

Median salary: $45,760 per year


  • High school diploma or equivalent


  • Basic computer/information technology skills
  • Teamwork abilities
  • Knowledge of relevant safety regulations

Find the right energy career for you with help from Handshake

The energy field offers plenty of opportunities for people with all levels of education. You can become a solar panel technician with only a high school diploma and some technical training, for example (like a hands-on internship or apprenticeship). Other roles, like surveying technician, require more advanced degrees.

When deciding what path to pursue, educational requirements are only one consideration. Also, consider your preferences, like whether you prefer working at a desk or out in the field.

Get your first experience in energy through the Handshake talent community. Create a profile to get started. Then, scope out job alerts and connect with employers. Start the application process now.


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