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11 Best Paying Jobs in Energy —Renewable & Conventional

Find out which degrees provide the best paying jobs in energy

Is energy a good career path? That’s a tricky question that should take into account many factors, including personal skills and interests, the best paying energy jobs currently available, and the market for oil and gas jobs, and options for “green” energy careers.

The world needs energy. It needs energy for vehicles, lights, computers, appliances, healthcare equipment, and countless other gadgets, technologies, features, and modern conveniences.

The world also needs professionals who can excel with careers in energy. It needs people who understand the essential principles behind energy; how to take a raw resource and turn it into the movement of a car, heat for a house, or power for a school.

People working in energy come from a wide variety of backgrounds. In any given area, you’ll find software professionals, chemists, engineers, technicians, managers, and more. How many jobs are available in energy? When you consider all the different roles, from accountants to engineers to technicians, the numbers is likely in the millions!

Whether you want to create a new form of energy, improve a current energy resource, or simply manage and lead people in a groundbreaking sector, the right online education can help you launch one of the most successful careers in energy. To work in these exciting and often lucrative jobs, you need the right education, and an online degree can help.

Energy Careers: An Overview

There are many industries for you to choose from, which makes selecting an education exciting, fascinating, and (on occasion) overwhelming. The energy sector, like all the rest, has its positives and negatives, but you will generally find that this is one of the most profitable and promising career fields you can choose. Not only does this career bring excellent pay, but if you select the right area you can enter the best paying jobs in energy and enjoy fantastic career growth. You could also, it should be noted, enter a field that has poor growth; jobs in the nuclear sector and other forms of energy, for a variety of reasons, appear to be on decline.

Is oil & gas production a good career path? Is wind or solar (or both) the energy source of the future? What are the best jobs in energy? Is energy a good career path? How many jobs are available in energy? These are all questions to ask when selecting an online program.

Renewable energies like wind and solar are seeing boost from public opinion and political support, creating some of the best paying jobs in energy. But the gas industry, coal industry, and petroleum sectors all show promise and can bring fantastic salaries for the right people.

Pros & Cons of Careers in Energy

Quite frankly, the pros and cons of energy jobs depend on the specific sector you choose. The oil industry, for example, has many benefits, including high wages for many careers, as well as an established infrastructure continues to sustain the industry. But will it continue? Fossil fuels will certainly be used for decades to come, but there could be a decline, especially as vehicles and facilities use fewer resources to achieve the same result. (The result being propelling a car, warming a house, etc.) Some might also be asking “is oil & gas production a good career path?”. But it appears that it certainly has advantages.

Wind energy is another example of the best jobs in energy. This renewable source of energy could be the future for many parts of the country, especially in the middle regions, such as the Midwestern states. But will it last, or could it be replaced by solar, hydroelectric, or another form of “green” energy. This uncertainty behind various energy sources is one of the downsides.

But, ironically, there is consistency in the fact that we will need some form of energy. If you understand the basic principles of harvesting, storing, distributing, and saving energy, you can rest comfortably knowing there will be some job for you.

Typical Education for Energy Jobs

How many jobs are available in energy? Thousands, possibly millions if you consider all the different types of energy jobs that are currently available.

Careers in energy need a wide variety of professionals to fill numerous roles. From ground-level technicians ensuring smooth performance of equipment, to high-level executives determining the long-term goals for private energy companies, to scientists experimenting on the next generation of energy, there are many roles, which means the educations need to be just as diverse.

At it’s core, engineering is the application of science and math to solve real-world problems. Engineers are commonly associated with large physical objects like bridges and towers, but they also build smaller items like cars, computers, and mobile devices. For energy jobs, engineers are needed to build new equipment, create efficient methods for storing energy, and create better ways to move energy (such as electricity) from one location to another.

Like all industries in the 21st century, careers in energy need people trained in computers, networks, software, and information technologies. Information technology can be used a myriad of ways to create better results for energy use. Data can be applied to find the most efficient or effective method for storing and moving energy, or it can help people communicate with other professionals working in offices or in the field. Data can monitor production, identify safety issues, and determine the best ways to apply energy. The industry will need new applications and its own hardware, which means people in IT and networking will be crucial.

Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc.)

There are many scientific topics that apply to energy jobs. Chemistry is one of the most obvious, as the interaction of different materials can be used to create better processes or lighter and stronger materials. Biology, physics, and many other sciences are also used to enhance the energy sector.

Calculus, geometry, algebra, and many other mathematical disciplines will be used in energy jobs. People with educations in mathematical topics can be used to enhance energy performance, and they will also be needed to ensure energy companies and public works are economically viable.

There will be lots of people working in the energy sector, so managers and leaders will be needed at all levels of the industry. From ground-level managers overseeing small teams to high-level executives, people with business, management, and leadership degrees will have some of the best jobs in energy.

#1 Most Lucrative Job in Energy

Information Systems Manager

Median Salary: $146,360
Education: Bachelor’s
Experience: 5 or more years
Growth: 10%

An information systems manager is a career more associated with software and technology than energy conservation and efficiencies. But if we are going to achieve our goals of reduced energy consumption and environmental responsibility, we need the right technology and data to help us do it. This means tech-sector professionals will be needed right alongside energy engineers and other energy experts.

Information systems managers maintain computer networks and systems. Their work can include uploading software, maintaining security, or improving databases, but as a manager they are often responsible for oversight of technology professionals. The pay for these careers in energy is excellent, but you’ll need lots of experience before earning this position. However, if you work your way into the top 10%, you can expect salaries over $208,000 a year, which makes this one of the best jobs in energy.

Sponsored Pick: Bachelor of Science in Computer & Information Systems from Champlain College

#1 Most Lucrative Job in Renewable Energy

Aerospace Engineer

Median Salary: $116,500
Education: Bachelor’s
Experience: None
Growth: 3%

The majority of aerospace engineers will be directly involved with aircraft, satellites, and spacecraft, but with the growing interest for wind energy, these highly-trained professionals will be needed to create better designs for turbines and other systems. These experts understand the basics of wind resistance, force, efficiency, and other fundamentals that make them crucial for the energy sector.

This is certainly one of the best paying jobs in energy. Professionals in these renewable energy jobs command median salaries of $116,500 annually, while the top 10% can expect earnings over $166,500. To work in these green jobs, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree that includes chemistry, physics, advanced mathematics, computer programming, and more.

Sponsored Pick: Bachelor of Science in Space Studies / Aerospace Science from American Public University System

Best Paying Jobs in Energy

#1 Architectural Manager

Median Salary: $144,830
Education: Bachelor’s
Experience: 5 or more years
Growth: 3%

Creating energy-efficient buildings is becoming more and more important, and architectural engineers help reduce waste by creating buildings that use fewer resources and less energy. They carry many responsibilities that may not include energy (training staff, for example), but make detailed plans, lead research, and check technical accuracy, all of which can be focused toward the reduction of energy use.

This is one of the best paying jobs in energy, and managers can expect median salaries of $144,830 a year. The top 10% in this career can do even better, earning over $208,000 annually. Like most management jobs, you need at least five years of experience, but once you gain this experience you can enjoy these fantastic careers in energy.

Popular Pick: Bachelor of Architecture from Academy of Art University

#2 Petroleum Engineer

Median Salary: $137,720
Education: Bachelor’s
Experience: None
Growth: 3%

Is oil & gas production a good career path? While there are many opinions, it’s certain that this is one of the best paying jobs in energy. It brings a fantastic salary, and you have the chance to work in a career that supports some of the world’s most important vehicles and industrial applications. While the world is moving towards renewable energy jobs, there is still massive job potential for petroleum engineers, especially with a master’s level education.

These oil and gas jobs bring a median salary of $137,720, and the top 10% can expect earnings over $208,000. In this career, you will be responsible for designing oil-extraction equipment, drilling new oil fields, evaluating production methods, and finding newer, safer, and more efficient ways to fill the world’s energy demands.

Popular Pick: Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering from University of Southern California

#3 Chemical Engineer

Median Salary: $108,770
Education: Bachelor’s
Experience: None
Growth: 4%

Using the basic principles of chemistry, biology, math, and physics (among others), chemicals engineers solve problems that include many everyday products, including fuel. From large-scale manufacturing to testing new methods, chemicals engineers are often at the forefront of energy advancement, and the careers can be considered oil and gas jobs or it can apply to renewable energy.

The top 10% in this career earn over $176,090 a year, making this one of the most attractive energy jobs. It certainly has its challenges, and involves countless complex problems, but this is still one of the most interesting positions available.

Popular Pick: Master of Chemical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology

#4 Atmospheric Scientist

Median Salary: $95,380
Education: Bachelor’s
Experience: None
Growth: 6%

The wind-energy industry needs a wide variety of experts, including atmospheric scientists, who can provide advice on the best places and techniques for harvesting wind energy. Atmospheric scientists understand the weather, and they can make predictions that enhance wind energy, making this among the best green jobs.

Both the pay and the growth for these energy jobs are fantastic, and the top 10% can expect salaries over $147,000. You also have the chance to apply your skills to one of the top renewable energy jobs when you work as an atmospheric scientist.

#5 Materials Engineer

Median Salary: $93,360
Education: Bachelor’s
Experience: None
Growth: 2%

Materials engineers perform a variety of functions that make products better. They are involved in everything from tiny computer components to massive infrastructure materials, and they have a deep understanding of metals, ceramics, plastics, and other materials. Many of these engineers create new materials for vehicles, helping to make them lighter and more fuel efficient. Others might be involved with the creation of new housing glass, helping to better trap heat. The applications for a materials engineer toward energy use is virtually limitless.

To become a materials engineer, you need a science-related education that includes chemistry, computer programming, mathematics, and more. All of these will help you excel in this career, where the top 10% can expect earnings over $148,000 with the help of a master’s degree.

Popular Pick: Master of Science in Materials Science & Engineering from Columbia University in the City of New York

#6 Environmental Engineer

Median Salary: $88,860
Education: Bachelor’s
Experience: None
Growth: 3%

These professionals have their hands in a variety of interesting areas, including the proper extraction and use of energy. Performing a variety of tasks from designing projects to monitoring environmental improvements, they help create a safer, cleaner future for the country and for the world.

This career includes recycling, waste disposal, public health, and sustainability, making it an important part of many different aspects of environmental health and energy use. This among the top-paying green jobs, and it’s an exciting area for anyone who wants to enjoy one of the most important renewable energy jobs.

Popular Pick: Master of Environmental Engineering from North Carolina State University at Raleigh

#7 Power Plant Operator, Distributor, & Dispatcher

Median Salary: $85,950
Education: HS Diploma
Experience: None
Growth: -16%

Is energy a good career path? If you look at the salaries for these energy jobs, it would appear the answer is “yes.”

Nuclear power remains an important part of the energy sector, and when handled properly it can be a reliable and safe method for powering cities and facilities all across the world. To ensure the safe use of nuclear energy, we need operators, distributors, and dispatchers.

These professionals, who only need a high school diploma and the appropriate training, can earn a high income. While previous experience is not required, there will be extensive testing and on-the-job training for this career. The top 10% in this field can expect salaries over $117,000, but there will be a significant decline due to an increase in power-generation from a single plant (one plant can create enough power, so less staff is needed) as well as smart-grid technology that may eliminate careers for distributors.

#8 Nuclear Technician

Median Salary: $82,080
Education: Associate’s
Experience: None
Growth: -19%

Trained in special equipment, nuclear technicians work in energy production by monitoring levels of radiation to maintain a safe environment. They monitor equipment performance, test air, water, and soil samples, measure radiation, and perform many other task to improve nuclear energy, making this one of the most crucial energy jobs.

To become a nuclear technician, you will need at least an associate’s degree in nuclear science or a related field. The education usually comes from a technical institute, although many technicians have experience from the U.S. Navy, which employs nuclear energy for a variety of purposes. The pay can be high, but this career will also decline due to increased efficiencies and changing technologies.

Popular Pick: Associate in Applied Science in Nuclear Technology from Lakeshore Technical College

#9 Agricultural Engineer

Median Salary: $80,720
Education: Bachelor’s
Experience: None
Growth: 2%

You may not think agriculture and energy are two separate topics, but with the emergence of biofuels, one could easily argue that an agricultural engineer is an energy job. In this career, the overall goal is to create more with less. This means working with machinery, structures, power supplies, and environmental issues to create the best possible results.

In these energy jobs, you will use computer software, testing procedures, management skills, and more, so advanced training is often required. Most engineers complete courses in calculus, physics, and chemistry, but classes in business, public policy, and economics will also be helpful.

Popular Pick: Master of Biological & Agricultural Engineering from North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Take the First Step for the Best Paying Energy Jobs

Is energy a good career path? With the right education, it certainly can be! You deserve to work in one of the best paying jobs in energy! Visit our accredited degree database today and we’ll help you choose the degree that fits your career goals, budget, and schedule.

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