Renewable Energy Education: Certification and Degrees

A recent article by Jennifer Runyon, Managing Editor at Renewable Energy, “Tips on Seeking a Renewable Energy Degree”, offers some interesting information on green jobs and education. Reportedly the global clean energy sector will top one trillion dollars by 2020, and according to the Council of Economic Advisers, green jobs pay a premium of 10 to 20% on average over other jobs.

Ms. Runyon offers advice for jobseekers, specifically that jobseekers hone in on the kind of work they want to do prior to deciding on a degree program. To make the transition from traditional energy to clean energy, comprehensive renewable energy knowledge is a necessity. Clean Energy is a pretty broad label covering industries from wind and solar power technologies, smart grid, to green building and ocean energy.

Choosing between a short training program or a degree program should be done based on the type of job a person seeks.  “To become an installer or to go into technical sales, a training program should work well.  However, to become a design engineer for a manufacturer, a degree will probably be required,” said Pat Fox, Director of Operations at the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). “Determining the best educational path depends on the individual, their experience and their interests.” The IREC site offers links to 39 universities with course sin Renewable Energy and 132 training programs in various technologies, and IREC offers an Institute for Sustainable Power Quality (ISPQ) Accreditation for specific programs.

There is a lot of new legislation occurring on the federal, state and local level, and much of it involves jobs,” said Kristen Bacorn, a nationally recognized educator and LEED certified building expert. This is an ideal place to identify what specialized training will be in demand. “The implication for jobseekers is that there will be more demand for green building professionals, such as renewable specialists, commissioning agents, air testing technicians, HVAC engineers, computer modeling experts, green product suppliers and many more”.

Related articles and sites:

Credentials Please, by Austin Bristow

Education pays: More education leads to higher earnings, lower unemployment

Tips on Seeking a Renewable Energy Degree, by Jennifer Runyon

More Universities Offering Master’s Degree Programs in Renewable Energy

The case For Green Jobs, by Joseph R Biden Jr.

Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)

IREC – Link to University Programs in Clean Energy

IREC- Training Programs

IREC – Institute for Sustainable Power Quality Accredited Programs

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