Engineering heads list of fastest-growing green jobs

According to a story in NWjobs by Randy Woods, of all the miracle cures that have been proposed to heal the nation's economy in the past few years, the so-called “clean tech” industry may be the most disappointing so far. Countless “green” companies endorsed a bright future, full of silent windmills, shiny solar panels, and clean-burning biofuels that would pull us out o...
October 1, 2009

According to a story in NWjobs by Randy Woods, of all the miracle cures that have been proposed to heal the nation’s economy in the past few years, the so-called “clean tech” industry may be the most disappointing so far. Countless “green” companies endorsed a bright future, full of silent windmills, shiny solar panels, and clean-burning biofuels that would pull us out of the recession.

In reality, it’s clear that the capital needed to jump-start these massive energy projects and create new jobs is far steeper than we first imagined. Until banks are willing to loosen up credit, many of these grand projects will remain on the drawing board for some time.

The trend can be seen in the latest findings by occupational expert and author Laurence Shatkin. In his latest book, “200 Best Jobs for Renewing America,” Shatkin analyzes six industry sectors that he says will lead a shift toward a “forward-looking economy”—education, infrastructure, health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, and green technology—and identifies sectors that have the fastest-growing and best-paying jobs in the nation.

In the green technology sector, Shatkin found that many of the new jobs are in the construction industry as property owners look for ways to reduce energy and operational costs. Here are the top 10 green jobs, in terms of nationwide growth, highlighted in Shatkin’s book:

  1. Environmental Engineers. Growth: 25.4%; average annual earnings: $72,350

  2. Environmental Scientists and Specialists. Growth: 25.1%; average annual earnings: $58,380

  3. Geoscientists. Growth: 21.9%; average annual earnings: $75,800

  4. Industrial Engineers. Growth: 20.3%; average annual earnings: $71,430

  5. Construction and Building Instructors. Growth: 18.2%; average annual earnings: $48,330

  6. Construction Managers. Growth: 15.7%; average annual earnings: $76,230

  7. Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters. Growth: 10.6%; average annual earnings: $44,090

  8. Carpenters. Growth: 10.3%; average annual earnings: $37,660

  9. First-line Supervisors/Managers of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers. Growth: 9.1%; average annual earnings: $55,950

  10. Electricians. Growth: 7.4%; average annual earnings: $44,780