What Training and Degree Do You Need to Work in Renewables?
Renewable energy is a growing industry. Especially in the U.S., where 48 of 55 large investor-owned utilities have committed to reducing carbon emissions, there is a boom in demand for people with expertise in renewable energies. If you have a desire to work in a growing field that might also help to save the planet, you’ll want a degree that will teach you about new—and old—energy management.
Degrees to Work in Renewable Energy
- Energy Management: A bachelor’s degree in energy management integrates business principles with the energy industry. You develop the skills needed to find employment in energy production, energy trading, and sustainability.
- Chemistry: If you are more interested in science, then consider a degree in chemistry. This prepares you for a more technical career in energy research.
- Engineering: Certain engineering degree programs prepare you for a renewable energy career. Like chemistry, engineering degrees are practical if you are interested in a technical career.
- MBA: Do you already have a bachelor’s degree? Earning an MBA can be a next step towards a renewable energy career. You will gain the management expertise to lead in a growing field.
Although there are multiple degree and career pathways, if you really want to embark on a renewable energy career, an energy management program can provide you with well-rounded knowledge.
What Is Energy Management?
Commercial and residential buildings create 13% of greenhouse gas emissions, only 16 percentage points behind the worst culprit: transportation. That’s why managing energy consumption in buildings has become such a big business. Energy management is how you plan, track, evaluate, and optimize energy consumption in buildings. It involves the collection and analysis of data and research into the best practices available for individual buildings. Those practices can include the use of ecofriendly insulation and systems and they might also rely on a range of clean energy producers including wind, solar, hydroelectric, or geothermal.
What Will I Learn in an Energy Management Degree Program?
Energy Management: As the foundation to your knowledge, you’ll be introduced to the energy industry and the dynamics of worldwide energy consumption. You’ll learn about the history of the energy industry and analysis of current and relevant issues within the energy management industry. You’ll learn about energy practices that can help increase efficiency and avoid the release of pollutants into the environment. A course in energy management will cover conventional sources of energy such as oil and gas, as well as renewables. You will also learn how to conduct an energy audit and study techniques to lower energy use.
- Energy Science: To work in renewable energy, you need a deep understanding of the science behind energy. A course that explains the principles related to energy and its various forms will help you gather this information. You’ll learn about key areas of energy science, such as fossil fuels, biomass, nuclear energy, renewable energy, and emerging energy technologies. You also come to understand how global energy demand affects competitive renewable energy supplies.
- Sustainability: You will learn about sustainability theory and practice, including population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, ethics, and cultural history. You will discuss how we can cope with climate change and limited resources such as water and available farmland. You’ll learn about how to collect and analyze data regarding carbon footprint and demographics and how to put your knowledge to use in the real world. For example, you might learn how to assess the best areas to locate wind turbines or solar energy panels or decide where to build a new school or office building to take advantage of sub-surface geothermal energy sources. You will also analyze science topics such air pollution, the carbon cycle, and water and energy conservation.
- Energy Policy: A course in energy policy will address issues such as the best ways to curb carbon emissions by increasing prices on fossil fuels vs. subsidizing low carbon energy. It will also cover how the methods we employ to produce and use energy have major implications on the economy, energy security, and climate change.
In addition to coursework in Energy Management, your degree program should provide you with core courses and business classes in accounting, finance, and human resource management.
Renewable Energy and Management Career Outlook
There are many career directions you can take in the Renewable Energy sector. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in renewable energy are expected to grow much faster than average through 2029. Large manufacturers and heavy industries such as steel production are big energy users, so these types of companies hire their own energy managers who are knowledgeable about Renewable Energy. Others in Renewable Energy Management work for colleges and universities to improve their energy efficiencies, or for federal and state government agencies that want to conserve energy at military bases or government office buildings.
At National American University, we offer a Bachelor’s degree in Energy Management that will help prepare you for a rewarding career. Do you already have some experience or a certificate in a business or science field? You may be able to transfer those credits to your degree program so you can start ahead. Call 800-209-0182 to speak to a counselor or hit learn more for additional information.