Workforce & Training

Consider a Career in the Clean Energy Industry

Table of Contents

 

The clean energy industry is growing quickly, and jobs along with it. Here's what you can do on this page:

  1. Learn about the state of clean energy jobs
  2. Explore careers across clean energy sectors
  3. Find training programs to meet your goals
 

MN Clean Energy Jobs Numbers

Get to work

 

Careers

So you've heard that clean energy jobs are among the fastest growing in Minnesota and nationwide, but what are the jobs exactly? Let's explore several career paths across energy efficiency, renewable energy, and more.

 

This is a very viable career to get into. It’s not going to fall through anytime soon. It’s a big market, and I’d like to see more diversity in the market as well.

Leon “Tron” Mallett, Crew Leader with IPS Solar

Fastest Growing

Solar Installer

Average pay for a solar installer was $22.52/hour & $46,850/year in 2019 (US BLS)

Wind Technician

Average pay for a wind technician was $27.26/hour & $56,700/year in 2019 (US BLS)

HVAC Mechanic

Average pay for an HVAC mechanic was $24.72/hour & $51,420/year in 2019 (US BLS)

Explore Careers (click to expand)

HVAC Technician

Install or repair heating, central air conditioning, or refrigeration systems, including oil burners, hot-air furnaces, and heating stoves.

  • Education: Vocational training
  • Pay: $21.54 to $40.94 per hour
  • Certifications: Various

Learn more

Electricians & Lighting

Install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures. Ensure that work is in accordance with relevant codes. May install or service street lights, intercom systems, or electrical control systems.

  • Education: Vocational training
  • Pay: $26.24 to $45.35 per hour
  • License: Electrician

Learn more

Insulation Installers

Line and cover structures with insulating materials. May work with batt, roll, or blown insulation materials.

  • Education: Less than high school
  • Pay $17.90 to $25.21 per hour
  • License: Asbestos

Learn more

Energy Engineers

Design, develop, or evaluate energy-related projects or programs to reduce energy costs or improve energy efficiency during the designing, building, or remodeling stages of construction. May specialize in electrical systems; heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems; green buildings; lighting; air quality; or energy procurement.

Learn more

Architects

Plan and design structures, such as private residences, office buildings, theaters, factories, and other structural property.

  • Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Pay: $36.75 to $56.27 per hour
  • License: Architecture
  • Certifications: LEED

Learn more

Construction

Perform tasks involving physical labor at construction sites. May operate hand and power tools of all types: air hammers, earth tampers, cement mixers, small mechanical hoists, surveying and measuring equipment, and a variety of other equipment and instruments. May clean and prepare sites, dig trenches, set braces to support the sides of excavations, erect scaffolding, and clean up rubble, debris and other waste materials. May assist other craft workers.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Pay: $18.67 to $35.95 per hour
  • Certifications: Various, depending on specialty

Learn more

Energy Auditors

Conduct energy audits of buildings, building systems, or process systems. May also conduct investment grade audits of buildings or systems.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Pay: $27.12 to $45.37 per hour
  • Certification: Home Energy Auditor

Learn more

Weatherization Technician

Perform a variety of activities to weatherize homes and make them more energy efficient. Duties include repairing windows, insulating ducts, and performing heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) work. May perform energy audits and advise clients on energy conservation measures.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Pay: $25.22 to $38.08 per hour

Learn more

Solar Photovoltaic Installers

Assemble, install, or maintain solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on roofs or other structures in compliance with site assessment and schematics. May include measuring, cutting, assembling, and bolting structural framing and solar modules. May perform minor electrical work such as current checks.

Learn more

Solar Sales Representatives and Assessors

Contact new or existing customers to determine their solar equipment needs, suggest systems or equipment, or estimate costs.

Learn more

Solar Energy Systems Engineers

Perform site-specific engineering analysis or evaluation of energy efficiency and solar projects involving residential, commercial, or industrial customers. Design solar domestic hot water and space heating systems for new and existing structures, applying knowledge of structural energy requirements, local climates, solar technology, and thermodynamics.

Learn more

Solar Energy Installation Managers

Direct work crews installing residential or commercial solar photovoltaic or thermal systems.

Learn more

Solar Thermal Installers and Technicians

Install or repair solar energy systems designed to collect, store, and circulate solar-heated water for residential, commercial or industrial use.

Learn more

Wind Energy Engineers

Design underground or overhead wind farm collector systems and prepare and develop site specifications.

Learn more

Wind Turbine Service Technicians

Inspect, diagnose, adjust, or repair wind turbines. Perform maintenance on wind turbine equipment including resolving electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic malfunctions.

  • Education: Vocational training
  • Pay: $22.95 to $32.41 per hour

Learn more

Wind Energy Project and Operations Managers

Project Managers lead or manage the development and evaluation of potential wind energy business opportunities, including environmental studies, permitting, and proposals. Operations Managers manage wind field operations, including personnel, maintenance activities, financial activities, and planning.

Learn more

Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers

Assemble or modify electrical or electronic equipment, such as solar panels, inverters, HVAC controls, and more.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Pay: $16.16 to $21.78 per hour
  • Certifications: Various

Learn more

Electrical Lineworkers

Install or repair cables or wires used in electrical power or distribution systems. May erect poles and light or heavy duty transmission towers.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Pay: $34.18 to $46.44 per hour

Learn more

Truck Drivers & Logistics Professionals

Operate trucks to transport wind energy and other renewable energy parts

  • Education: Less than high school
  • Pay: $17.80 to $28.45 per hour

Learn more

Manufacturing Engineers

Design, integrate, or improve manufacturing systems or related processes. May work with commercial or industrial designers to refine product designs to increase producibility and decrease costs.

Learn more

Manufacturing Production

Making any variety of products in a manufacturing facility, like vehicles and HVAC equipment

  • Education: High school diploma or less
  • Pay: $14.04 to $21.30 per hour

Learn more

Biofuels Processing Technicians

Calculate, measure, load, mix, and process refined feedstock with additives in fermentation or reaction process vessels and monitor production process. Perform, and keep records of, plant maintenance, repairs, and safety inspections.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Pay: $31.39 to $38.55 per hour

Learn more

Biofuels Production Managers

Manage biofuels production and plant operations. Collect and process information on plant production and performance, diagnose problems, and design corrective procedures.

  • Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Pay: $42.01 to $73.79 per hour

Learn more

Biomass Plant Technicians

Control and monitor biomass plant activities and perform maintenance as needed.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Pay: $31.39 to $38.55 per hour

Learn more

Power Plant Operators

Control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Includes auxiliary equipment operators.
Education: High school diploma or equivalent

  • $33.43 to $52.57 per hour
  • Certifications: Various

Learn more

Advanced transportation is Minnesota’s third-largest clean energy sector with 3,345 jobs. The manufacture, sale, and maintenance of hybrid electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles dominate the category, and  other sub-sectors include alternative fuels vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.

Advanced grid jobs employ 2,763 Minnesotans. As the fourth-largest clean energy employer in the state, the sector includes jobs in energy storage, smart grid, microgrid, and other grid modernization work.

Spotlight on Diversity

 

When it comes to diversity, Minnesota's clean energy industry can do better.

  • In Minnesota, racial and ethnic minorities make up 34.7 percent of clean energy employees, and women are 27.2 percent of the clean jobs workforce (source).
     
  • CERTs is dedicated to helping, in part, by exploring recommendations from the recent Energy Utility Diversity Stakeholder Group Report to make sure that the energy utility workforce is accessible and available to all Minnesotans.
     
  • Read more about diversity in the solar industry from the Solar Foundation's 2019 U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study.
 

Career videos from Clean Energy Economy MN

Learn more about the Names Behind the Numbers series.

Clean Energy Jobs video by The Power of Minnesota

Learn more about The Power of Minnesota and see other stories.

Time to learn

 

Training

For many of the careers we've highlighted—like electricians, HVAC technicians, construction, engineers, and architects—it's easy to find training near you. Let's look into more specialized training programs in the map and list below.

 

We can’t get enough students in for the job prospects out there. Chances are, they will climb the ladder and get to a top pay scale in a short amount of time.

Gary Olsen, Wind Instructor with Minnesota West Community & Technical College
Program Credits Training Provider Locations
Clean Energy Technician, Certificate 20 Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Cloquet
Energy Technical Specialist, Associate in Applied Science 60 Century College White Bear Lake
Advanced Photovoltaic Energy Systems, Certificate 30 Century College White Bear Lake
Solar Assessor, Certificate 16 Century College White Bear Lake
Solar Sales and Marketing, Certificate 16 Century College White Bear Lake
Solar PV Technician, Certificate 25 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Canby & Jackson
Wind Energy Technology, Associate of Applied Science 60 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Canby
Wind Energy Mechanic, Diploma 34 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Canby
Windsmith, Certificate 16 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Canby & Online
Energy Technical Specialist, Associate in Applied Science 60 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Canby, Granite Falls & Online
Biodiesel Technology, Certificate 18 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls & Online
Ethanol Technology, Certificate 18 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls & Online
Energy Technical Specialist, Associate in Applied Science 60 St. Cloud Technical & Community College St. Cloud
Energy Technical Specialist, Associate in Applied Science 60 South Central College North Mankato
Solar Training Academy NA Midwest Renewable Energy Association Minneapolis & Online
Electrical Apprenticeship NA Minneapolis Electrical JATC St. Michael

Job Board

 

Now you know that energy efficiency and renewable energy are among the fastest growing parts of Minnesota's economy, you can use our MN Clean Energy Job Board to:

  1. Take the next step in your career
  2. Post current job openings
 
Newsletter

Subscribe to get regular updates about job openings