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Green jobs create new opportunities for workers in traditional industries as well as for workers seeking employment in newly created industries in technology and the environment. If you are seeking a green career path, you can have an opportunity to make a difference by pursuing a job that can help create a more efficient, renewable and sustainable world. This article will cover what green jobs are, why they are important and a variety of examples so you can find the right green job for you.

What is a green job?

Green careers, also called green-collared jobs, are jobs across a range of industries, such as manufacturing, farming and construction that contribute to restoring or preserving the environment. Although many green jobs exist in traditional industries, they are also part of new industries such as renewable energy. Green careers might be entry-level jobs that offer career mobility, such as Recycling Technician or Construction Worker, or they could be higher-level positions that require more education and experience, such as Wastewater or Nuclear Engineer.

Best green jobs in renewable energy

Here is a list of the best green jobs if you are pursuing a career in solar power:

Wind Turbine Technician

National Average Salary: $23.09 per hour

Role and Responsibilities: This professional is responsible for installing and repairing wind turbine components. Their typical duties include installing, testing and repairing mechanical, electrical and hydraulic wind turbine systems.

Solar Installer

National Average Salary: $19.46 per hour

Role and Responsibilities: A Solar Installer’s main role is to install and repair solar panels. Their day-to-day duties include giving estimates according to what customers need, reading blueprints to fit the structure of a house and installing and repairing solar panels.

Best green jobs for scientists

Here are the best green jobs for a science career:

Industrial Hygienist

National Average Salary: $77,580 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Industrial Hygienists keep industrial and manufacturing plants safe from health and industrial hazards. Also called Industrial Hygiene Chemists, they monitor manufacturing sites for hazards such as high noise levels, dangerous chemicals, radiation levels, industrial waste in the form of toxic sludge, metal shavings and dust and glass particles.

Ecologist

National Average Salary: $74,573 per year

Role and Responsibilities: An Ecologist is someone who studies the relationships between the environment and the organisms that live there. There are many different subdisciplines in ecology. For example, Aquatic Ecologists study marine or freshwater animals, and Community Ecologists study how species, including humans, interact with one another and the environment.

Environmental Scientist

National Average Salary: $70,012 per year 

Role and Responsibilities: Environmental Scientists evaluate the environmental health of an area by collecting samples from the environment, such as water and soil, looking for toxins in the samples. They present their findings in scientific reports to advise policymakers, businesses and the public. These reports help develop strategies to reduce pollution and other problems in the environment.

Best green jobs for engineers

Here are the best green jobs you can pursue in the field of engineering:

Software Engineer

National Average Salary: $106,816 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Software Engineers use the principles of computer science, engineering, programming languages and mathematical analysis to design, develop and test computer software such as games, operating systems, network control systems and business applications.

Sustainability Engineer

National Average Salary: $93,172 per year

Role and Responsibilities: A Sustainability Engineer is responsible for delivering sustainable, low-energy design projects. They help develop solutions for carbon emissions, provide recycling and reuse solutions and promote industry remanufacturing. Sustainability Engineers also provide advice to help create low-energy designs for businesses and industries and collect data to prepare research papers on the feasibility of low and zero-carbon technology.

Nuclear Engineer

National Average Salary: $92,691 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Nuclear Engineers research and develop the systems, instruments and processes that derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation, such as finding medical and industrial uses for radioactive materials or developing nuclear power sources. They also monitor nuclear facility operations for violations of safety laws and regulations, taking corrective actions or ordering shutdowns when needed.

Wastewater Engineer

National Average Salary: $88,954 per year

Role and Responsibilities: These Engineers conduct inspections of wastewater systems. They evaluate wastewater systems for municipalities and manufacturing businesses to make sure they comply with local, state and federal regulations, codes, permits, statutes and engineering standards. They identify and advise property owners if their wastewater systems need maintenance.

GIS Analyst

National Average Salary: $60,154 per year

Role and Responsibilities: GIS Analysts use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to analyze geographic and spatial data. GIS software is used for overlaying maps and datasets in spatial relationship to each other. A GIS allows Analysts to load different layers for mountains and plains, for example. GIS skills are useful for mapping and planning environmental areas such as wetlands, forests and urban green areas like parks as well as situating businesses in an environmentally safe way to keep habitats clear of pollution.

Urban Planner

National Average Salary: $62,024 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Urban Planners develop plans for land use. They help plan communities such as towns, cities, counties and metropolitan areas to accommodate growth and keep the environment clean. Some of their responsibilities include gathering and analyzing economic and environmental studies and demographics. They also conduct field investigations for issues that affect land use, and they’re responsible for staying up to date on zoning and building codes and environmental regulations.

Best green jobs in agriculture

Here are the best green jobs if you are pursuing a career in agriculture:

Agriculture Specialists 

National Average Salary: $54,176 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Agriculture Specialists provide help and advice to Farmers and livestock owners. They work with many aspects of agriculture and the environment, such as cultivation and harvesting, the health of soil and water, crop choice and rotation and animal husbandry. Some duties of Agriculture Specialists are analyzing agricultural data, preparing research reports, finding funds for research and informing Farmers and agriculture business owners about complying with environmental pollution-control laws and regulations.

Environmental Technician

National Average Salary: $17.24 per hour

Role and Responsibilities: An Environmental Technician, also known as a Conservation Technician, is responsible for preserving the environment. Their duties may include surveying land, taking water and soil samples, marking trees, removing non-native plant species and noting the condition of wildlife in the environment.

Best green jobs in recycling and waste management

Here are the best green jobs for recycling and waste management careers:

National Average Salary: $14.21 per hour

Role and Responsibilities: Refuse Collectors safely remove and transport waste to disposal sites from residential homes, businesses and industrial plants.

Recycling Worker

National Average Salary: $12.62 per hour

Role and Responsibilities: Recycling Workers sort and prepare materials that have been collected for recycling into separate bins for metals, glass, wood, plastic and paper. They also identify and remove hazardous substances such as chemicals and dismantle recyclables such as appliances into smaller parts.

Popular skills and qualifications to list on a resume for green jobs

While every job is different, here is a list of popular skills and qualifications you can list on your resume when applying for green jobs:

Specialized skills

Specialized skills are technical skills that are needed to be successful in a specific role. Examples of specialized skills include knowledge of how energy systems work, data analysis, project management, chemistry and mechanics.

Communication skills

Communication skills, such as communicating technical ideas to scientists, business owners and the public, are essential for individuals who pursue green jobs. Green workers must know how to speak on a technical level as well as a more simple level that is easier to understand in order to advise and inform people with varying levels of technical vocabulary.

Transferable skills

The ability to transfer hard and soft skills developed through other experiences is essential for working in a green job. Career flexibility like this allows you to use new technology and resources to improve existing skills.