Is Energy a Good Career Path?

By  Danny Newman

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Fact: Energy careers are amongst the most valuable in society.

It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about civil engineers, renewable energy consultants, wind turbine technicians, or industrial machinery mechanics, these guys and gals make the world go round! Without them, we’d lack the expertise, resources, and infrastructure that we rely upon to power our daily lives.

So, it’s fair to say this is a vital career path. But is energy a good career path for you? Keep reading for some key insights, figures, and facts to help you decide.

What Is the Energy Sector?

The energy sector revolves around the extraction, refinement, and distribution of different types of consumable fuels (i.e., energy), such as electricity, gas, and coal.

Digging a little deeper, though, this energy can be either renewable (such as solar, wind, and hydropower) or non-renewable, which is synonymous with fossil fuels (such as natural gas and oil).

Nowadays, due to a growing concern about the effects of global warming, the sector’s focus is shifting to renewables – greener power sources that can satisfy our energy needs without causing as much damage to the planet.

The Energy Sector Job Market

The 2022 U.S. Energy and Employment Report reveals that the energy sector now employs over 7.8 million people – a number that’s only going up.

Indeed, total energy employment rose by 4% between 2020 and 2021 – a rate that was significantly faster than the overall US workforce, which grew by 2.8%.

Interestingly, a sizable chunk of this growth is being driven by renewables. According to the same source: “The Electric Power Generation sector employed 857,579 people in 2021, an increase of 24,006 jobs (+2.9%).” Jobs in solar, wind, and hydropower increased by 5.4%, 2.9%, and 2.2%, respectively – in notable contrast to jobs in coal, which decreased by 0.8%.

Renewables or non-renewables, though, the fact remains that energy’s a thriving industry. So, if you’re looking to work in a robust sector that’s full of opportunities, this one’s certainly a viable option. 

Pros and Cons of a Career in Energy

Yet not everyone makes career choices based on the size of the job market! In this section, we’ll quickly cover a selection of pros and cons of working in energy that may also inform your decision:

Pro: High Pay and Job Security

First and foremost, the energy industry’s notorious for its high-paying salaries. For example, the average annual wage for an American in the oil and gas sector was $94,426 in 2021. The demand for workers equates to good job security as well.

➡️ Recommended Reading: Financial Planning for Energy Industry Professionals

Pro: Variety

As we’ve seen, the energy industry encapsulates a long list of different job areas and disciplines. That means there’s something for everyone. Shop around, and you’re sure to find a role that suits your skills and interests.

Pro: Innovation

This is a fast-paced and innovative industry with ambitious targets. Not only will you be kept busy at all times, but you’ll also have a chance to work on crucial projects that – especially in the renewables sector – are laying the foundations for future generations.

Con: Long Hours

The different areas of the energy sector tend to have one thing in common: long hours, with a good sprinkling of stress thrown in for good measure. This may limit your family and leisure time, putting strain on your well-being and relationships.

Con: Danger

Some careers in energy expose you to physical danger too. Consider mining, for instance, which involves heavy machinery and possible exposure to toxic gases, among others. Oil and gas extraction, working on power lines, and wind turbine maintenance are further examples of roles that carry risks.

Con: Specialised Training

Most higher-paying careers in energy require a college degree, specialist skills, and extensive training. You don’t just walk into these roles! You have to be patient, committed, and willing to invest time and effort into your education to acquire them.

Types of Energy Companies

As you might expect from such a vast and diverse sector, there’s a wide range of energy companies for which you could work. Here are a few common examples that may take your interest:

Mining Companies

You can probably guess what these companies do! Using heavy machinery and lots of manpower, these large-scale operations extract coal and minerals (such as uranium) from the ground that can be transformed into energy.

Mining companies employ all sorts of people, from geologists and engineers to miners, drillers, and truck drivers.

Oil and Gas Companies

These companies drill and frack the ground in a bid to extract oil and natural gas. They’re vast and complex operations that employ huge numbers of employees.

If you like the sound of the oil and gas industry but aren’t interested in the extraction side of things, then take a look at pipeline and refining companies instead. These operations step in once the oil and natural gas have been extracted, turning them into usable products.

Chemical Companies

While you may not associate chemicals with energy, these two industries are actually very closely related. Why? Because the energy sector relies heavily on many of the products made by chemical companies (e.g., fertilizers and plastics).

This helps explain why chemists are often included on lists of energy jobs. These highly-trained individuals understand the chemical reactions that can produce energy via things like combustion and solar power.

Renewable Energy Companies

As we mentioned earlier, renewable energy’s becoming increasingly popular, which means this particular industry is rife with job potential. Companies within the sector work in a variety of areas but share the same goal: to provide the world with clean energy they can harness forever.

Take this career path, and you could be involved in all manner of important projects and rewarding roles. Whether we’re talking about solar, wind, geothermal, or hydropower, new opportunities become available all the time.

Potential Energy Careers to Consider

Last but not least, here’s a list of well-paid energy careers to consider. Use it to spark your curiosity and inform your research into specific roles you wish to pursue.

  • Civil engineer
  • Industrial engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Environmental engineer
  • Geoscientist
  • Environmental science and protection technician
  • Wind farm manager
  • Wind turbine technician
  • Drilling supervisor
  • Solar project manager
  • Solar panel installer
  • Solar engineer
  • Renewable energy consultant
  • Chemist
  • Service unit operator

Is Energy a Good Career Path? You Decide!

We hope this post has been helpful to anyone who’s been asking themselves the question, “is energy a good career path”.

Although the answer will depend on your personal interests, skills, and preferences, there are undeniable incentives to pursue a career in the energy sector. If you like the idea of job stability in a growing industry and being paid a highly competitive salary to work at the forefront of exciting new projects, then it could be ideal.

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About the Author

Danny Newman

I’m a digital nomad from England who loves traveling and has a passion for writing.

To make Wealthtender free for readers, we earn money from advertisers, including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured. This creates a conflict of interest when we favor their promotion over others. Learn more. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers.
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