The energy industry is one of the most stable in the U.S., and jobs in that field are growing. If you're transitioning soon or need a change of speed in terms of employment, check out these top in-demand energy jobs, inspired by The Business Journals. Aside from job security and job growth, the energy industry also provides a wide variety of positions. Whether you've earned a high school diploma or aim to obtain a master's degree, there are plenty of jobs available suited to every level of education.
1. Mechanical Engineer – One of the broadest categories of engineer is also the most in-demand in the energy industry. Mechanical engineers enjoy a wealth of specializations to choose from, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in general they all research, design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal devices. In relation to the energy industry, they focus on devices that produce power such as generators, engines, and turbines. This position requires extensive education, so prepare for the long haul if you plan on entering the field.
2. Field Service Technician – If you enjoy working with machines, solving problems, and getting your hands dirty, becoming a field service technician may be the right way to go. These professionals are experts at maintaining and repairing advanced hardware to keep the energy industry running smoothly. These positions typically require at least a certification, and require hours of training on the job. Field service technicians generally need to travel, and their workdays are usually unique from day to day.
3. Production Operator – Much like the manufacturing industry, the energy industry is in need of production operators. Working a production line might not seem glamorous, but it does provide steady income and is a generally stable occupation. Fortunately, an advanced degree is not required to secure this type of position. A certification may be required by some employers, but depends on the company and type of production job available.
4. Maintenance Technician – Maintenance technicians are much like field service technicians except that they are usually fixed to one site and specialize in providing consistent maintenance. Of course, diagnosing issues with hardware and administering repairs is part of the job, but they usually focus on fixed pieces of hardware over a long period of time. These positions usually require a high school diploma, and sometimes require a specific type of certification.
5. Heavy Machinery Operator – Engineering projects sometimes require heavy machinery to complete. From excavators to front loaders and more, these machines require far more skill to operate than any car on the road. If you enjoy the idea of sitting behind the wheel of a giant, heavy piece of equipment, make sure you get the right certifications and have a solid grasp on proper safety protocols.
6. Mechanic – If you love automotive vehicles, fixing things, and getting dirty, becoming a mechanic might be the right path for you. Because autos integrate advanced computing components into their structure, working as a mechanic is not as simple as it used to be. Fortunately, the basics of car repair aren't all that different, and all it usually takes to become one is obtaining the right certification. Mechanics can specialize in certain parts of an auto or on certain makes, but a key part of the job is learning new things as you advance your career.
7. Petroleum Engineer – Fossil fuels still power a huge portion of the U.S. , and petroleum engineers specialize in getting them out of the earth and using them. Whether it's oil or gas, these fuels are very difficult to access. It requires literal feats of engineering to safely test, access, and extract from wells. Petroleum engineers tend to specialize in completions, drilling, production, or reservoirs. This job does require an advanced degree and a strong interest in advanced math and science.
8. Geologist – Accessing fossil fuels is one thing, but finding them in the first place is another issue altogether. Geologists, sometimes known as geoscientists, analyze a plethora of data to determine the location and viability of different types of gas and oil wells. Although there are plenty of other focuses geologists can take, this is their most common function in the energy industry. This position does require many years of higher learning, but the reward includes high income and steady, interesting work.
9. Quality Assurance/Quality Control Inspector – The energy industry runs on heavy, expensive, and advanced, and sometimes dangerous equipment. Rather than leave everyone's safety up to chance, quality assurance and quality control inspectors ensure that all equipment is built to operational and safety standards. The specific nature of the work depends on the type of equipment or goods being monitored, but all positions require certain licenses or certifications, and prior experience with lab work or vocational training will strengthen a resume.
10. Electrical Engineer – The energy industry isn't just limited to producing and refining fuel. Electrical engineers play a major role in maintaining electrical systems. Specifically, they design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment. This type of work requires a four-year degree, but a masters will help give you a leg up on competition. This career path is suited for those who have a passion for science and math.