A job in energy is currently a hot commodity, with job growth and wages on the rise. As a veteran, your time in the service gives you an advantage on the job market, and many vets have skills well-suited for the energy sector. Follow along with this list of five energy jobs for veterans, and see if a career in energy is a good fit for your skills.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)*||Level of Education Needed||Applicable Military Skills/Traits|
|Geological and Petroleum Technician||$56,470||16%||Associate's degree||Environmental knowledge, work with machinery, collating data|
|Wind Turbine Technician||$52,260||96%||Technical certificate||Troubleshooting, maintenance of complex machinery|
|Industrial Engineer||$84,310||10%||Bachelor's degree||Critical thinking, troubleshooting|
|Solar Photovoltaic Installer||$39,240||105%||High school diploma or equivalent||Physical labor, electrical engineering|
|Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager||$127,560||9%||Bachelor's degree||Communication, critical thinking, ability to work with a team|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Jobs in Energy for Veterans
There are jobs in energy that require many different skills, whether it's the ability to work physical labor, communicate with others, or maintain machinery. A veteran looking for a career in energy should be able to find a good fit regardless of skill-set.
Geological and Petroleum Technician
Though green energy jobs are on the rise, petroleum is still going strong, and geological and petroleum tech is a lucrative and growing field that could fit well with a veteran's skill-set. A geological and petroleum technician must know about the environment they work in, to be able to tell whether the rock they are working with could contain oil or natural gasses that can be converted into energy. Other times, the technician may have to analyze data collected by a co-worker, so the ability to think critically with a set of data is also a useful skill to have. If a member of the Army is interested in a future in geological and petroleum tech, a good place to start now would be as an Army Petroleum Supply Specialist, a position working with the Army's oil and gas supply that would be a good foot in the door for a future in the industry.
Wind Turbine Technician
A service member or veteran looking for a more green, renewable energy career would do well to consider working in the wind power industry. Wind power is currently experiencing a job growth explosion, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a 96% increase in available jobs between 2016 and 2026. A veteran who prefers to work with machinery would find a career troubleshooting and maintaining wind turbines to be fulfilling, and the bright outlook on job growth means that job security is safe for a long time to come. A wind turbine technician is also a good choice for a vet who isn't interested in attending a university; education is typically done through a technical school, which tends to be quicker than a university education, often taking 2 years to complete instead of 4.
A career as an industrial engineer would be a good choice for a vet who is looking to clean up pre-existing energy industries. An industrial engineer is all about efficiency: they seek to make energy consumption, machinery, and personnel all run smoother, so a good industrial engineer has a head for planning and troubleshooting. People skills learned in the military would also help, since an industrial engineer deals with co-workers daily. There is currently a gap between the average person's engineering skills and what employers are looking for; a veteran who spent time working with machines in the service will have a leg up on the competition for jobs like industrial engineering, as they will look more attractive to employers.
Solar Photovoltaic Installer
Like wind power, solar energy is a career with a tremendous amount of potential. A solar photovoltaic installer, also called a PV installer, is responsible for installing and maintaining solar paneling on buildings, and as solar energy gets more popular as a renewable energy source, a PV installer will have more job security and chance for financial gain. A veteran who likes to work with their hands, with knowledge of electrical engineering, will be an attractive choice for an employer, and will find a lot to like about a position working with solar panels. Though a PV installer doesn't start making the salary of the other careers on this list, the potential in green energy means that there is tremendous possibility for advancement.
Advertising, Promotions, Marketing Manager
It may be surprising to some to see what looks like an advertising position on a list of energy careers, but for a veteran who is looking for something different, a career doing advertising in the energy industry can be interesting and lucrative. Energy is a commodity just like anything else, and it needs to be sold correctly; one only needs to see the growth opportunities listed for green energy jobs on this list to see how important a good public image can be. Working in energy advertising, a vet would use their communication and people skills learned in the service to promote an energy source. A career in advertising can be very lucrative, and will provide an experience unlike anything else on this list. A veteran who spent their time in the service working in leadership and communications roles could move into an advertising position and find a very interesting career.