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Geothermal Engineer: Job Description & Salary

Geothermal engineers are part of the engineering professions that have emerged to focus on renewable energy sources. Read on to learn more about this engineering field and how to become a geothermal engineer.

Career Definition of a Geothermal Engineer

Geothermal engineering refers to accessing natural heat sources to produce energy. Geothermal energy is grouped with wind and solar energy as one of the renewable energy sources that can be developed. Geothermal engineers can be involved in processing geothermal energy. Those who work in this field may participate in everything from designing facilities to produce and distribute geothermal energy to overseeing the creation of the machinery used in these facilities.

It's common for geothermal engineers to concentrate on identifying geothermal energy sources, developing the best strategy for accessing those resources and then determining the anticipated energy output from production. They may be responsible for participating on committees, supervising other professionals involved in the process of producing geothermal energy, and developing strategies to transfer the power that's developed.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Analytical skills, self-management skills, problem-solving skills, good communication skill, ability to work as part of a team, ability to lead or manage others, interpersonal skills.
Mean Salary (2017)* $78,067 (applications engineer-geothermal)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)** 4% (engineers, all other)

Sources: *Glassdoor.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the entry-level requirement for a career in geothermal engineering is to have a bachelor's degree in a relevant engineering field. Specific fields of study could include civil, mechanical or electrical engineering. The BLS also indicates that some opportunities in this field will require applicants to have a master's or doctoral degree and a professional engineer (PE) license.

Required Skills

Geothermal engineers need to have strong analytical skills so that they can review information and make the best decisions based on that data. This can help them determine how to effectively access geothermal energy sources or how to transport the energy most efficiently. Since geothermal engineers may oversee other staff and work with committees they need to have good interpersonal skills and good communication skills. Strong problem-solving skills are also important since geothermal engineers may have to come up with innovative solutions to production and distribution issues.

Career Outlook and Salary

The BLS does not have an individual listing for geothermal engineers. Glassdoor.com reported that in 2017, geothermal engineers took home an annual average salary of $78,067. The BLS has a listing for 'engineers, all other' which refers to all engineers not listed separately by the BLS. The BLS expects this group of engineers to see job growth of 4% from 2014 to 2024.

Related Careers

People interested in geothermal engineering may also want to consider a career in a number of other engineering fields. Other engineering options that involve using renewable energy include being a solar energy engineer, a wind energy engineer or a renewable energy engineer, and information about these occupations is available through the links here.

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