Career Definition of a Wind Energy Engineer
Wind energy engineers develop wind farms that produce energy from the wind. They can be involved with different aspects of wind energy production. For example, part of their job may be to create a design plan for a wind farm. They may provide specific information about the location of the wind farm and how it should be structured, which involves preparing schematics. They may also research emerging wind technologies so that they can identify the best types of turbines or equipment to use.
Wind energy engineers may also perform assessments on the wind farm and how it is performing. Once they've reviewed relevant data, they may make proposals about how to improve the production levels, if needed. In some cases, wind energy engineers may also assess wind damage from natural weather systems to determine the performance of different types of structures in those weather conditions.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree at minimum; some employers may prefer or require a graduate degree|
|Job Skills||Strong data collection skills, analytical skills, excellent communication skills, computer skills, people skills, ability to manage workload without direction|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$97,300 (for engineers, all other)|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||4% (for engineers, all other)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Wind energy engineers are required to have a bachelor's degree in engineering. It's common for those entering this field to study civil engineering. Some employers may prefer applicants with a master's or doctoral degree, and those pursuing graduate studies may want to specialize in wind engineering. Training on computers will be an asset.
Wind energy engineers need to be able to gather a lot of information that's relevant to their work, so it's important that they have good data collection skills. Once they have the relevant data, they must review it, which is why they need to be capable of analyzing information effectively. Wind energy engineers also need to evaluate the performance of equipment that's used in wind farms, so they benefit from having some mechanical knowledge.
These engineers may work with a number of other professionals. Some of these people may be involved in operating and maintaining equipment, while others may be managers who make decisions about the wind farms. Because of these frequent interactions, wind energy engineers must have good communication skills.
Career and Salary Outlook
Wind energy engineers are grouped in the broad 'engineers, all other' category by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports that this group of engineers should see a 4% rate of job growth from 2014 to 2024. The BLS also reported that those classified as 'engineers, all other' earned a median annual income of $97,300 in 2016.
Those who are thinking about working as wind energy engineers may find the idea of designing plans for different types of structures compelling. They may be interested in becoming a civil engineer or working as a solar energy engineer. Those who are interested specifically in wind energy production may also consider pursuing a career as a wind energy analyst. To learn more about civil engineers, solar energy engineers and wind energy analysts, follow the links provided here.