Interested in a career in wind energy? You're in luck. Wind turbine service technician is now the fastest growing occupation in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The occupation is projected to grow 108 percent by 2024.
The growth rate far exceeds the rate for other careers — number two on the list, occupational therapy assistant, is projected to grow 43 percent during the same time frame.
With wind energy in high demand, it's no shock that this occupation is on the rise — the U.S. has nearly 75 gigawatts (GW) of installed wind power capacity, with an additional 9.4 GW of wind power under construction in 2016 so far, and another 4.9 GW in advanced stages of development, according to the American Wind Energy Association. As wind power capacity continues to grow, more qualified wind technicians will be needed to install and maintain turbines.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wind power could support up to 380,000 jobs by 2030.
Other Wind Energy Job Statistics
The latest data from the BLS also highlights the areas in which wind energy service technicians are in highest demand. As of 2014, the industries employing the most technicians include:
- Electric power generation, transmission and distribution – 24%
- Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair and maintenance – 23%
- Utility system construction – 23%
The median annual wage for a wind turbine technician is $48,800, with the lowest 10 percent earning $36,350, and the highest 10 percent earning more than $70,770. According to data from 2014, the median annual wages for wind turbine technicians in the top industries were as follows:
- Electric power generation, transmission and distribution – $53,470
- Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair and maintenance – $49,000
- Utility system construction – $45,500