There has been a lot of chatter recently about green jobs. In President Obama's recent State of the Union address, it was mentioned quite a bit. Supporters hope green careers may hold the key to energy independence, as well as many other green benefits.
In order to reach that goal, a knowledgeable and trained work force must be present. Green training programs are essential to a green economy. Let the politicians argue. Let us get back to school.
Here are some of the best training programs to land a green job:
Renewable Energy Training
Cost Range: $2,000-$25,000
Renewable energy programs come in all shapes and sizes. Programs can specialize from solar to geothermal. Nearly every state has offerings in these trades.
If you are not the college type, don't worry. There are all kinds of degrees and programs that cover the spectrum. The North American Board of Energy Practitioners offers classes and certifications that can help people start in a green field very soon. Another great place to get certification is the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, which offers geothermal workshops with a quick turnaround. If you are looking to go back to school, many colleges and universities now offer full degrees in renewable energy. Check with your local community college first to see if they have classes. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Cost Range: $500-$1,000 per Course, $250 for the Exam
State and local governments have been updating building rules, with some mandating more efficient designs. And more and more homeowners and businesses are opting to follow the stringent standards of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
Luckily, finding a class to get LEED certified is simple. First, check with the USGBC, which offers many courses. One of many institutions that offer certification is Everblue. Many community colleges may also offer the training, which makes it very accessible.
Cost Range: $200-$10,000
Working in ecotourism can be a great career for those who love the outdoors. Some colleges now offer degrees in ecotourism, which combines science, nature and travel. There are also opportunities for travel agents to specialize in going green; having a travel agency niche can give you a leg up on a world that is increasingly conscious of being ecologically aware. If you are feeling really adventurous, try getting your training overseas at the Ecotourism Training Center. For travel agent training, one place is Gatlin Education Services.
Cost Range- $2,500-$25,000
Wind energy holds some of the most potential for a cleaner world. Wind turbines create all areas of green careers, in addition to green power. Machinists, engineers and others are needed to start in this burgeoning field. For most training you will need to get a college diploma. However, the NABCEP is in the process of creating a small wind certification program. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council offers classes about wind energy and turbines. For the handy type, you can install a turbine in your backyard or roof. Make sure to check with your local ordinances.
Cost Range- $600-$15,000
As people become more energy conscious they may start to realize that they are losing money unnecessarily. An energy auditor can go into any business, large or small, and help them save on energy costs. You do not need a background in engineering to start in this field. There are many places that offer certification and training, such as Everblue and the Association of Energy Engineers. Again, if these don't work, check your local community college. They are often at the forefront of the green jobs push.
These five careers are shaping the future of energy. If you are unsure of where to get green training, start with these. They are yours for the taking. Green careers may be able to help you get into a job with a great future.
Also by Ezra Drissman:
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.