Green Careers

Are you concerned about the environment? Do you want to help stem global warming and rainforest decimation? If so, a green career may be for you. Community colleges around the country are offering programs in sustainable energy, from solar panels to wind turbines. From biodiesel to energy storage, explore your green career options here.

View the most popular articles in Green Careers:

Careers: Environmental Science

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Careers: Environmental Science
Learn about the many opportunities available with an associate degree in environmental science and some of the community colleges offering course studies in this field.
Environmental science is a rapidly growing field, particularly in light of challenges to our environment like global warming, exponential population growth, and potentially dangerous carbon emissions. Environmental scientists work to find ways to meet and overcome those challenges, in order to maintain a livable environment for generations to come. Training needs of this field can often be found at a local community college, where a two-year degree in environmental science can prepare you for a rewarding career or the next step in your education process.

What is Environmental Science?

Environmental science is the study of how various factors like industry, production, and humans impact the natural environment. Through those studies, an environmental scientist looks for ways to limit damage to wildlife, humans and natural habitat, through processes like conservation and green living ideas. The field of environmental science is a truly innovative one, as professionals in the industry look for new energy sources that are friendlier to the world in which we live.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics explains that an environmental scientist may begin his work by identifying the problems leading up to environmental damage. The scientist will then look for solutions to those problems, by observing and analyzing components of air, food, water, and soil. The job is highly specialized and might involve working with other companies or government agencies to educate, develop policies and measure the results of those policies on the environment.
This TED talk Dr. Milton Muldrow discusses the evolution of environmental
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Careers: Solar Technology

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Careers: Solar Technology
Due to the tremendously growing demand in the field, new solar technology labs and training programs are opening at schools across the country.
Solar energy is a growing technology that may be one of the best options to oil in the future. To answer the call within the solar industry, more community colleges are coming onboard to train a new workforce of solar energy technicians. From a new solar energy lab in Maine to programs in solar thermal systems across the country, those who are interested in this exciting, growing field can get the training they need to launch a rewarding career in the solar energy industry.

Solar Technology Lab Opens in Maine

Kennebec Valley Community College has plenty to celebrate this year. The school is opening a new Solar Heating and Cooling Lab in the Muriel P. Frye building on the Fairfield campus, according to a report in the Morning Sentinel. The college was chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009 as one of nine regional resource and training locations nationwide. The Department of Energy partnered with the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education to launch the Solar Instructor Training Network at community colleges across the country.

The Solar Instructor Training Network is designed to prepare trainers for solar technology programs across the country. The trainers that complete the program will then go to various colleges to prepare students for careers in the solar heating and cooling industry. According to a report at WABI TV5, the lab at Kennebec has been in development for more than a year and serves as an example of how solar energy can
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Careers: Solar Technician

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Careers: Solar Technician
Solar technicians are in high demand, and you can energize your own career or solar business, starting with training at community college.
Solar energy may still make up a relatively small percentage of the energy used in this country, but federal, state and local governments are offering significant incentives to promote the expansion of this industry. Today, solar photovoltaic installation has become a rapidly growing field, but lack of training has made it difficult for some companies to find qualified professionals to handle the workload. Some community colleges around the company are now answering the call, providing solar technician training to prepare students for rewarding jobs in this field.
 
What is a Photovoltaic Installer?
 
According to an article on the Bureau of Labor Statistic's website, the American Solar Energy Society estimates that there were about 7,600 jobs in the solar energy industry in 2006. The majority of this number was photovoltaic installers, professionals who place solar panels on roofs to allow homeowners to capitalize on the sun's energy to heat and cool their homes.

There are many different types of solar panels today to accommodate for a wide range of shapes and sizes of buildings. Photovoltaic installers determine the best panel for the individual building and then install the panel, as well as the additional components, to get solar energy up and running for that structure.
 
Qualifications for photovoltaic installer positions begin with a high school diploma and usually continue with some sort of vocational training. People who begin their careers in the construction industry are often well suited for photovoltaic training because they are accustomed to the tools and
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Careers: Composite Technician

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Careers: Composite Technician
In spite of the recession, composite technicians are in high demand. Learn about this green career and how you can get the training for the available jobs in just weeks.
Despite the economic slowdown that has hit the country, and especially areas of the Midwest, there are jobs available for those with experience in the manufacturing industry. The secret to gainful employment may be as easy as honing your skills at a local community college with up-to-date programs in green manufacturing.

One of the brightest spots in the industry currently appears to be in composite technology, the manufacturing of composite materials for a variety of uses. Community colleges across the country are heeding the call for composite technicians by offering specialized programs to prepare students for entry into the industry.

What is a Composite Technician?

According to the website for the Miller Business Resource Center at Salt Lake Community College, a composite technician fabricates "lightweight, structurally strong parts and assembly for a variety of job applications."
Some of the industries using composite technicians today include aerospace, wind turbines, automobiles, and marine vessels. In addition to manufacturing, composite technicians may also work in quality control and testing, as well as research and development.
To work in the area of composite technology, many employers want applicants to have a minimum of an associate's degree in Materials Science. However, there are employers working directly with community colleges to create a training program specific to their industry that may be completed in just a few weeks' time. These programs may offer the opportunity to go to work with the employer directly after completion of the program, making the prospect
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Careers: Energy Storage Technician

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Careers: Energy Storage Technician
Learn about the growing demand for energy storage technicians and future job prospects in the field.
The “green jobs” that politicians have been talking about for the past several years may be starting to arrive. As the Grand Rapids Press reports, Michigan will likely soon be home to a new advanced battery-manufacturing plant run by Fortu Powercell Inc., a German-Swiss-based advanced battery manufacturer. The new plant should create up to 726 jobs in the coming years, according to state economists.

This spells great news for prospective community college students looking for the appropriate training in the green technology field.
This video describes the ATRE Energy Storage Curriculum in the California community college system.
New Battery Plants Require a New Kind of Worker
“Clean Room” Environment Means Fewer Environmental Pollutants
Advanced battery-manufacturing plants will require specially trained technicians because of their unique environment. The Grand Rapids Press reports that the lithium-ion battery plant is a “clean room” environment, meaning a controlled work environment that, in contrast to typical manufacturing plants, has low levels of environmental pollutants. Work in these plants will include less of the hands-on duties that are seen in traditional auto manufacturing plants, but more monitoring of machines.
Plant Technicians Will Need Some Specialized Training
In a January 2010 Grand Rapids Press article, lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant manager Elizabeth Rolinski said that the jobs in these new plants will involve “a little less of the repetitive assembly work” and more of “learning how to monitor computers on how processes are going. Rolinski told
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