Bureau of Labor Statistics
data on display logo

Data on display
Green growth: Employment projections in environmentally focused occupations

| April 2018

article image

If your career plan involves caring for the planet, there’s good news: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects job growth in occupations related to helping the environment or conserving natural resources.

In fact, the two occupations that BLS projects to have the fastest employment growth from 2016 to 2026—solar photovoltaic installers (105-percent increase) and wind turbine service technicians (96-percent increase)—involve “green” work. However, as the data show, the number of new jobs is projected to be relatively small in these and some other rapidly growing green occupations.

Projected employment change in environmentally focused occupations

View Chart Data

New jobs, projected 2016−26
Occupation Numeric change, projected 2016−26

Solar photovoltaic installers

11,800

Environmental scientists and specialists, including health

9,900

Hazardous materials removal workers

7,900

Wind turbine service technicians

5,600

Environmental engineers

4,500

Environmental science and protection technicians, including health

4,200

Environmental engineering technicians

2,200

Conservation scientists

1,400

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections.

Employment growth in selected green occupations, projected 2016−26
Occupation Median annual wage, 2017(1) Employment, 2016 Employment, projected 2026 Typical entry-level education

Environmental engineers

$86,800 53,800 58,300 Bachelor's degree

Environmental scientists and specialists, including health

69,400 89,500 99,400 Bachelor's degree

Conservation scientists

61,480 22,300 23,700 Bachelor's degree

Wind turbine service technicians(2)

53,880 5,800 11,300 Postsecondary nondegree award

Environmental engineering technicians

50,230 17,000 19,100 Associate's degree

Environmental science and protection technicians, including health

45,490 34,600 38,800 Associate's degree

Hazardous materials removal workers(3)

41,400 46,200 54,100 High school diploma or equivalent

Solar photovoltaic installers(3)

39,490 11,300 23,100 High school diploma or equivalent
Footnotes:

(1) Excludes self-employed workers.

(2) This occupation typically requires long-term on-the-job training for a worker to attain competency.

(3) This occupation typically requires moderate-term on-the-job training for a worker to attain competency.

Note: None of the occupations listed typically requires work experience in a related occupation for entry.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections.

The data also show that each of these occupations had a median annual wage that was higher than the $37,690 median for all workers in 2017. The typical education required to enter the occupations varies.

Workers in green occupations focus on the environment in different ways. Solar photovoltaic installers and wind turbine service technicians, for example, build and maintain systems that create energy from renewable sources—that is, sources that don’t become depleted. Other workers help to clean up pollution. Still others advise organizations or individuals on ways to protect and preserve natural resources.

Information about these and hundreds of other occupations is available in the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). The OOH describes what workers in the occupation do, how to enter the occupation, what the projected job outlook is, and more.

About the Author

Elka Torpey is an economist in the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, BLS. She can be reached at torpey.elka@bls.gov .

Suggested citation:

Elka Torpey, "Green growth: Employment projections in environmentally focused occupations," Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2018.

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/careeroutlook Contact Career Outlook

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

Permanently disable mobile site