12 Best Paying Jobs In Energy

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Last Updated on January 26, 2024

Do you want to know the best paying jobs in energy? Many jobs in the energy field offer competitive salaries to skilled workers. We are going to discuss some of the best-paying careers in energy.

The energy industry is one of the most important sectors for mankind. The sector consists of a wide variety of subfields and there are jobs in each of these subfields.

Now, if you are looking to pursue an energy career – which is a good option – you can get confused as to which job to pursue and the reason for this is because there are so many good career options in the energy industry. This is why we have compiled a list of the best paying jobs energy in this article to help you decide which one to go for.

As a growing industry, those who are looking to get into energy are in high demand. The jobs compiled here are an opportunity for you to switch careers or pursue an energy career and become one of the in-demand professionals. And always remember that whatever field has a high demand for professionals the payment will be good.

The energy industry is not the only sector that has a high demand for professionals, there are also others some of which we have published articles on. Like the highest-paying engineering jobs in Canada and the best paying jobs in basic industries both of which you can use as a guide, including the list of best paying jobs in energy, to make better decisions on which career to pursue.

What Is the Energy Field?

The energy field includes several subfields, with workers focusing on electric power generation via solar, wind, coal, nuclear, hydropower, combined heat and power, bioenergy, and geothermal sources. Many different types of engineers, scientists, managers, and technicians work in the energy field.

The fuel sector —encompassing petroleum, coal, and bio-based fuels — employed more than 900,000 people as of 2021. About 2.1 million people worked in the energy efficiency sector, which includes jobs in traditional HVAC, renewable heating, and renewable cooling.

Additionally, the energy industry encompasses employment related to motor vehicles, including hybrid electric, full-battery electric, and traditional motor vehicles. People also work in transmission distribution and storage, with 1.3 million people employed in fields related to traditional transmission, distribution batteries, and smart grids in 2021, according to DOE.

Is Energy a Good Career Path?

For many workers, joining the energy field is a good career path. The energy sector offers faster-than-average job growth and lucrative financial rewards in many areas, particularly in clean energy or “net-zero-emission” jobs (DOE). Positions in the renewable energy field — occupations that support the White House’s initiative for net-zero emissions by 2050 — made up about 40% of all energy jobs in 2021 or more than 3 million positions.

The federal government is also pushing legislation, such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, that focuses on promoting clean energy and creating more unionized jobs, among other measures.

Best Paying Jobs in Energy

Below is a compiled list, with details, on each of the best paying jobs in energy:

1. Petroleum Engineer

Working at drilling and well sites, petroleum engineers develop engineering designs to extract oil and gas. The median annual salary of petroleum engineers is $131,800, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employers will add about 2,100 new petroleum engineer positions from 2020-2030. This would represent 8% growth, which is on par with the average projected job growth for all other occupations.

Petroleum engineers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree, often from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The importance of these professionals in the energy sector is too great and that is why they are among the highest-paid.

2. Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineers in research or teaching roles typically need a master’s degree or doctorate. Otherwise, employers usually accept workers with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or chemistry.

Most chemical engineers in the energy field work for engineering services companies. They may conduct research and development for companies producing petroleum and coal products, where they streamline chemical manufacturing processes and use engineering testing methods.

The BLS projects that the number of chemical engineers will increase by 9% from 2020-2030. Workers in this role earn a median annual salary of $106,260.

3. Wind Farm Site Manager

Wind farms need site managers to oversee the day-to-day operations, ensure workers follow safety protocols and maintain equipment and facilities. They also train staff and work with landowners and local governments. Educational and work experience requirements vary by employer, with some jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree and others only needing vocational training.

Wind farm site managers —a position projected to grow by 5-10% from 2020-2030 — earn an average salary of $77,000 per year.

4. Materials Engineer

Materials engineers test and create materials, including metals, ceramics, plastics, and composites. On the job, they perform failure and analysis tests, taking macro and microhardness, tensile, leak, and pressure measurements. They may also conduct durability inspections.

These workers made a median annual salary of $98,300 in 2021 (BLS), and the position is projected to experience 8% growth from 2020-2030. The industries that employ the most materials engineers include transportation equipment manufacturing, engineering services, and computer and electronic product manufacturing.

5. Atmospheric Scientist

Workers in this position made a median annual wage of $94,570 in 2021, and the BLS projects that atmospheric scientist positions will increase by 8% from 2020-2030. This is what makes the occupation of the best paying job in energy.

Entry-level atmospheric scientist positions that require professionals to collect data sets and maintain instrumentation for field campaigns often require a bachelor’s degree in meteorology. Alternatively, research positions where workers may be expected to analyze data often require a doctorate in atmospheric science or geoscience. Experience with coding languages, such as Python, C, and C++, may also be desired.

6. Nuclear Engineer

Nuclear engineers — a job that requires workers to monitor operations at nuclear facilities and design nuclear equipment — earned a median annual salary of $120,380 in 2021 (BLS). However, due in part to the rise in renewable energy and the lower cost of natural gas, nuclear energy jobs are projected to decline by 8% from 2020-2030.

The largest employers of nuclear engineers include federal government agencies (18% of workers), scientific research and development services (15%), and manufacturing (10%).

7. Civil Engineer

I never expected civil engineering to be a job in energy but it is not just among the jobs in the industry, it is also one of the best paying jobs in energy.

As of 2020, about 310,000 civil engineers were employed in the United States, and roughly half of them worked in engineering services (BLS). Civil engineers also work for federal, local, and state government agencies and non-residential building construction companies.

This job pays a median annual salary of $88,050. Duties vary by industry, with civil engineers often reviewing drawings and technical specifications for civil construction projects. At a minimum, civil engineers need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from an ABET-accredited program.

8. Industrial Engineer

The BLS projects that the growth of industrial engineering jobs will outpace the average job growth in the U.S., with employment increasing by 14% from 2020-2030. Additionally, industrial engineers make a median annual salary of $95,300.

These professionals need a bachelor’s degree or higher. They have the training required to help organizations operate more efficiently and reduce costs. Workers also develop cost estimates for future products and help manage safety programs.

9. Power Plant Operator

With some employers, workers may only need a high school diploma and on-the-job training to become a power plant operator. This position fetches a median annual salary of $94,790, according to the BLS. However, employment for this position is projected to decline by 14% from 2020-2030.

Power plant operators inspect and adjust equipment at power plants, power distributors and dispatchers, and nuclear power reactor operating sites. About 71% of power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers work in the utilities sector, while another 16% work for the government.

10. Geoscientist

Geoscientists work outdoors and in laboratories to collect and analyze samples. They’re often tasked with locating oil and gas deposits. They may lead field investigations, oversee project budgets, and tend to administrative tasks, such as data analysis and writing reports. Employers often require at least a bachelor’s degree.

Workers in this position earned a median annual salary of $83,680 in 2021, according to the BLS. About 29,000 geoscientists were employed in the U.S. in 2021, and this field is projected to increase by 7% from 2020-2030.

11. Information Systems Manager

Information systems managers are in high demand because of the important role they play in the energy sector. As technology advances, it is also advancing in the energy sector. A lot of computer software and hardware are now used in the industry and an information systems manager is needed to ensure that those systems work properly they also train people to use digital systems.

An informational systems manager earns an average salary of $148,324 per year, it is among the highest-paying energy jobs on this list.

12. Electrical Engineer

With a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, you can work in the energy industry and become one of the highest-paid professionals in the field. Electrical engineers in energy design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment. They are also the primary link between the systems operators and design teams in research & development.

The energy sector is incomplete without these professionals this is why they are among the highest paid in the industry. Electrical engineers in energy earn an average salary of $97,000 per year.

Conclusion

This wraps up the list of best paying jobs in energy. If you are looking to switch careers and considering the energy industry, this article will guide you to the best career path. If you are just starting out, maybe about to enter college, this article will guide you on which degree program to study and get a high-paying job in the energy industry if it is the industry you are considering pursuing a career in.

Most of these jobs require, at least, a bachelor’s degree, but this would only get you entry-level roles. If you want to dive straight into a managerial or leadership positioning energy then opt for a master’s or doctorate degree.

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