What are the best paying jobs in energy? To answer this question, first we have to define best. In this case, it refers to the jobs that pay the most money in the least amount of time.
If you want to live a comfortable life or retire early and not work again, these 10 jobs will help you do just that if you are patient and willing to put in the time and effort required to make it all happen.
1. Petroleum Engineer
According to Payscale, a petroleum engineer’s median pay is over $111,000. A petroleum engineer designs and helps develop new methods of extracting fossil fuels from oil wells, natural gas wells, and coal beds. Because these fossil fuels are finite sources of energy, it’s important that an engineer finds ways to maximize oil/gas output while minimizing drilling costs.
2. Construction Superintendent
The site superintendent is ultimately responsible for all construction projects, but his or her role may vary depending on employer and project type. Construction superintendents typically supervise project managers, engineers, contractors and others involved with a particular job. In some cases, they also work directly with building codes and city departments to make sure projects comply with local regulations.
3. Electrical Engineer
Electrical engineers work with solar panels and wind turbines to generate energy. Their job is to design devices that convert renewable energies into usable electricity that can be delivered to communities through high-voltage transmission lines. This position requires a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from an accredited university. Typical Duties: Electrical engineers must have strong problem-solving skills, along with computer proficiency and excellent mathematical ability.
4. Process Engineer
The national average salary for Process Engineers is $99,000. This is not to say that every Engineer makes that amount. The national average represents what an Engineer would make if they were paid for every hour worked. People who work more hours or have more experience will typically make a higher salary. If a Process Engineer has five years of experience, they could expect to earn a salary closer to $120,000 per year.
5. Structural Engineer
The structural engineer designs buildings and creates plans to hold up their structures. He or she must follow codes, guidelines, and standards set by organizations such as ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers), ACI (American Concrete Institute), etc. These professionals work in residential, commercial, and industrial settings; they’re also called building engineers or civil engineers if they work with highways or bridges.
6. Environmental Scientist
Environmental Scientists are researchers who develop and implement strategies to ensure that human activities do not adversely affect nature. They monitor water pollution levels, work to improve technologies that support clean energy, and advise local governments on how to manage solid waste. Environmental Scientists make an average of $67,460 a year.
The job outlook for Environmental Scientists is expected to be somewhat good—much better than average—over at least the next decade.
7. Mechanical Engineer
The biggest demand for mechanical engineers is in traditional energy industries, like coal, oil and gas. However, they are also needed to develop technologies related to renewable energy—from wind turbines to solar panels. Since most technologies involve a variety of systems working together, you need engineers with a diverse range of expertise who can operate comfortably on a large scale.
Mechanical engineers help make those big systems work safely and efficiently. Their role may be further specialized according to their specific area of expertise; for example: chemical engineer or electrical engineer.
They study how material like water, air, and soil is distributed on Earth. These professionals often get involved with energy production—namely wind turbines and solar panels.
However, geoscientists can also work on other projects for companies that produce chemicals or clean up pollution (fantastic pay). The median pay for a geoscientist is $90K per year ($45 per hour) according to BLS data from May 2017.
9. Electronics Engineer
An electronics engineer would focus on engineering high-tech materials, such as polymers, to build things like solar panels or wind turbines. Electrical engineers would design electronic systems.
Materials and electrical engineers can work for a variety of companies, including energy production companies, renewable energy development firms, engineering services companies and manufacturing plants. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2011 that electronics engineers were among those who had their salaries increase most sharply from 2008 to 2010.
10. Architectural Drafter
The top paying job in energy is that of an architectural drafter. Because of a rising need for energy efficiency, as well as renewable energies, more drafters are needed.
Most employers prefer candidates with at least 2-3 years experience because it takes time to become proficient at using computer software and understanding building plans. Drafters’ average salaries start around $45,000 per year but can exceed $65,000 for those working on projects that demand knowledge of architectural drafting or those with experience or training from accredited institutions.