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15 Best Paying Jobs in Energy

After graduating with an energy-related degree, graduates look for the best-paying jobs in energy. They want to know: How many jobs are available in energy? What do energy jobs pay?

Our editors first ranked best paying jobs in energy in July 2023. This ranking was updated in March 2024.

In the U.S., energy jobs are some of the highest-paying jobs, with incredible job growth and security. With a promising job outlook, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, students can expect to find work after college. In fact, there are plenty of roles in the energy industry that can pave the way for exciting new careers. This article discusses some of the best jobs in the energy industry, according to pay.

Best Paying Jobs in Energy

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How We Ranked the Best Paying Jobs in Energy

Non Profit Colleges Online editors ranked the 15 best paying jobs in energy by examining a large pool of energy careers and looking at the average pay for each job title. We used the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the most current average annual salaries for each role. We then listed the 10 highest-paying energy careers below. The job in our #1 position has the highest pay.

This ranking is for:

  • Students researching energy jobs
  • Students enrolled in energy-related degree programs
  • Professionals who want to advance in their current energy job
  • Professionals looking for a new energy career path
RankJob Title10-Year Employment GrowthAverage Annual Pay
#1Petroleum Engineer2%$131,800
#2Wind Farm Site Manager32%$110,630
#3Chemical Engineer8%$106,260
#5Civil Engineer5%$89,940
#6Financial Analyst8%$85,439
#7Solar Project Developer8%$83,980
#8Industrial Engineer12%$83,470
#9Solar Power Plant Operator5%$79,370
#10Materials Engineer5%$76,980
#11Solar Construction Manager5%$71,260
#12Site Assessor5%$69,778
#13Renewable Energy Consultant6%$66,015
#14Solar Energy Technician22%$52,559
#15Environmental Engineering Technician6%$50,620
Data collected from the most recent information published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Best Paying Jobs in Energy 

1. Petroleum Engineer

Average Annual Pay: $131,800

Job Outlook: 2%

Best Paying Jobs in Energy: Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineers have some of the best-paying jobs in energy available right now. Petroleum engineers help the oil and gas industry find and harness petroleum resources. Sometimes, this means designing more efficient means of extraction or refinement. Other times, it involves finding new repositories of oil and gas.

Petroleum engineers are vital to the oil and gas industry and to our economy. But you’ll need a bachelor’s in petroleum engineering to start on this career path.

2. Wind Farm Site Manager

Average Annual Pay: $110,630

Job Outlook: 32%

A wind farm site manager oversees wind energy harvesting and wind farm sites. This career encompasses many different disciplines. A wind farm site manager must have a deep understanding of renewable energy, turbines, and wind farming technology. Wind farm site managers must also have leadership and management skills for supervising staff. But at the same time, they oversee the wind farm’s safety and its equipment’s integrity.

Most wind farmers hold bachelor’s degrees in engineering, sustainability, or another energy-related discipline.

3. Chemical Engineer

Average Annual Pay: $106,260

Job Outlook: 8%

Chemical engineers are vital to the chemical manufacturing process. With the advent of battery technologies, they are in high demand in the energy sector. More car manufacturers and energy companies are searching for ways to store mass quantities of energy. Chemical engineers help develop chemical solutions that power battery technologies. As a result, those in the energy industry play an essential role in developing tomorrow’s energy solutions.

With such high demand for this expertise, chemical engineering is one of the best-paying jobs in energy. With a bachelor’s degree, you can make six figures!

4. Geoscientist

Average Annual Pay: $92,040

Job Outlook: 5%

Best Paying Jobs in Energy: Civil Engineer

Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth. Within the energy sector, geoscientists are often employed by energy companies. Typically, they help with the safe and efficient extraction of petroleum resources from the Earth. They may also work at regulatory agencies to create the rules that govern the extraction of raw materials from the ground.

Typically a bachelor’s degree is needed for an entry-level geoscientist position. However, a master’s degree often helps to command a higher salary.

5. Civil Engineer

Average Annual Pay: $89,940

Job Outlook: 5%

Civil engineers help design and build major infrastructure projects. Whether constructing highways, tunnels, or energy grids, civil engineers help create systems and structures on a massive scale. Civil engineers are essential in the energy sector. They are often employed to oversee the planning and building of other projects as well. These can include solar farms, hydroelectric dams, energy grids, etc.

For entry-level positions in civil engineering, students must earn a bachelor’s degree. Master’s degrees in civil engineering help graduates command higher salaries. Either way, this is one of the best-paying jobs in energy.

6. Financial Analyst for Renewable Energy Companies

Average Annual Pay: $85,439

Job Outlook: 8%

Financial analysts get paid pretty well. But those who work for renewable energy companies have some of the best-paying jobs in energy. Moreover, they play a vital role in helping companies plan for the future. That’s because they thoroughly understand both finance and renewable energy sources. 

With that knowledge, they can help shareholders make confident decisions. These companies must decide which markets are best to push into and which are not worth the effort. And they need to know where to expand their technologies. Plus, they must ensure they make a profit while doing so. Financial analysts can help renewable energy companies make informed and profitable choices. 

7. Solar Project Developer

Average Annual Pay: $83,980

Job Outlook: 8%

Best Paying Jobs in Energy: Industrial Engineer

A solar project developer helps plan, build, and maintain solar farms or installations. This type of career can encompass many disciplines and is one of the best-paying jobs in renewable energy. Solar project developers determine the best sites for solar projects. They also create plans and oversee the construction of these projects. As a result, solar project developers must have a strong understanding of solar energy. Plus, they typically have skills in project management, construction, and other areas.

You need a bachelor’s degree for an entry-level position in solar project development. But there’s plenty of room for advancement once you get a few years under your belt.

8. Industrial Engineer

Average Annual Pay: $83,470

Job Outlook: 12%

Industrial engineers are vital within the energy sector. So they have some of the highest paying jobs in energy. These professionals streamline and optimize complex processes or systems. For example, they might help a company develop more efficient production lines that generate more power. Whether it is petroleum or new renewable sources, they are integral in optimizing energy production.

Students need a bachelor’s in engineering for entry-level positions in this field of work. Those with master’s degrees can step into leadership roles from the jump.

9. Solar Power Plant Operator

Average Annual Pay: $79,370

Job Outlook: 5%

Best Paying Jobs in Energy: Solar plant operator

Solar power plant operators are integral to the day-to-day operation of a solar farm or solar power plant. And they have some of the best-paying jobs in energy. If you’re working in this role, you must excel in technical knowledge plus have strong leadership skills. For example, you need the know-how to maintain the solar arrays that keep the power plant running.

But you also must have management and leadership skills to oversee the staff that maintains the power plant. As a result, this high-paying energy job combines a science and human resource role.

10. Materials Engineer

Average Annual Pay: $76,980

Job Outlook: 5%

Materials engineers create new plastics, metals, ceramics, and other materials. This career is in high demand in the renewable energy sector, making it among the best-paying jobs in energy.

Materials engineers help develop new materials that are important to the generation and storage of energy. Some examples include new types of glass or ceramics for solar panels. Materials engineers help create materials with unique properties that help solve problems. And these professionals are especially good at solving problems for energy companies.

11. Solar Construction Manager

Average Annual Pay: $71,260

Job Outlook: 5%

Best Paying Jobs in Energy: Site Assessor

Solar construction managers oversee the construction of solar plants or solar arrays. To work as a solar construction manager, you need to have knowledge in a couple of areas. First, you need to understand general construction practices. And then, you need some knowledge specific to the proper installation of solar panels and battery systems.

Solar construction managers make complex plans for solar farms a reality. This is one of the highest-paying jobs in energy. To work as a solar construction manager, you need at least a bachelor’s degree.

12. Site Assessor

Average Annual Pay: $69,778

Job Outlook: 5%

A site assessor is important to the energy business. Site assessors make on-site visits to potential locations for energy generation. For example, they show up to assess the quality of a location for a solar farm. They also check out a site for a new oil rig.

As an assessor, you use your unique skill set to determine if a particular location is a good fit for an energy company. And, of course, determine investment risks of pouring resources into it. To work in this role, you need a certification or a bachelor’s degree.

13. Renewable Energy Consultant

Average Annual Pay: $66,015

Job Outlook: 6%

Best Paying Jobs in Energy: Renewable Energy Consultant

A renewable energy consultant works with clients to determine the right energy system for them. The client may be an individual looking to outfit their home with solar panels. Or it could be a company trying to offset its carbon footprint. You must have expertise in the latest technologies in renewable energy so you can work with clients to determine their energy needs and goals for their new energy systems.

To work in this career you need a bachelor’s degree. Some certifications may be required depending on where you live.

14. Solar Energy Technician

Average Annual Pay: $52,559

Job Outlook: 22%

Solar energy technicians oversee the maintenance of solar panels and solar installations. After installing a solar energy system, you help with the upkeep and maintenance of these systems. This is one of the best-paying jobs in power generation.

Solar energy technicians typically work on-site, troubleshooting issues with solar energy systems. They also perform routine maintenance tasks on these systems. As solar energy becomes more popular, these roles will continue to become more in demand.

15. Environmental Engineering Technician

Average Annual Pay: $50,620

Job Outlook: 6%

Environmental engineering technicians play a crucial role in the energy industry. That’s because they develop new ways to clean up pollution and waste. As one of the best renewable energy jobs, these technicians work to mitigate the damages that can sometimes be caused by energy production. And they also help to create and enforce different environmental regulations. They ensure that energy companies are not putting undue strain or harm on the environment.

This career typically requires a bachelor’s degree. These professionals safeguard our natural world. And they help ensure that the renewable energy sector operates safely and effectively.

Highest Paying Careers in Energy

Are There Any Online Degree Programs for Energy Careers?

The first step to a career in energy involves training. There are plenty of ways to get started in the energy industry:

Non-skilled Entry Level Jobs in Energy

So, you don’t have any relevant experience in the energy field yet. That’s okay. You can still get your foot in the door. There are many opportunities in the energy industry. Jobs in:

  • Construction
  • Labor
  • Sustainable Energy

You don’t need any prior experience for these jobs. In addition, these roles provide skills-based training. If you work hard and are eager to learn you can then apply for apprenticeship positions and move up the ladder. You can also find paid training programs with various energy companies. 

Entry Level Skilled Trade Jobs in Energy

Skilled trade jobs in energy require specialized training. You need a high school diploma or GED for entry-level skilled jobs in energy. But you can also perfect your skills through a two-year trade school, community college, or associate degree program. You can also undergo an apprenticeship. With even a small amount of training, you can land high-paying jobs in renewable energy.

Professional Careers in Energy

You need at least a four-year engineering or similar degree to obtain a professional role in energy. But graduates from all disciplines can find work. There are many different options.

You can attend a traditional four-year university. You can also get an online bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related discipline. If you want to go to college for an energy career, many online degree programs are available. Online programs are good if you are already working and want to advance your current career in energy. 

Sutdying For The Best Paying Jobs in Energy

Change Is Coming to the Energy Industry

Technology is changing the energy of the future. Wind and solar power. Smart batteries. Electric vehicles. These new technologies drive the energy industry toward a new, innovative tomorrow.

We need clean, renewable energy. And we need it to be accessible, affordable, and safe. How energy impacts our communities and the natural world is more important than ever. The trend toward renewable energy is growing. And renewables are expected to make up our country’s biggest source of electricity by 2050. 

All these changes bring explosive growth. And there are jobs available in every corner of the energy sector. Finance, cyber security, engineering, environmental science, and construction are just a few of the roles that will be available.

What Should I Study for a Career in Energy?

To pursue a career in energy, you’ll want to acquire analytical thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. These are critical skills for the energy workplace. And they are all related to STEM skills. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Every degree program is different, of course. But some of the most common STEM areas of study include:

  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Earth Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Health Sciences
  • Information Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

At ENERGY.GOV, you can check out STEM Rising, a collection of resources that includes:

  • Apprenticeships and fellowships
  • Experiential learning
  • Online learning resources
  • Research opportunities

Closing Thoughts About the Best Careers in Energy

Maybe you’ve never seen yourself as someone who would pursue a career in energy. But there are many professional roles people don’t normally associate with the energy sector. Jobs in energy can encompass nearly every interest. If you’re concerned about the environment, like working with numbers, or interested in being a teacher, there are many energy careers to choose from.

You can enjoy job security and high pay as an energy professional. But you might also be surprised to find that careers in energy can be rewarding and personally fulfilling.

This concludes our ranking of the top paying energy jobs.