The World of Work

What Do Energy Jobs Pay? Unmasking the Salary Potential

Joe Bensam

What Do Energy Jobs Pay? Discovering High-Income Opportunities in the Energy Industry

In today's rapidly evolving energy landscape, many job seekers are curious to know how lucrative careers in this dynamic sector can be. With a broad range of opportunities available across renewable and non-renewable fields, the energy industry offers impressive earning potential for those with the right background and skillset.

The average salary in the energy sector is an enticing $85,000 per year—a solid incentive for anyone considering a career path that contributes to powering our world.

Key Takeaways

  • The energy industry offers high - paying jobs across a variety of educational backgrounds, including engineering, sciences, mathematics, information technology and management/business.
  • Renewable energy sources such as solar power and wind power offer competitive salaries with an average of $85k per year and good job security due to growing demand for cleaner and more sustainable alternatives globally.
  • Non-renewable energy sectors like petroleum engineering offer some of the highest-paid positions in the entire energy sector, with an average salary of $137K annually according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2020.
  • Pursuing a degree or certification within any field related to energy can lead to promising career opportunities within this lucrative field, especially as the world transitions towards cleaner forms of energy production.

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Watch our special video below to find out more and get pro tips, helpful hints and strategies for success:

Overview Of The Energy Sector

Are you considering a career in the energy sector but uncertain of what types of jobs are available and how much they pay? With the increasing demand for renewable energy sources, many new opportunities are emerging that offer competitive salaries and job security. 

To help you navigate this field, we have compiled a list of the best-paying jobs in both renewable and non-renewable fields, as well as educational requirements for each role. Keep reading to learn more about what energy jobs pay and find your perfect career match today.

Renewable Energy

The renewable energy sector continues to experience considerable growth, thanks to increasing global awareness of climate change and the need for sustainable solutions. As a job seeker, this presents exciting opportunities for long-term careers in various roles such as solar photovoltaic installers, wind farm site managers, and bioenergy engineers.

Moreover, advancements in technology have led to the development of newer renewable energy systems like perovskite solar cells, molten metal batteries, sand batteries, and pumped hydro storage.

These innovations not only contribute towards addressing the ongoing energy crisis but also create numerous job opportunities across in-field positions as well as research-based roles.

Non-Renewable Energy

Non-renewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), nuclear power, and certain types of bioenergy, continue to play a significant role in the global energy landscape.

Despite growing concerns about climate change and the adoption of cleaner alternatives like solar power or wind energy, non-renewable energies still account for the majority of the world's power generation.

Job seekers can explore various positions across multiple industries with competitive salaries. For example, petroleum engineers hold one of the highest-paid jobs in the entire energy sector. They earn an average salary of $137K annually according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Their expertise is vital for modern economies that rely on fuel production and transportation systems.

Similarly, nuclear technicians are tasked with monitoring reactor equipment at nuclear power plants; they often earn around $80K per year.

Educational Background For Energy Jobs

To discover what types of educational backgrounds are needed to secure high-paying jobs in the energy sector, read on.


Engineering plays a vital role in the energy sector, as it is responsible for designing, developing, and implementing various aspects of energy projects.

From solar farms to nuclear power plants, engineers are at the forefront of creating innovative solutions to address our growing energy needs.

For job seekers considering a career path within this field of expertise, there is a wide range of opportunities available including agricultural engineering focused on bioenergy systems or aerospace engineering involving wind turbine design.

With the increasing demand for cleaner and more efficient energy sources globally driven by factors such as climate change mitigation efforts and international economic competition; having an engineering background can offer promising prospects for long-term employment with competitive salaries.

Information Technology

Information technology is a critical component of the energy industry and has become increasingly important in recent years. Companies are looking for IT professionals who have expertise in fields like cybersecurity, cloud engineering, and software development to keep up with the technical demands of the industry.

Many positions require digital and analytical skillsets that are becoming more essential as technology advances. This trend towards incorporating new technologies into the field has led to higher paying jobs for those with these specialized skills.

Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Etc.)

Sciences like biology, chemistry, and physics are an important part of the energy sector. They play a critical role in fuel production as well as algae growth for biofuel purposes.

Math is also crucial when it comes to analyzing data and ensuring grid stability in the industry. For example, atmospheric scientists use various branches of science to study climate change and monitor air quality.

Sciences are an important part of the energy sector

Similarly, chemical engineers work on converting natural materials into renewable energy sources such as ethanol or hydrogen fuel cells.

Whether you're interested in environmental sustainability or simply looking for a high-paying career path, pursuing studies related to science can lead to many possibilities within the energy industry.

From solar panel design to nuclear power plant operation, there's no shortage of opportunities that require scientific expertise.


Mathematics is a fundamental aspect of energy jobs, requiring strong proficiency in the subject. Professionals in the energy industry use mathematics to design and engineer energy systems such as power plants and wind turbines.

Data scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians are also highly sought after in this field. In addition to these skills being necessary for traditional engineering roles, they're increasingly important for developing new technologies and implementing efficiency measures across industries.

Mathematical modeling plays an essential role in energy forecasting and planning while computational mathematics helps simulate optimal solutions for complex problems related to a range of sectors including petroleum, gas, coal, wind and solar power.

Management & Business

If you're looking to break into the energy sector, pursuing a degree in management or business could lead to promising career opportunities. With the complexity of energy solutions increasing every day, companies are in need of professionals who can manage teams and projects efficiently.

Management positions are highly sought-after throughout the industry, as most careers in energy eventually lead to leadership roles. Business skills are also essential for those interested in entrepreneurial endeavors within the energy industry, such as developing renewable power projects or selling solar panels.

Best Paying Jobs In The Energy Sector

Discover the top-paying jobs in the energy sector, including nuclear technician and petroleum engineer, and find out how to enter these high-earning fields.

Agricultural Engineer

One of the best-paying jobs in the energy sector is agricultural engineering. These professionals apply their knowledge of engineering and biological sciences to solve problems related to agriculture, such as developing more efficient irrigation systems or improving crop yields.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, agricultural engineers earn a median annual wage of $80,720 per year. As demand for sustainable farming practices and renewable sources of energy increases, so too does demand for skilled professionals who can design and implement solutions that address these challenges.

Nuclear Technician

Nuclear technicians are among the best-paid professionals in the energy sector, earning a median annual salary of $82,080 as of May 2021. They specialize in working with nuclear equipment and conducting tests and ensure safety and efficiency.

Nuclear technicians must undergo extensive safety training and adhere to strict maintain safe operations.

They may work for government agencies or private companies operating nuclear power plants or providing nuclear-related services. This could include working in power plants, laboratories, research facilities and other specialist settings where their skills will be put into use every day.

Power Plant Operator

One of the best-paying jobs in the energy sector is that of a power plant operator. These professionals play an essential role in generating electricity safely and efficiently, operating plants that generate electricity from various sources such as nuclear power plants or fossil fuel-fired power stations.

As of May 2021, the median annual salary for power plant operators was $94,790. While employment for this job is projected to decline by 15% from 2021-2031, there may still be opportunities available for those interested in pursuing a career as a power plant operator.

Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers play a crucial role in the energy industry by developing and implementing solutions that minimize environmental impact and ensure projects are sustainable.

They work on projects related to carbon capture, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. Environmental engineers are responsible for ensuring compliance with environmental regulations while also considering economic factors.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for environmental engineers in the US is around $88,860 per year. The demand for environmental engineers in the energy industry is expected to grow as more companies shift towards renewable sources of energy.

To become an environmental engineer requires a degree in environmental engineering or a related field.

Materials Engineer

Materials engineering is a top-paying job in the energy sector, with an expected 6% growth from 2021 to 2031. These professionals work with materials used in energy production and distribution to ensure reliability and efficiency.

They also research and develop new materials and technologies to improve energy production and sustainability.

To become a materials engineer, you typically need a bachelor's degree or higher in materials engineering or related fields such as chemistry or physics. You may also need professional licensure/certification for some states.

Many of these jobs are available within large corporations that focus on renewable energy resources or government agencies devoted to researching alternative energies like sustainable fuel sources besides coal & oil refining processes.

Atmospheric Scientist

If you have a passion for studying the Earth's atmosphere and its impact on climate, weather, and environment, then a career as an atmospheric scientist in the energy sector might be just what you're looking for.

Not only is it one of the best-paying jobs in the industry with an average salary of $99,000 per year, but it also plays a crucial role in planning and designing wind farms and solar power plants.

To become an atmospheric scientist in this field typically requires a bachelor's or master's degree in Atmospheric Science, Meteorology or another related field. It’s helpful to obtain professional certification or licensing depending on state requirements since specific obligations may vary across job duties.

Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineers are among the best-paying jobs in the energy sector. with a median annual salary of $108,000 in 2021. They play a crucial role in enhancing energy output, creating new products, and developing new fuel production methods.

Chemical engineers can work in both traditional oil and gas jobs as well as renewable energy. The federal government is promoting legislation to create more unionized jobs and promote clean energy which may lead to an increase in demand for chemical engineers.

If you're interested in becoming a chemical engineer in the energy industry, it's important to have a strong educational background that includes engineering and sciences such as chemistry or physics.

You should also consider gaining relevant experience through internships or networking with professionals in the industry.

Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineering is a highly specialized field that involves designing and testing aircraft, spacecraft, and satellites. This job requires advanced education and training, but it can be a promising career path for those interested in the energy sector and looking for high-paying jobs.

In fact, aerospace engineering is among the best-paying jobs in the energy sector, with a median annual salary of $118,000. With renewable energy sources like wind power on the rise, aerospace engineers are crucial for designing and improving wind turbines.

Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineering is one of the most lucrative fields in the energy industry. Petroleum engineers are responsible for developing and designing methods to extract oil and gas from reservoirs deep beneath the earth's surface.

They also work to ensure that operations are carried out safely, efficiently, and in compliance with environmental regulations.

According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), petroleum engineers earn a median salary of $137,720 per year, making them one of the highest-paid professions within the energy sector.

Job opportunities for petroleum engineers are projected to grow by 8% from 2021-2031 as demand for new sources of oil and gas continues to rise.

Architectural Manager

Architectural managers are the highest paying job in the energy sector. with a median salary of $144,830 per year. These professionals oversee construction projects and ensure building designs meet stringent environmental standards.

The demand for architectural managers is growing alongside the rise of sustainable energy sources such as solar power and wind turbines.

To become an architectural manager in the energy industry, you will usually need at least a bachelor's degree in architecture or engineering along with several years of experience working on green building projects.

Many employers also prefer candidates who have earned certification from organizations like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

Comparing Salaries In Renewable And Non-Renewable Energy Fields

It is essential for job seekers to understand the differences in salaries between renewable and non-renewable energy fields in order to make informed career choices. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Both renewable and non-renewable energy jobs generally pay higher than the national median wage, with all energy industry crosscuts having wages ranging from 27% to 105% above the national median.
  • Within a given job type, salaries tend to be similar between renewable and non-renewable energy positions, offering competitive pay for those looking to enter the industry.
  • Coal mining jobs, however, earn lower salaries compared to their counterparts in oil and gas extraction, making them less attractive to job seekers.
  • With the rapid growth of non-extractive sectors in the energy industry, job seekers can expect plenty of well-paying opportunities above the national average of $19 per hour.
  • The renewable energy sector, particularly wind and solar, has been gaining ground on fossil fuels, offering more lucrative career options for those interested in sustainable energy solutions.
  • By 2050, renewable energy jobs are projected to reach 42 million globally, thanks to increased investments in renewable energy technologies.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act aims to create over 9 million good jobs in the energy sector over the next decade, with nearly one million new jobs each year in both renewable and non-renewable fields.

How To Find The Best-Paying Jobs In Energy

To find the best-paying jobs in the energy industry, consider networking with professionals in the field, attending job fairs, gaining relevant experience through internships, utilizing job search websites, and contacting company human resources departments.

Networking With Professionals In The Energy Industry

Networking with professionals in the energy industry can be an effective way to land a high-paying job. Here are some tips on how to network in the energy industry:

  • Attend events: Attend conferences, seminars, and other events related to the energy industry. This is an excellent opportunity to meet professionals who work in the field.
  • Join groups: Join online groups or associations that cater to individuals working in the energy sector. This provides access to valuable resources such as job postings and potential connections.
  • Utilize social media: Use social media platforms like LinkedIn to connect with professionals working in the energy industry. Personalized messages can open doors to new career opportunities.
  • Volunteer: Volunteering at local environmental organizations or community solar projects can establish a relationship with individuals who work in the industry, creating professional connections and expanding your network.
  • Informational interviews: Conduct informational interviews with professionals working in areas of interest within the energy industry. These interactions can provide insight into specific industries and companies as well as opportunities for future job openings.

Networking is an essential part of any job search, especially when it comes to the competitive energy industry sector.

By establishing relationships with individuals already entrenched within this field, you will have better chances at securing highly paid positions which are often acquired via word-of-mouth recommendation rather than a traditional application process.

Attending Job Fairs

Attending job fairs can be a great way for job seekers to find high-paying energy jobs. Here are some reasons why attending job fairs is beneficial for your job search:

  • You get to meet with recruiters and hiring managers face-to-face, which allows you to make a strong first impression.
  • Job fairs bring together multiple companies looking to hire, which means more opportunities for you to connect with potential employers.
  • You can learn about the latest trends and technologies in the energy sector by speaking directly with industry professionals.
  • Job fairs often offer workshops or seminars on resume writing, interview skills, or navigating the energy industry job market.
  • Even if you do not land a job at the fair itself, you may make valuable connections that lead to future opportunities.

According to the U.S. Energy & Employment Jobs Report, attending job fairs is one of the most effective ways for workers to find employment in the energy sector. In fact, more than 20% of all energy-sector workers reported finding their current position through a job fair or networking event. 

With so many benefits and opportunities available, it's no wonder that attending job fairs is a popular strategy among successful job seekers in the energy industry.

Gaining Relevant Experience Through Internships

Internships are an excellent way to gain relevant experience and increase your chances of landing a job in the energy industry. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Look for internships in renewable or non - renewable energy companies that match your degree or interests.
  • Check with your academic advisor or career services office for internship programs in the industry.
  • Apply for internship positions early, as they can be competitive.
  • Be ready to learn, ask questions, and take on tasks assigned to you during your internship.
  • Attend company events and meetings to get a better understanding of the industry and network with professionals.
  • Use your internship experience to build relationships and ask for recommendations for future job applications.

Internships provide valuable hands-on experience which can significantly improve employability outcomes. The energy industry has a high demand for experienced workers and skills in engineering, IT, mathematics, and sciences are highly sought-after. 

With this information in mind, internships can help students stand out from other candidates by offering practical experience aligned with their field of study.

Utilizing Job Search Websites

Here are some ways to use job search websites to find the best-paying energy jobs:

  1. Visit popular job search websites that specialize in the energy industry, such as Energy Jobline and Rigzone.
  2. Filter your job searches by salary range and location to find jobs that pay well in areas where you want to work.
  3. Upload your resume to these websites for recruiters and hiring managers to review.
  4. Sign up for job alerts based on your search criteria so that you receive notifications when new jobs become available.
  5. Research companies that interest you and apply directly on their websites or through the job search website.
  6. Attend virtual career fairs hosted by these websites to talk with recruiters from multiple companies at once.

Remember, using job search websites is just one of many ways to find high-paying energy jobs. Networking with professionals in the industry, gaining relevant experience through internships, and contacting company human resources departments are also effective strategies. 

With a salary premium of approximately 34% compared to other industries, it's worth exploring all options in this fast-growing field.

Contacting Company Human Resources Departments

To maximize your chances of landing a job in the energy sector, it's essential to reach out to companies' HR departments. Here are some tips to make the most out of this approach:

  • Research companies that interest you and find their contact information, including email addresses and phone numbers.
  • Use LinkedIn or other professional networking platforms to connect with HR professionals at these companies.
  • Write an impressive cover letter that highlights your relevant skills and qualifications and send it along with your resume.
  • Mention in your cover letter that you reached out to their HR department and express your interest in any relevant positions they may have available.
  • Follow up with a polite email or phone call if you don't receive a response within a week or two.
  • Be prepared to answer any questions about yourself and your experience if you get called in for an interview.

Remember that the competition for energy jobs can be fierce, so making yourself stand out is crucial. Keep up-to-date on industry trends, participate in relevant organizations or events, and tailor your application materials to specific roles and companies. 

By taking the initiative to contact HR departments directly, you demonstrate motivation and dedication that could make all the difference in landing your dream energy job.

The Future Of Jobs In The Energy Field

The energy industry is at the forefront of technological innovation, creating new opportunities for job seekers in various fields. As the demand for sustainable solutions continues to grow, so do the available jobs in renewable energy.

With legislation promoting clean energy initiatives, there will be an increase in unionized jobs as well as job security over time. Additionally, skilled trades such as drilling supervisors and construction managers will play a crucial role within the industry.

To succeed and find top-paying positions within the field of renewable energy requires individuals who possess knowledge and skills that go beyond traditional educational backgrounds.

Employers value experience gained through internships or apprenticeships while demonstrating familiarity with equipment necessary for these specialized roles.

The Future Of Jobs In The Energy Field

According to reports from both U.S Energy & Employment Jobs Report and Global Energy Talent Index Report, the amount of employment growth potential during this transition period should not be underestimated.

Consider that the median hourly wage earned by workers across all segments of US Energy & Employment was higher than that paid throughout other US industries. This creates bright prospects for those entering into these areas already seeing rapid expansion. 

This is despite many experienced employees leaving due to retirement age, leaving room for young professionals coming into specialized positions. These positions offer attractive compensation leading to secured futures.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Q: What are energy jobs?

A: Energy jobs refer to any job that requires working in the energy industry. It can range from jobs related to oil and gas extraction to renewable power generation such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy.

Q: What is the salary potential for people employed in the energy sector?

A: The energy industry typically pays higher wages than other industries. Jobs in the oil and gas industry tend to pay the most, followed by jobs in renewable energy such as solar and wind power.

Q: Are renewable energy jobs the best paying jobs in energy?

A: While jobs in renewable energy such as solar and wind power offer good career paths and higher wages, jobs related to oil and gas extraction typically pay more.

Q: How much do energy technicians earn?

A: Energy technicians can earn a range of salaries depending on their level of experience and the type of energy they work with. In general, energy technicians can earn a median wage of around $50,000 per year.

Q: What are some careers in oil with good pay?

A: Some careers in the oil and gas industry that pay well include drilling engineers, petroleum engineers, and geologists. These roles can pay six-figure salaries.

Q: What is the current energy crisis?

A: The current energy crisis refers to the global challenges and issues in meeting the world's growing energy demands while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning towards cleaner energy sources.

Q: Are jobs in the field of energy transitioning to cleaner energy sources?

A: Yes, there is a growing trend towards transitioning towards cleaner energy sources, and this is creating many new employment opportunities in the field of clean energy jobs.

Q: Are energy jobs a good career path?

A: Yes, energy jobs can offer a good career path, especially in the growing field of clean energy jobs. With new technology and innovations emerging, there is a high demand for skilled workers in the energy industry.

Q: How many jobs appear in the energy and employment sector?

A: There are tens of thousands of jobs available in the energy and employment sector, with this number expected to increase as the energy sector expands and transitions towards cleaner energy sources.

Q: Do clean energy jobs pay well?

A: Yes, clean energy jobs can pay well, especially in fields such as solar installation and energy storage. As the demand for clean energy continues to grow, it is expected that more top-dollar energy jobs will become available in the future.

Growing Demand

In conclusion, the energy industry is a lucrative field that offers a variety of high-paying jobs across different educational backgrounds.

With the world transitioning towards clean energy sources, there is a growing demand for professionals in the renewable energy sector. However, non-renewable energy sectors such as petroleum and nuclear also offer high-paying jobs with long-term job security.

As we move forward towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, the demand for jobs in the energy sector is only going to increase. By utilizing networking opportunities and gaining relevant experience through internships, job seekers can find their ideal career path within this industry.

Joe Bensam

Joe Bensam is a dynamic, young blogger and avid entrepreneur, fervently championing the cause of startups and global team collaborations. Riding the crest of the digital age, he harnesses his experiences in the entrepreneurial world to provide practical insights and inspiration.

Starting his entrepreneurial journey at a young age, Joe quickly grasped the potential of a connected global community in shaping the future of business. His writing encompasses his passion for innovative startups, the power of global teams, and the limitless opportunities in entrepreneurship.

Renowned for his energetic writing style and progressive ideas, Joe offers his readers a fresh, forward-thinking perspective on building successful businesses in today's interconnected world.

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