Green Jobs

Understanding what a green job or green career entails requires a little more digging than you may think.

What is a Green Job?

With the technology boom that the internet brought about behind us, many economists are looking towards the green job sector to become the next big thing for the economy.  Going green is a trend among consumers, businesses, government and nearly all other sectors, providing a platform of growth that is expansive.  With terms such as green-collar jobs, eco-friendly jobs, renewable energy jobs and similar being thrown around synonymously, we felt it was time to get everyone on the same page as to what a green job really is.  We knew this was going to be a challenge since even Wikipedia claims their definition and examples may not represent a worldwide view.

Understanding Green Jobs and Green Careers

What is a green jobThe topic of green jobs generates interest across multiple economic sectors like academia, government and businesses, thus creating multiple definitions for green jobs.  For purposes of standardization and scalability, we decided to stick with the base definition of a green job that was provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  The BLS defines a green job using two different components, first being a job within a business that produces goods or services that conserve natural resources and benefits the environment.   The second component is a job that improves production processes to be more environmentally friendly or to conserve natural resources.  Thus, the primary difference is that one side creates the green products or services; the other optimizes or improves existing production methods to make them more eco-friendly.

Green careers that focus on creating green products or providing services are segmented into five distinct groups.  To help you get a better grasp on these groups and find green jobs that fit into each segment, we have outlined them below.

  • Energy Efficiency:  The energy efficiency green job group focuses on products and services that provide efficient use of energy, like Smart Grid technologies.  Green careers in this group would also create energy efficient appliances, buildings and automobiles among other areas that improve energy efficiency.
  • Recycling and reuse, pollution reduction and greenhouse gas reduction:  This group speaks for itself as the green jobs in this group focus on pollution control methods, recycling of materials and the removal of hazardous waste.
  • Renewable Energy:  Green energy jobs work to produce energy from renewable sources.  Renewable energy sources include electricity, heat or fuels that are produced in a renewable fashion.  These sources are biomass, geothermal, wind, solar, landfill gas, hydro-power, ocean, and even municipal solid waste.
  • Environmental compliance, education and training and public awareness:  A green career in this group would help enforce the environmental protections and laws, educate and provide green job training or increase awareness about environmental issues.
  • Natural Resource Conservation:  Choosing a green job in the natural resource conservation group will provide you with the opportunity to work with areas such as sustainable forestry, organic agriculture, land management and conservation of water, soil or wildlife.

Choosing a Green Career Can Be Rewarding

Whether you are working to help homeowners reduce their monthly energy bill or helping implement pollution control methods at a manufacturing facility, a green job may leave you with a sense of accomplishment and money in your pocket.  There is high demand for people with green job training in careers like wind energy technicians, photovoltaic installers and designers among many others and that global demand is increasing each day.  A recent study completed by MIT indicated that a majority of companies are now investing in sustainability programs to keep up and maintain a competitive edge.  Whether you are looking to change careers or are just starting out, a green job may be the right choice for you and the planet.


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