The green sector is already one of the fastest going sectors of the economy, and it is expected to add hundreds of thousands more jobs by 2020. If you are interested in a green career, one of the easiest ways to get started is through green jobs training and education.
The good news is, green jobs training and education services abound, both online and offline, and many programs offer certification with the completion of the course. Here is a sampling of some of the green training and certification programs available:
LEED certification is a great way to prepare for a green building career. The LEED program, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is administered by the US Green Building Council and is the most widely recognized green building standard in the US. In fact, many municipalities are beginning to require new construction to meet minimum green standards set by LEED, so the demand for LEED Accredited Professionals is expected to rise quickly. LEED offers a multi-tiered rating program for both buildings and professionals. To become a LEED Accredited Professional, you must first demonstrate an understanding of LEED’s green building principles and concepts by passing the LEED Green Associate exam. After passing the Green Associate exam and gaining relevant experience working on a green building project, you will become eligible to take the higher level LEED Accredited Professional exam and become a LEED AP. The current pass rate for the LEED exams is just 34%, so careful and thorough preparation is very important, and LEED seminars are the best way to quickly acquire the depth and breadth of knowledge required to do well on the exams.
The renewable energy industry is growing by double digits every year in many regions of the United States, and a growing number of colleges and universities around the United States are offering certifications and degrees in renewable energy technology, including programs focused on wind, solar, and geothermal energy. Some renewable energy industry organizations also offer workshops, seminars, and other training programs that can get you a good job in the renewable energy industry in a surprisingly short period of time.
Energy auditor is another career that is likely to see explosive growth in the coming years as more and more new buildings are built to green standards and existing buildings are retrofitted to make them more energy efficient. Both homeowners and business owners are realizing that going green is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for the pocketbook, and with energy costs expected to rise as demand returns to pre-recession levels, many families and business owners will be trying to lower their utility bills with green renovations and retrofits. Energy auditors are a vital part of this process, and certification is relatively simple to acquire. One of the most widely recognized programs is the Building Performance Institute’s Building Analyst program. Many colleges and training programs offer courses that can help prepare you for BPI certification.
Some green jobs, such as sustainability managers, do not require certification as a prerequisite, so green certification, while an extra feather in your cap, won’t necessary compensate for on the job experience. Some green certifications, such as LEED accreditation, are here to stay. For other jobs, like solar panel installation, training and certification requirements may vary state to state.
If you decide to invest in green education, make sure you research whether the career you have in mind truly needs it, and what the requirements are.
What green jobs training and certification programs do you recommend?