Infographic: Where to Get a Green Job

By Matthew Wheeland - August 10, 2011
Infographic: Solar Saves America


Infographic: Where to Get a Green Job

Where To Get a Green Job

Investment in the green economy and renewable energy today will help ensure the U.S. stays competitive in the global economy in the future. But perhaps more importantly, right now investment in the green economy is creating new jobs for millions of job-seekers around the country.

Traditional vs. Clean Job Growth

The green or clean economy refers to the sector of the economy that produces goods and services that benefit the environment. The clean economy is growing and creating new jobs quickly—between 1998 and 2007, job growth in the green economy was nearly triple the growth of all U.S. jobs during the same period.

  • Traditional job growth: 3.7%
  • Clean economy job growth: 9.1%

Renewables Drive Green Job Growth

Within this green economy, four of the top five segments with the highest job growth are in renewable energy. These booming sectors are ripe for qualified job-seekers. Percent change for the renewable energy segments with the highest job growth:

  • Wave/ocean power: 20.9%
  • Solar thermal: 18.4%
  • Wind: 14.9%
  • Carbon storage/management: 13.3%
  • Solar photovoltaic: 10.7%

Top Jobs in Renewable Energy

Renewable energy has become a popular segment of the green economy. Within renewables, hydropower-related businesses employ the greatest percentage of workers. Renewable energy jobs, 2010:

  • Geothermal: 2%
  • Waste-to-Energy: 2%
  • Solar thermal: 4%
  • Biofuels/biomass: 15%
  • Solar photovoltaic: 17%
  • Wind: 18%
  • Renewable energy services: 1%
  • Wave/ocean power: 1%
  • Hydropower: 40%

Who’s Getting Hired?

You don’t have to be an engineer to get hired in the green economy. Industries within the green economy require a variety of positions and experience levels.

Scientists and Engineers

  • Share of all clean energy occupations: 10.1%
  • Share of all U.S. occupations: 5.4%
Green Collar Occupations (Green collar jobs are defined as those that have a median wage that falls within 20 percentage points of the national median wage).
  • Share of all clean economy occupations: 68.7%
  • Share of all U.S. occupations: 42.9%
Low Wage/Low Skill Occupations
  • Share of all clean economy occupations: 6.3%
  • Share of all U.S. occupations: 28.3%

Gettin’ Paid

  • Median wage of typical clean economy job: $44,000
  • National median wage: $38,616

Manufacturing Sweet Spot

Compared to jobs nationwide, a greater portion of jobs in the clean economy are in manufacturing-related segments. 26% of clean economy jobs are in manufacturing. 9% of overall U.S. jobs are in manufacturing. Manufacturing-intensive industries of the clean economy:

  • Solar technologies
  • Wind-energy technologies
  • Electric vehicle technologies
  • Water-efficient products
  • Green chemical products
  • Sustainable forestry products
  • Recycled-content products
  • Energy-saving consumer products

Where the Jobs Are

So you’re looking for a job in the green economy? They’re in big cities—84% of the nation’s clean jobs are in metropolitan areas.

Metro areas that have the largest absolute number of clean jobs in the country:

  • New York-North New Jersey-Long Island, NY: 152,034
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA: 89,592
  • Chicago-Jolie-Naperville, IL-IN: 79,388
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD: 70,828
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD: 54,325
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA: 51,811
  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA: 43,060
  • Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH: 41,825
  • Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX: 39,986
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX: 38,562
Metro areas that have experienced the greatest growth in green jobs between 2003 and 2010 (% refers to average annual % change in green jobs):
  • Knoxville, TN: 14.6%
  • Raleigh-Cary, NC: 13.7%
  • Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA: 11.4%
  • Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR: 10.5%
  • Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY: 8.8%
  • Ogden-Clearfield, UT: 8.6%
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX: 8.5%
  • Tulsa, OK: 8.3%
  • Toledo, OH: 8.1%
  • Albuquerque, NM: 7.8%

The Best Green Job Resources

  • in area of focus choose “environment” or search “green” as a keyword
  • has a “green dream jobs” section
  • Google “green jobs guidebook” (developed as a California-centric resource but provides excellent info on all the different kinds of green job categories plus salary and educational info.

What’s ?

organizes group deals on solar energy. Since 2008, has run hundreds of group deals in over 40 U.S. states and helped thousands of homeowners go solar. We’ve been featured in dozens of publications and programs including The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, USA Today, Marketplace, Wired, and GOOD Magazine. In 2010, sponsored the first-ever solar deal on and received a Heart of Green Award for “Best New Innovation.” Want to find out if there’s a group deal on solar in your area? Sign up for (it’s free). Not ready to go solar, but want to help take solar mainstream? Tell your friends about .


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