How to Become a Wind Turbine Technician
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- Wind turbine technician positions are secure, and these workers are increasingly in demand.
- Wind turbine technicians do not need a degree, but some complete associate programs.
- On-the-job training usually lasts approximately 12 months.
- Wind turbine technicians play a critical role in the alternative energy industry.
In recent years, wind turbine technician jobs have grown dramatically. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects positions for these professionals will increase by 68% between 2020 and 2030. Individuals considering this exciting career path likely want answers to some questions before fully committing.
Keep reading to learn about educational and training requirements for wind turbine technicians, career and salary outlook, and similar jobs that offer above-average salaries.
Steps to Become a Wind Turbine Technician
- Earn a high school diploma or GED certificate
- Complete a certificate or associate degree program in wind energy technology from a community college or technical school
- Participate in on-the-job training, which typically lasts at least 12 months.
- Seek professional certification
Types of Wind Turbine Technicians
Individuals considering this path may want to look into similar positions before deciding which career to pursue. Other jobs with similar requirements and skillsets may be a better fit for some people. Similar positions to consider include:
- Crane and Tower Operators — Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $56,690
- Construction Equipment Operators — Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $49,100
- Electrician — Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $56,900
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technologists and Technicians — Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $67,550
- Line Installers and Repairers — Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $68,030
- Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers — Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $89,090
What Is a Wind Turbine Technician?
Wind turbine technicians play a vital role in the alternative energy sector, installing and repairing wind turbines that provide power for individuals, businesses, and governments. Individuals considering this position usually do not mind heights and enjoy problem-solving in sometimes high-pressure situations.
What Does a Wind Turbine Technician Do?
Wind turbine technicians have several important duties. They inspect existing wind turbines for physical integrity and upkeep, both from a distance and by climbing the turbine towers. In addition to addressing repairs of faulty systems, technicians also perform routine maintenance on the turbines and replace any outdated components.
While completing their tasks, technicians also collect data about their findings to improve systems and analyze effectiveness.
Wind Turbine Technician Responsibilities
- Inspect and repair wind turbines, performing maintenance as needed
- Resolve wind turbine issues, such as electrical, hydraulic, or mechanical system malfunctions
- Keep a schedule of required maintenance and make repairs at set times
- Keep an inventory of necessary parts and tools for emergency repairs
- Collect data while in the turbine tower for analysis and research
Requirements to Become a Wind Turbine Technician
All individuals planning to become wind turbine technicians must complete a series of steps before qualifying for a job. The first step involves completing high school and earning a high school diploma or GED certificate.
From there, many aspiring technicians enroll at a community college or technical school to study wind turbine technology. While only a certificate is required, some students pursue an associate degree to stand out from the competition when looking for a job.
Certification Process for Wind Turbine Technician
According to the BLS, professional certification as a wind turbine technician is not currently mandatory. That said, it could become a requirement in the future. Already, some companies give preference to applicants who took the extra step to complete the certification process.
Aside from ensuring techs possess advanced knowledge of the discipline, professional certifications also demonstrate a commitment to continuing education. Many professional associations provide certifications, while some educational programs include certification as part of the curriculum. Topics covered in these programs include proper tower climbing, self-rescue, and electrical safety.
Wind Turbine Technician Salary and Job Demand
The BLS projects substantial growth for wind turbine technician roles in the coming years. The organization projects jobs will expand by 68% between 2020 and 2030. By the end of the decade, nearly 5,000 new jobs will be added to an existing 7,000 positions. Additionally, approximately 1,400 existing roles will open each year due to technicians changing industries or retiring.
As of May 2020, these professionals earned a median yearly salary of $56,230. Those working in professional, scientific, and technical services earned the highest median wage at $60,840 per year. Wind turbine technicians working in repair and maintenance earned the least at $52,070 per year. Wind turbine technicians in the top 10% of earners took home more than $83,580 as of May 2020.
Because the BLS projects jobs for wind turbine technicians to increase drastically in the coming years, opportunities exist for these professionals to grow their careers and earn substantial salaries.
Wind turbine technicians who initially earned certificates can update their credentials by pursuing associate degrees. Others may decide to participate in continuing education courses. The result of this effort could be qualifying for leadership and management positions that offer higher salaries and more opportunities.
5 Top-Paying States
According to the BLS, these states pay wind turbine technicians the most:
- New Mexico
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Wind Turbine Technician
Is wind turbine technology a good career?
Pursuing a wind turbine technician job is a great decision for individuals interested in a fast-growing, stable career. With jobs projected to grow by 68% between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS, professionals with the required skills should be in demand in the coming years.
These professionals earned a median annual salary of $56,230 in 2020, an above-average salary for roles that do not require a bachelor's degree. Those looking for a job with low barriers to entry will find all this and more by becoming a wind turbine technician.
How long does it take to become a wind turbine technician?
The time it takes to become a wind turbine technician depends on the student and their chosen educational path. Most wind turbine technology certificates offered at vocational schools take one year to complete. Students can earn an associate degree at a community college in two years of full-time study.
After completing their formal education requirements, graduates take part in an apprenticeship program under an established technician to learn the technical skills required to do the job. These programs usually last at least 12 months and are paid.
How much do wind turbine technicians make?
According to the BLS, wind turbine technicians earned a median yearly salary of $56,230 in 2020. The top 10% of earners made salaries over $83,580 during the same year. Those in the bottom 10% of earners took home less than $40,490.
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