Green Collar Jobs
Forget white collar jobs. The big money is in green collar work.
In March of last year, Vice President Biden claimed that Americans currently making $40,000 a year could increase their salary to $100,000 or more just by attending green training programs. Many doubted the numbers and chalked it up to typical Biden bluster. Yet, there may be some basis to his claim after all.
According to a 2009 Carbon Salary Survey, affiliated with Thomson Reuters, green workers earn more than $75,000 a year on average worldwide, and approximately $100,000 in America. Not to mention some sweet end-of-the-year bonuses.
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So Where Are All the Jobs?
The Pew Charitable Trusts reported last year that there are currently about 770,000 green jobs in the U.S., but that number is expected to grow wildly in the coming years, with some estimating there may be as many as 4.2 million green jobs by 2038. Much of this will be kick-started with the help of the stimulus bill, which set aside about more than $100 billion for various green initiatives.
So where are all of these jobs now? Certain states like California and Colorado have more of these positions than others. But most states offer them, you just have to know what to look for.
Here is our list of some of the highest-paying green jobs out there.
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Chief Sustainability Officer
This is a relatively new position that is being offered at big companies around the country like AT&T, DuPont and Sun Microsystems. Their primary job is to implement and articulate environmental initiatives to make the company more sustainable.
For other new jobs created during the recession, check out MainStreet’s article on new odd jobs.
Estimated Salary: $100,000 according to Forbes.
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As an environmental lawyer, you can expect to have a representative at the Environmental Protection Agency on speed dial. Environmental lawyers take on cases for green interest groups and big companies looking to comply with federal regulations.
Estimated Salary: On average, they make $86,000, but depending on which city you choose to work in, you can make as much as $115,000.
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Chief Technology Officer
With the number of green startups growing, more and more companies are looking for qualified candidates to design and manage their technology innovations.
Estimated Salary: $103,000 on average with a few years experience, according to Payscale.com.
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Senior Urban Planner
Last year, Fast Company ranked this profession as one of the 10 best green jobs for the next decade. Urban planners work to improve transit systems and plan for possible disasters like floods that may hit a given area. Not only is the job useful for the country, it pays well too.
Estimated Salary: Urban planners with more than 20 years experience can make close to $120,000.
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Green Venture Capitalist
It’s a hard life as a venture capitalist, but it can pay off. By getting in on the ground floor of these young companies, venture capitalists have a good chance at earning some serious dough down the road, assuming that the green revolution continues. Already, green technologies are attracting more venture capital than any other sector.
Estimated Salary: $300,000-400,000, according to Payscale.com.
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Solar Power Engineer
Given that more people are beginning to install solar powers in their homes and companies, these engineers won’t have any shortage of projects to take on.
Estimated Salary: More than $60,000 within your first couple years and $100,000 with less than 10 years experience.
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These scientists study ways we can get the most out of our natural resources without destroying the environment in the process. So, you get to help save the planet and tell people you’re a scientist. That will win you some serious points at parties.
Estimated Salary: Close to $100,000 with 20 years or more of experience.
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It may sound surprising, but Forbes.com listed environmental meteorologists as one of the highest paying green jobs out there. These professionals monitor the fluctuations in the weather to ensure that all the other green jobs on this list are really helping to improve our environment.
Estimated Salary: With a few years experience, meteorologists can make close to $120,000.
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