Green Gigs: 9 Eco-Friendly Career Paths to Explore

Being environmentally responsible is no longer just appreciated, it’s expected. As humanity smartens up on the impact of fossil fuels and our over usage of earth-polluting products, more jobs become available to those of us that want to make a difference. Every career path has green opportunities.

When going in your eco-friendly direction, marry your interests and talents into one of these green gigs.

Solar Installation Technician

1. Urban Planner

The Bureau of Labor Statistics green jobs output approach relates to eco-conscious jobs that produce goods/provide services beneficial to the environment and/or conserve natural energy.

Urban planning does just that on a very large scale. The goal is to optimize the effectiveness of a city’s land use and infrastructure. By analyzing economics, environmental and social trends and land-use compatibility, urban planners take on public roles as advisors who take into account sustainability, air pollution, traffic congestion and zoning when building their city plans.

2. Sales

Wind turbine and solar panel sales jobs are available from California to the U.K. To be successful, learn the ins and outs of the sustainable industry you decide to join. For example, if you choose solar sales you will be responsible for marketing and selling solar photovoltaic systems. It is possible to be a solar sales person with a diverse educational background.

3. Park/Forest Ranger

A ranger’s passion is to protect and preserve the Nation’s parklands and forests. Responsibilities include law enforcement, education, emergency response, firefighting, dispatching, protecting natural resources, maintenance and administration. The World Institute for Conservation & Environment reports the need for park rangers is at about 140,000 for areas in developing and transition countries. If a forest doesn’t have a sufficient number of rangers, it could disappear.

4. Solar Installation Technician

As long as the sun shines, you’ll have a career in solar photovoltaic installation. Turning the sun’s power into electricity is catching on, although it’s still in its infancy. Today is the ideal time to become involved in solar technology. Most installations of solar panels will be on roofs.

5. Green Event Planner

If you enjoy organizing events like weddings, conferences or trade shows and live a sustainable lifestyle, a degree in hospitality or event planning and management should be the direction you take. Stay active in the community and sign up for workshops run by the green Meeting Industry Council.

6. Urban Forester

By studying forest management, biology, environmental science or urban planning and volunteering with the Arbor Day Foundation, you can earn a solid position in a city caring for plants and trees in parks and along city streets. Be sure it’s a city that has earmarked a big budget to promote tree care; not a community that has cut its spending on city upkeep. Choose a university that is accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAFNet).

7. Freelancer

There are opportunities working from home as a freelancer in web development, writing, graphic design and other virtual positions. Ask yourself if you are a self-motivator and can focus on work at home.

8. Organic Farmer

You don’t need acres of land in the Midwest to be a modern-day farmer. Eating locally is becoming the norm and farm-to-table restaurants are looking for local options in every city across America. Corporate farms are becoming dismantled as smaller farms begin to make their way into our towns. And as education on the negative effects of chemicals and pesticides increase, consumers demand healthier options.

Once you decide to join the green industry, the job hunt is on. Create profiles on sites like LinkedIn and begin building your personal brand online. Network with contacts in the field you are interested in joining and take advantage of job search tools. Find companies you’d like to work for and their job listings, fill out a job application form online and ace the interview.

Image by Oregon Department of Transportation via Flickr

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