Educator Industry FAQs

I am not aware of the job opportunities in the energy industry. Why hasn’t there been more talk about them in the schools?
In the past, energy companies did not have a difficult time recruiting. Many people heard about career opportunities through family and friends. With the excellent pay and benefits, those who accepted positions typically have stayed until retirement. But times have changed. 80% of energy-company employees are over 40 and 22% are over 50. It is expected that over half will be eligible to retire in next ten years. With the huge wave of retirement underway, there is a need to reach out to the younger generation and build awareness of these stable, highly lucrative careers.

It seems like the jobs that would be available would only be for who are not college bound, with the exception of engineers. Is this true?
This is true and not true. The top priority craft positions do not require a college degree; however, many decide to go back to school to earn their associate degree once they get some on the job experience. Most energy companies will pay for the employee’s higher education.

What are the jobs that will have the most openings?
Based on feedback from energy companies, the four top priority skilled positions are lineworkers, technicians, power plant operators, and pipefitters/pipefitters. Power engineers are also in great demand. Learn more about these jobs.

Do energy industry jobs provide room for long-term advancement?
As some say in the energy industry, you can become anything at an energy company. There are stories upon stories of skilled craft employees who have moved up the ranks into senior management and have even become CEOs. However, this is not for everyone. Many love their careers as first responders and want to spend their time helping their co-workers and the public.

How do I identify students who may be strong candidates for these types of jobs?
Those who enjoy craft types of jobs typically enjoy working with their hands. They are curious about how things work and like to solve problems. In addition, kids who enjoy the outdoors and don’t want to be confined to an office environment may be interested in skilled craft position. To learn more about the skills needed for these types of jobs, see the Skills section of the Get Into Energy / Get Into STEM website.

Power and nuclear engineers are also in great need. Those who excel in math and science may want to move into engineering. While electrical engineering is related and somewhat popular, energy companies specifically need power and nuclear engineers.

What type of electives would they need?
For the four highest priority positions, students will need Algebra I and II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Earth or Environmental Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. These math and science courses are not only needed for the jobs, but also to pass the pre-employment test required at most energy companies.

Are there any special programs where students can go to an energy company and talk to their employees?
Yes. Many energy companies offer summer camps, job shadowing, mentoring, career days, or internships. Call your local energy company for more information.