The expansion of renewable and sustainable energy in the US and the world creates many job opportunities for qualified individuals. Community colleges and technical schools are currently the forerunners in offering specific degrees to train this new sector. Earning an online associate degree in sustainable energy prepares graduates for many jobs in this growing field of sustainable energy!
How We Ranked The Top Online Schools Associate’s Degrees in Sustainable Energy
The Online Schools Guide editors found schools offering online or hybrid Associates Degrees in Sustainable Energy. We then ranked the programs based on cost, reputation, and future salary.
|1. Bismarck State College||Energy Services and Renewable Technician (ESRE)|
|2. New Mexico Junior College||AAA in Energy Technology|
|3. Salt Lake Community College||AAS in Energy Management|
|4. Colby Community College||AAS in Sustainable and Renewable Energy|
|5. Lane Community College||AAS in Energy Management|
|6. Minnesota West Community and Technical College||Energy Technical Specialist AAS|
|7. Lamar Community College||AAS in Renewable Energy Technology|
|8. Kent State University||Associate of Technical Study in Environmental Management|
|9. San Juan College||AAS in Tribal Energy Management Studies (TEMS)|
|10. Texas State Technical College||AAS in Science in Solar Energy Technology|
1. Bismarck State College
|Degree: AAS in Energy Services and Renewable Technician (ESRE)|
The Bismarck State College online associate’s degree in sustainable energy is the Associate’s of Applied Science in Energy Service & Renewable Technician program. The degree provides a broad background in energy production. It also focuses on technical processes, workplace safety, and system troubleshooting for different energy supplies. In addition, it prepares students for careers in various field service technician positions in solar fields, wind farms, and other areas of sustainable energy.
All of the ESRE classes are taught in a block format, and students can complete all of the coursework in-person or online. However, the program’s first year requires on-campus labs in Bismarck, or students can complete the requirement with job shadowing at approved facilities. In addition, the ESRE associate’s degree has a pathway towards the Bismarck State College Bachelors of Applied Science in Energy Management.
2. New Mexico Junior College
|Degree: AAA in Energy Technology|
New Mexico Junior College has an online Associates Degree in Sustainable Energy. The NMJC Associate of Applied Arts Degree in Energy Technology is a comprehensive program that prepares students for entry-level positions as energy technicians. Students learn about energy infrastructure, safety standards, and environmental protection. In addition, the school offers three related Energy Technology Certificate Programs – Energy Technician, Petroleum Technician, and Nuclear Energy Technician.
New Mexico Junior College was the first of its kind to open in Hobbs, New Mexico. This public community college opened in 1965 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
3. Salt Lake Community College
|Degree: AAS in Energy Management|
Salt Lake Community College offers an affordable online associate’s degree in sustainable energy. Students can earn the AAS in Energy Management online or on-campus taking evening classes. Two blocks of Energy Management courses are accelerated and offered twice a semester. The general education classes needed for the degree are offered on a semester schedule. However, the Energy Management degree courses are accelerated and offered as two blocks within a semester. The program has start dates in August and January, and there is a part-time option available for students that need it.
Students interested in earning a bachelor’s degree can transfer the credits from this program to four-year institutions. For example, students enrolled in the SLCC Energy Management program can transfer to Bismarck State College and complete the online Bachelor of Applied Science in Energy Management. Salt Lake Community College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
4. Colby Community College
|Degree: AAS in Sustainable and Renewable Energy|
Colby Community College has an online Associate of Applied Science in Sustainable and Renewable Energy. Students in the two-year degree program can choose from a concentration in solar photovoltaic technology or wind technology. The degree requires the completion of sixty-six credits. In addition, weekend Boot Camps are offered every eight weeks in the fall and spring semesters. CCC recommends students participate in these events to gain hands-on training.
Colby Community College (CCC) opened in 1964 in Colby, Kansas. The school has a main campus in the town with an agricultural facility outside of the town. The school also maintains a robust online campus and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
5. Lane Community College
|Degree: AAS in Energy Management|
An Associate’s Degree in Sustainable Energy is available online at Lane Community College. The school offers the Associate in Applied Science in Energy Management as one of its green technology degrees through the Science Division of the college. Lane was a forerunner in offering a degree in sustainable energy, one of the first ones in the country. The Lane Energy Management degree program trains students to analyze energy use and patterns in residential and commercial structures. In addition, it teaches them to produce technical energy use reports and provide solutions to lowering energy consumption. Possible careers after graduation include energy auditors and control system specialists.
Lane Community College is in Eugene Organ and enrolls more than 25,000 students annually. The school opened in the 1930s and is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
6. Minnesota West Community and Technical College
|Degree: AAS Energy Technical Specialist|
Minnesota West Community and Technical College (MWCTC) has an associate’s degree in sustainable energy that students can complete online. The MWCTC Energy Technical Specialist degree prepares students to work as technicians in the sustainable energy sector and the field of traditional energy. The program consists of fifteen credits of General Education, thirty-five core curriculum credits, and additional ten credits in a student-selected area of specialization. Students can choose from Fossil Fuels, Wind Energy, Ethanol, Biodiesel, or Nuclear Power Generation classes for the ten credits. This degree program is offered in collaboration with other colleges in the Minnesota State University system. Participating colleges offer classes and accept transfer courses from other schools in the program.
Minnesota West Community & Technical College was formed in 1997 and is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities fifty-four campus system. Minnesota West maintains Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation.
7. Lamar Community College
|Degree: AAS in Renewable Energy Technology|
The sustainability energy online associate’s degree at Lamar Community College is the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Renewable Energy Technologies. Students can complete the sixty-credit renewable energy degree in-person or online. Sixteen credits are general education, and forty-four is degree specific. The general education classes are offered through Colorado Community Colleges Online, a consortium of Colorado community colleges. This degree program covers solar, wind, roofing, basic electrical, building energy auditing, and construction. The Lamar associate’s degree prepares students to enter the field of sustainable energy in more than one area with a broad understanding of energy systems and their installation.
Lamar Community College is the smallest school in the Colorado Community College System. Lamar was founded in 1937 as the Junior College of Southeastern Colorado and joined the Colorado Community College System in 1968. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Lamar Community College.
8. Kent State University – Kent State Online
|Degree: ATS in Environmental Management|
Kent State University offers an online associate’s degree in Sustainable Energy. Through Kent State Online, students can earn an Associate of Technical Study (ATS) in Environmental Management. The degree is for students who have already completed a green industry apprenticeship program for which they will receive twenty-seven credits. This program prepares graduates to work in green industry management roles. This business-focused degree covers supervision, labor relations, accounting, and productivity topics related to the green industry sector.
Kent State University (KSU) is a state-supported university in Kent, Ohio. The university has seven regional campuses and an online campus that offers over fifty programs and has offered online degrees for fifteen years. KSU has accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
9. San Juan College
|Degree: AAS in Tribal Energy Management Studies (TEMS)|
The San Juan College online associates degree in sustainable energy is the Tribal Energy Management Studies (TEMS) Associate of Applied Science program. Students are required to complete fifteen credits that focus on Tribal Energy Management. These classes provide a perspective of energy business and development through the lens of Native American history and culture. The three other components are fifteen hours each of general education, energy core classes, and energy concentration classes. Classes are delivered as a series of five week-long seminars.
San Juan is a community college in Farmington, New Mexico. The public college opened in 1956 and in 1981 became an independent community college. SJCC enrolls around 12,000 students annually at three campuses in Farmington, Aztec, and Kirtland. San Juan Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
10. Texas State Technical College
|Degree: AAS in Solar Energy Technology|
The Texas State Technical College (TTC) associates degree in sustainable energy is the Associate of Applied Science in Solar Energy Technology program. The program takes approximately sixteen months to complete, and most of the general education classes are online. However, in-person classes occur at the school’s Waco campus, where most of the Construction and Maintenance degrees are taught. This program is specific to solar energy and prepares students to be residential and commercial solar technicians.
Texas State Technical College is one of only a few schools in the country that offers a degree in Solar Energy Technology. The school partners with the State Energy Conservation Office and the Texas Renewable Energy Education Consortium to ensure the curriculum meets current industry standards.
What Can I Do With An Online Associate’s In Sustainable Energy?
Some positions a graduate with an associate’s degree can obtain are Solar Energy Technician, Wind Energy Technician, Energy Manager, Facilities Manager. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology and wind technology are two of the areas experiencing extraordinary jobs growth. These industries need technicians that can install and maintain the equipment and the solar industry has many openings in sales. In addition, graduates will find work with energy companies, private employers, and government agencies.
Jobs in construction and building-related fields are also plentiful. The single largest energy user in the US is the building sector. The total energy consumption of this one group accounts for approximately forty percent (40%) of the nation’s total energy consumption. What! More individuals, builders, towns, cities, and states understand the need to focus on this area for energy conservation.
The construction industry has many positions for solar energy techs. And they also have many new jobs related to energy management and efficiency improvement. For example, the construction industry is pushing to build more energy-efficient structures in residential and commercial. And they are simultaneously working to improve the sustainability of existing structures. As a result, energy Managers, Energy Auditors, and Facility Managers with a sustainable energy background are in demand.
How Much Can I Make With An Online Associate’s in Sustainable Energy?
According to the US Government, by way of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sustainable and renewable energy jobs pay in the range of $45,000 to $55,000 a year. These are jobs that may require a certificate or associate’s degree. However, the government is notoriously slow in developing new job information. And if we are fair, this sector is evolving quickly.
So, to get a better picture of an actual salary range, we looked at 2-year degree jobs in demand with an associate degree in sustainable energy on ZipRecruiter. This company uses information from their job postings and payroll data from the company ADP to provide relevant salary estimates for different jobs. ADP is a national provider of payroll services. Still, the information is limited to the companies that use ADP – and not all companies do. According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual pay for a Sustainable Energy worker in September 2021 in the United States is $53,551 a year, or around $4,463 a month. Furthermore, the salary range they report is between $21,000 and $98,000 a year.
What Are Some Jobs in Sustainable Energy?
Some job titles in sustainable energy that you can find online are listed below.
- Business Sustainability Consultant
- Certified Energy Manager
- Director of Sustainability
- Energy Advisor
- Energy Analyst
- Energy Assessor
- Energy Auditor
- Energy Consultant
- Energy Efficiency Analyst
- Energy Efficiency Consultant
- Energy Efficiency Engineer
- Energy Efficiency Specialist
- Energy Engineer
- Energy Management Engineer
- Energy Manager
- Energy Project Manager
- Energy Rater
- Energy Specialist
- Field Energy Consultant
- Senior Energy Analyst
- Sustainable Design Consultant
You may not find the jobs listed above on the BLS website with detailed information. However, below are the ones on which the government does have detailed information.
- Job: install, maintain, and repair wind turbines
- 2020 Median Pay: $56,230 per year
- 2020-2030 Job Growth: 68%
- Job: install, maintain, and repair solar systems
- 2020 Median Pay: $46,470 per year
- 2020-2030 Job Growth: 52%
- Job: exploring, extracting, and monitoring natural resources
- 2020 Median Pay: $50,630 per year
- 2020-2030 Job Growth: 8%
Your Career In Sustainable Energy
Like many jobs in the twenty-first century, these careers emphasize what employees can do as much as what they know. Professionals in sustainable energy may be educated by associates degrees, extensive work experience, career credentials, or advanced degrees. Unfortunately, there is not yet a one-size-fits hat for sustainable energy, making the opportunities even more abundant.
A critical component of sustainability is evaluating, troubleshooting, and improving where we use energy. There are new jobs created daily related to these sustainable energy sources. But there are also new jobs created as we learn how to evaluate and improve our energy use.