Climate change and environmental degradation are the major concerns of the present world. Various factors like water scarcity, fossil fuels, excessive pollution, global warming, and biodiversity loss are the causes of environmental degradation. To provide innovative solutions to such environmental issues, many colleges and universities worldwide offer renewable energy degrees.
We need to take the necessary actions to prevent climate change and live in a clean world. It is also our responsibility to save the environment for future generations to come. Sustainable energy is one of the solutions to the problem of environmental degradation. In today's world, energy consumption is massive. We use energy for lighting, manufacturing, transportation, infrastructure, heating/cooling, etc. The excessive use of non-renewable energy such as oil, natural gas, petroleum, coal, etc., is causing harm to the environment.
To make use of sustainable energy, we must consider the alternatives like renewable energy and energy efficiency. Using energy resources like solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal, etc., can prevent the environment from worsening. On the other hand, energy efficiency uses less energy to produce the same amount of energy services.
Renewable Energy as a Career
With the growth of innovative technologies, it is easier to produce and utilize alternative energy resources. The study of this energy technology is growing. Similarly, careers in them are increasing. Graduates and undergraduates have the option to choose sustainable energy as their career path. Further, many colleges and universities worldwide have started including renewable energy degrees as a significant course for their students.
In 2017, Bill Gates said that the study of energy is among the three most impactful career paths for the future. The other two are artificial intelligence and bioscience. According to Gates, these three career choices will make a global impact in the future.
When we talk about a career in this energy, it mainly includes the study of hydro energy, solar power, biomass, bioenergy and biofuel, wind energy, and recycling. Among these, hydro energy, solar panels, and wind farms create many job opportunities for graduates.
Countries from all over the world are concerned about climate change. So they are trying to find ways to fight it by educating students and making them skilled in energy studies. Along with that, they are also concerned about the increasing carbon emissions into the environment. Various technological innovations are helping them reduce such carbon emissions to the environment.
Renewable Energy Degrees
With renewable energy degrees, graduates can work and build a promising career in energy studies. The study of this energy has the ultimate goal to save the environment and prevent its organisms from the damage caused. This sector will see massive growth in the years to come. The universities are also likely to promote energy studies more in the coming years.
Students can choose energy studies at different levels of their careers. They can obtain Bachelor's degrees, Master's degrees, and doctorate degrees in energy studies. We will discuss more on these later.
Renewable Energy Jobs
The energy sector creates many jobs for graduates. This sector requires a skilled workforce in different fields. Among them, the essential ones are engineers, technologists, and project managers. Further, this sector also involves business analysts, consultants, architects, designers, and researchers.
These jobs require specific skills in context to their respective positions. For example, engineers focus on design and manufacturing. Similarly, project managers focus on the life cycle development of projects. According to the International Energy Agency, solar energy will potentially expand its renewable energy by 50 percent by the year 2024. It will create more jobs in the solar energy sector.
Graduates will have many career paths in renewable energy technology development. A single project requires people from different backgrounds with different skill sets—from designers to developers, managers to analysts, and environmentalists to sales representatives.
Source: U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics (Elka, 2018)
Renewable Energy Skill Shortage
According to Asif Rehmanwala, group commercial director at Ecotricity, there is a shortage of skill sets in the energy sector. Further, he says that there are fewer engineers and scientists today in comparison to the past. Now, most are in the commercial and management industries.
Furthermore, he says that engineering skills are rare nowadays, especially the environmental engineers. Similarly, scientists like ecologists, landscape analysts, and wind analysts are also few.
So there are a lot of opportunities for people who have an interest in this field. If they have the proper skill set, they will not have any issues pursuing their sustainable energy career.
Earning Potential In Renewable Energy Sector
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2019, the average salary of people working in solar photovoltaic system jobs was $44,890 per year. The number of such jobs that year was 12,000. Similarly, the average wage of wind turbine technicians was $52,910 per year. The number of wind turbine technician jobs that year was 7,000.
It shows that working in the energy sector is not only good for the environment, but you can also earn good money here.
What is the Eligibility to Study Renewable Energy?
The Bachelor's degrees programs in renewable energy focus on the mechanical workings systems. It mainly includes the study of designs and installations. Similarly, the Master's renewable energy degrees focus on the scientific side.
The study of renewable energy degrees requires a strong background in math and science because of its technical nature. Instead of making energy studies a separate course, some engineering degrees have included renewable energy as a part of their course.
To study Bachelor's in renewable energy, you will need a high school degrees or GED (General Educational Development). The same goes for an associate's degrees. To study for a Master's renewable energy degrees, you will need a bachelor's degrees.
Associate's Degrees in Renewable Energy
An associate's renewable energy degrees is an undergraduate degrees where students will obtain the basic skills and knowledge of energy systems. Students will learn how wind, sun, and other renewable sources can reduce fossil fuel consumption in this course.
Furthermore, an associate's degrees will also teach students about the electrical construction of photovoltaic systems. The students will learn about the mechanical workings of wave-driven turbines and all the basics of these energy systems. This course also includes cost-benefit analysis and evaluation of potential locations for the installation of energy systems. Similarly, it teaches the benefits of repairing existing systems.
Bachelor's Degrees in Renewable Energy
A Bachelor's renewable energy degrees lies at the same level as an associate's degrese. However, there are only a few alterations between the two. Students will learn about designing, installing, and repairing green energy systems for residential and industrial purposes in a bachelor's course.
Moreover, they will learn about heat generation with ground sources, storing power from wind currents, and charging electrical devices using photovoltaic cells. This course also includes developing biofuels and applications of wind power, sunlight, hydro energy, and geothermal energy.
Master's Degrees in Renewable Energy
A Master's renewable energy degrees is a post-graduate degree. It is more advanced than bachelor's and associate's degrees. In a Master's degree course, students will learn how to apply clean energy design in the real world. They will gain knowledge on upgrading existing systems and creating more advanced and innovative ones.
Furthermore, students will learn about auditing energy use from the manufacturing process to transmit energy between places. Also, they will know how to use fuel cells and apply energy efficiency and management techniques to various energy systems.
Criteria For International Students
For international students who want to pursue their careers in renewable energy, there are specific requirements. Depending on the country, location, and university, there are different requirements for these students.
The essential criteria for international students to achieve renewable energy degrees are English proficiency and language skills. Students need to provide proof of these skills. They must be certified with it, especially if they want to apply to the United States, Canada, Australia, and other European countries.
Below are some of the essential criteria for international students depending on which locations they apply for the renewable energy degrees.
- IELTS (Score: 6.5 or higher)
- TOFEL iBT (Score: 90)
- TOEIC (Score: 800)
- TOEFL score of at least 79(IBT)/ 213(CBT)/ 550(PBT)
- GRE score that is 290 or above
- PTE Academic
- C1 Advanced
- PTE Academic
- C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency
Note: The requirements may vary depending on which university you are applying for the degree. So it is better to check the university website to know the conditions specific to the university.
Master's in Renewable Energy
As we have previously discussed, a Master's renewable energy degrees prepare students to overcome real-world challenges. This course is designed so that there will be an increase in the production of sustainable energy in the world.
Students will develop skills and knowledge in the production, development, storage, and transmission of sustainable energy. Further, they will obtain the skills to overcome energy production problems and issues. These skills are created for technologies like solar, wind, hydro, biomass, etc.
After graduating, students will be qualified to work in the sustainable energy industry. They will be able to generate ideas and innovations for environmentally friendly use of energy. Moreover, they will be able to analyze and solve energy-related issues.
The cost and duration to complete a Master's degree in renewable energy may vary according to the country, region, and university. For the Master's degree, there are several options for students. Some of those options include:
- Power plant management and operations
- Design and installation of energy systems
- Employment in energy efficiency and alternative energy usage
- Energy auditing
After graduating with a Master's degree, students will be eligible to pursue a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in renewable energy.
Universities With Master's Degree in Renewable Energy
Here is a list of universities with Master's degree programs in renewable energy. The list includes universities from different countries across the world.
Master's Degree in Renewable Energy in the US
- Master of Science in Energy Systems - Northeastern University
- Engineering Sustainable Systems - University of Michigan
- Master of Science in Sustainable Management - University of Wisconsin
- Energy and Resources - University of California, Berkeley
- Renewable Energy Engineering - Oregon Institute of Technology
- Sustainable Energy Engineering - University of Maryland
- Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems - University of Pennsylvania
- Energy Engineering - University of Illinois at Chicago
- Environmental Technology & Sustainability - New York Institute of Technology
- Master of Science in Green Technologies - University of Southern California
- Engineering Sciences MS: Focus on Clean Energy - SUNY Buffalo
- Master of Science in Energy Management - UT Dallas
- Master of Science in Energy - Texas A&M
- Renewable & Sustainable Energy - University of Colorado Boulder
- MA in Climate and Society - Columbia University
- M.S. in Applied Energy and Electromechanical Systems - University of North Carolina Charlotte
- Energy Management - North Carolina State University
- Solar Energy Engineering and Commercialization - Arizona State University
Master's Degree in Renewable Energy in Canada
- M.S. in Sustainability Management - University of Toronto
- Master of Engineering Leadership in Clean Energy - University of British Columbia
- Sustainable Energy - Carleton University
- Sustainable Energy Development - University of Calgary
- Renewable Resources - University of Alberta
- Energy Systems Engineering Technology - Centennial College
Master's Degree in Renewable Energy in Australia
- Master of Engineering in Renewable Energy - Australian National University
- Master of Renewable and Sustainable Energy - Murdoch University
- Master of Engineering in Sustainable Energy - RMIT University
- Master of Energy Systems - University of Melbourne
Master's Degree in Renewable Energy in the UK
- Renewable Energy Systems Technology - Loughborough University
- Renewable Energy Systems Engineering MSc - University of Surrey
- Renewable Energy Engineering MSc - Coventry University
- Renewable Energy Engineering MSc - University of Exeter
- Energy and Environmental Technology and Economics MSc - University of London
- Renewable Energy MSc - Cranfield University
- MSc in Energy Systems - University of Oxford
Master's Degree in Renewable Energy in Sweden
- MSc Sustainable Energy Engineering - KTH Royal Institute of Technology
- Master Programme in Energy Systems - University of Gävle
- Solar Energy Engineering - Dalarna University
- Sustainability Engineering and Management - Linköping University
Master's Degree in Renewable Energy in Norway
- Renewable Energy - University of Agder
- Renewable Energy Systems - University of Oslo
- Master’s Programme in Energy - University of Bergen
- Energy, Natural Resources and the Environment - NHH Norwegian School of Economics
Master's Degree in Renewable Energy in Denmark
- Sustainable Energy - Technical University of Denmark
- Innovative Sustainable Energy Engineering - Technical University of Denmark
- Sustainable Energy Engineering - Aalborg University
- MSc Wind Energy - Technical University of Denmark
- Environmental Engineering - Technical University of Denmark
Master's Degree in Renewable Energy in Germany
- Energy Engineering and Management - Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
- Renewable Energy, Water and Waste Management - SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences
- Energy Management, M.BA. - Technical University of Berlin
- MSc Renewable Energy Systems - Hamburg University of Applied Sciences
- MSc Renewable Energy - TH Köln (University of Applied Sciences)
Also Read: Top 15 Renewable Energy Companies in USA
Ph.D. in Renewable Energy
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the most prestigious degree in academic studies. It is a postgraduate degree, and it lies among the highest levels of education for students. With this degree, students become experts, and they obtain research skills in their respective fields of study.
Furthermore, a Ph.D. degree also provides the students with the writing skills to publish their work. They also develop leadership skills to further their research and development. Usually, a Ph.D. graduate researches academic and industrial purposes. In context to energy systems, graduates will be skilled in providing innovative solutions to address energy issues.
Ph.D. in renewable energy provides students with an understanding of energy systems, including energy production and distribution. In the present context, knowledge of the issue of climate change is also essential. Moreover, Ph.D. in renewable energy includes policy development, finance, law, new technologies, strategy-building, innovation, and low-carbon power generation technologies.
The cost of pursuing a Ph.D. in renewable energy also depends on universities, country, and region. The duration for completing the course can be anywhere from three to five years. Upon completing the course, graduates can pursue their careers in both the public and private sectors. The eligibility to study Ph.D. in renewable energy is that the student must have graduated with a Master's degree in the respective field from a recognized university.
Universities With Ph.D. in Renewable Energy
Here is a list of universities with Ph.D. in renewable energy. The list includes universities from different countries across the world.
Ph.D. in Renewable Energy in the US
- Ph.D. Engineering - Energy Systems Emphasis - University of Georgia
- Ph.D. Engineering - Resilient Infrastructure Systems Emphasis - University of Georgia
- Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Doctor of Philosophy - Northern Arizona University
- Energy Engineering - University of North Dakota
- Doctorate of Renewable Energy - Atlantic International University
Renewable Energy Ph.D. in Australia
- Doctor of Philosophy in Sustainable Futures - University of Technology Sydney
Renewable Energy Ph.D. in the UK
- Renewable Energy - University of Exeter
- Offshore Renewable Energy (Industrial Doctorate Centre) - The University of Edinburgh
- DPhil in Wind and Marine Energy Systems and Structures - University of Oxford
- Geotechnical Engineering and Carbon Capture - Abertay University
- EngD Offshore Renewable Energy - University of Exeter
There are relatively few universities with Ph.D. in renewable energy. Universities in Canada and most European countries have Ph.D. programs mostly in specific renewable energy sectors, like Wind turbines, Photovoltaic cells, fuel cells, energy storage, biomass, bioenergy and biofuels, biogas upgrading technology, algal biofuels, biodiesel production, hydrogen production etc. A few universities in Hong Kong, China, Italy, and Spain provide Ph.D. in renewable energy. The Ph.D. program mainly focuses on research and prototype development as well as state-of-the-art of renewables.
Sustainable energy is the key to overcome the issues of climate change and environmental degradation. Renewable energy and energy efficiency are two aspects of sustainable energy that are the most impactful. A career in sustainable energy can help make the future better because it will produce a skillful workforce for innovation in energy technologies.
Students and undergraduates must pursue renewable energy degrees to build the necessary skills in energy systems. For this purpose, there are many universities and colleges across the world with renewable energy courses. These courses mainly include studying renewable energy resources such as solar power, wind energy, hydro, biomass, and geothermal energy. With such renewable energy sources, we can develop innovative technologies to reduce carbon emissions from the environment. Non-renewable energy sources such as oil, natural gas, petroleum, coal, etc., harm the environment. Our goal is to replace non-renewable energy sources with renewable ones.
A career in renewable energy comes with job opportunities for engineers, technologists, project managers, designers, analysts, consultants, and researchers. A single renewable energy project requires people with skills in many different areas. Hence, there is something for everybody in this sector. Working in this sector makes a positive impact on the environment and people. Also, students can make significant income working in this sector.
The basic eligibility to study Bachelor's in renewable energy is a strong background in maths and science. The eligibility to study Master's in renewable energy is a Bachelor's degree. Similarly, to pursue Ph.D. in renewable energy, the eligibility is a Master's degree in the respective field. Universities and colleges all across the world provide courses in energy studies. It is best to select a suitable institution for you regarding location, cost, and course availability.
FAQs on Renewable Energy Degrees
Is renewable energy a good career choice?
Yes, renewable energy is a good career choice. Climate change has become a massive issue in the world. The leading cause of climate change is non-renewable energy sources like oil, natural gas, petroleum, coal, etc. The study of renewable energy provides better alternatives to non-renewable energy sources. Hence, the innovation of renewable energy technologies will positively impact the environment in the future.
Where is the best place to study renewable energy?
Depending on the country, region, university, and cost, there are many different options for students to study renewable energy. Comparatively, there are many good universities in the United States that provide courses in renewable energy. It is the same in the United Kingdom. Other than that, countries like Canada, Denmark, Germany, and Sweden also have good universities to study renewable energy.
How much do renewable energy engineers earn?
In the United States, the average salary of a Renewable Energy Engineer is $74,595 per year as of March 2021 (Renewable Energy Engineer Salary in the United States, 2021). However, the salary may rise or fall depending on education, skills, certifications, and experience.