The Hidden Green Jobs You Do Not Hear About

The mainstream media has had an all out blitz to promote alternative energy jobs as the green jobs of choice for the foreseeable future. Their reason for the push is that energy efficiency, solar and wind related jobs will bring new opportunities for ambitious individuals, construction companies and manufacturers.While I agree that alternative energy is going to be a strong  job creator, many of the companies and jobs will need a few more years to mature into stable opportunities. Therefore, not everyone who goes after these opportunities will get them.  Here is an alternative. 

Jobs in the green, environmental and infrastructure space  have been ignored and set aside by the media because they do not garner the big head lines. However when you look at the projections of occupations with the highest potential job growth, civil engineering, environmental engineering and environmental technician jobs are slated to grow over 25- 30% over the next decade. These are jobs in companies which use innovative technologies that have a direct impact on protecting the environment and improving quality of life.

 Before I get started you may be wondering about my definition of “green”. These are environmental or infrastructure jobs which require some level of certification, college education or specialized training (Read this article “11 Hot Infrastructure Jobs You can Get Without a 4 year degree”) but not a engineering or science degree. Let’s talk about the hottest environmental and infrastructure jobs the media will not tell you about. 


  1. Air Quality and Emissions Measurements: These are the jobs that will do all of permitting and testing for greenhouse gases (CO2, NO2, SO2, CH3 ) and other emissions. Once the Air quality engineers have done their work, the stack testing (or Air measurements) team will collect and prepare air samples  for laboratory testing. Stack testing is mandatory for all companies which have any type of smoke stack or emit gases as a result of their processes. A coal-fired energy facility is a great example of a gas emitter. Every few years, these plants must be tested to ensure they are following the current emissions guidelines. In 2010, a large number of manufacturing and energy plants are due for testing because their permits are due for renewal. Environmental companies are starting to hire teams of people to do that work.

  3. Environmental Remediation and Restoration: The recession has caused chemical, manufacturing, mining and oil companies to close facilities across the country. A large number of these sites are contaminated with potentially hazardous waste materials and are put on the Superfund environmental cleanup list. The EPA requires companies who close a site to provide money to cover cleanup costs or face serious fines. Once the company has agreed to a settlement, environmental engineers,inspectors, scientists and technicians are called in to assess the hazards, classify the materials and prepare a plan for cleanup. Jobs in this sector are heating up because the EPA  has stepped up its levels of enforcement and has distributed stimulus related contracts for private environmental companies for cleanup projects. Just to give you an idea of the amount of money involved read this article on the EPA fines on a mining company (EPA Collects $1 Billion Dollar Fine).

  5. Environmental Business Development and Sales: The media does not consider someone who sells environmental services as front page news but these jobs have an excellent future. Employers are looking for experienced people who have proven relationships with government and commercial companies. Opportunities in the environmental management/compliance software, water/wastewater, remediation, decontamination equipment, hazardous waste and consulting engineering will become particularly hot as the industry picks up speed.


How I get in position for these opportunities? 

Here are some positive steps to take to embark on your environmental career.

  1. Evaluate what transferable skills you already possess.
  2. Subscribe to Hinton Human Capital Blog and Jobs
  3. Find out what training programs are available. The EPA has funded training programs in a number of states.
  4. Decide which certification, education or training you want to pursue (Check out our product “Is It Worth The Green”)
  5. Put together a networking plan of contacts
  6. Write a new resume which highlights you transferable skills and new environment training
  7. Execute your plan and evaluate your results.

 Suggested Reading And Subscriptions

3 Responses to “The Hidden Green Jobs You Do Not Hear About”
  1. Environmental remediation has reduced its workforce significantly in the past year. Much of it is driven by development of properties. The jobs that are going are mostly from federal funding and this is a small portion compared to the normal activity in this industry. Many Environmental Scientists and Engineers (myself included) are out of work, or making due on limited consulting opportunities. The states do not currently have the funds or manpower to enforce these cleanups which is where most of the enforcement of environmental clean-ups comes from. This industry will continue to grow but not until the economy starts picking up and there will be a significnat number of experienced individuals waiting to fill these positions.

    • Brian,

      Thanks for your comment. You are right. The environmental industry has cut workforce due to a lack of funding or delay of spending by responsible parties. There is some good news on the horizon. The EPA has been more aggressive on the enforcement front and I believe we will see more projects from private clients soon.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stephen Hinton. Stephen Hinton said: #Careers The Hidden Green Jobs You Do Not Hear About: The mainstream media has had an all out blitz to promot… #jobs […]

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