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Renewable Energy Engineers

Career summary

Renewable energy engineers develop, promote, and implement sustainable energy technologies.

Renewable energy engineers create technology to harness natural energy resources such as:

Renewable energy engineers talk to their clients to learn what they need. Based on this information, engineers design systems and equipment. They make technical drawings of their designs using computer-assisted design (CAD) software.

Renewable energy engineers test the products and systems they design. They adjust the design and construction so the products function properly. Some engineers oversee the construction and assembly of products and systems. They may research costs and get bids from different companies for materials and production.

Renewable energy engineers develop a maintenance schedule for products and systems. They evaluate problems with the systems and tell mechanics which repairs to make.

Some renewable energy engineers work as field engineers and focus on the installation, maintenance, and repair of equipment. Some are energy auditors and monitor how homes and businesses use energy. Others work as renewable energy inspectors or planners.

Related careers

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a renewable energy engineer, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Most students prepare for this field by earning a bachelor's degree. However, there are only a handful of undergraduate degree programs in renewable energy engineering. You can also prepare for this field by majoring in mechanical or electrical engineering. A list of training programs within the United States is available at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/education/educational_professional.html (external link)

As a student you study physics, chemistry, and math. You also take courses in electrical and mechanical engineering. Your upper-division courses focus on renewable-energy content. You will study photovoltaics (solar energy research and technology), energy management and auditing, wind power, biofuels, renewable-energy transportation systems, green building, and fuel cells.

Work experience

You should consider participating in an internship while in college. An internship is usually part of a four-year degree program. It offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.

On-the-job training

In general, renewable energy engineers receive on-the-job training. The length of training varies by employer. Recent graduates work under the guidance of experienced engineers. As you gain knowledge and experience, you have greater independence and work on more difficult tasks.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum (external link) may be different from your state's graduation requirements (external link).

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know


Engineers employed in responsible positions in government or in firms offering services to the public, or who stamp their work as being done by an engineer, must be licensed by the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Engineer-in-training licensing requirements include:

Professional engineer licensing requirements include:

Engineers who wish to be licensed as professional engineers must pay $65 to the State for an initial national exam application. After State approval, $265 must be paid for the registration examination from the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors. The license renewal fee is $116 every two years. Not all engineers in Washington must be licensed.

For licensing information, contact:

Washington State Department of Licensing
Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and
Land Surveyors Licensing Program (external link)

PO Box 9025
Olympia, WA 98507-9025

For information on testing, contact:

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (external link)
PO Box 1686
Clemson, SC 29633-1686


Other resources

Alliance to Save Energy (external link)
American Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) (external link)
(This website provides a list of engineering-related programs accredited by ABET)
415 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (external link)
Two Park Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Discover Engineering (external link)
eGFI - Dream Up the Future (external link)
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy information (external link)
(US Department of Energy)
Engineer Girl! (external link)
National Academy of Engineering
Engineering Your Future (external link)
Institute of Energy Conversion (IEC) at the University of Delaware (external link)
National Academy of Engineering (external link)
500 Fifth Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (external link)
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (external link)
901 D Street SW, Suite 930
Washington, DC 20024
National Science Foundation (external link)
2415 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, Virginia 2231
North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (external link)
56 Clifton Country Road, Suite 202
Clifton Park, NY 12065
Society of Women Engineers (external link)
130 East Randolph Street, Suite 3500
Chicago, IL 60601
Solar Energy International (external link)
Solar Energy Technology Basics (external link)
Technology Student Association (external link)
1904 Association Drive
Reston, VA 20191-1540
Training or continuing education programs in wind energy (external link)
US Department of Energy (external link)
(Renewable energy information)
Washington Business Week (external link)
PO Box 1170
Renton, WA 98057
World Energy Council (external link)


Career cluster

Career path

DOT occupations

Holland occupational cluster