Online Associate Degree Programs in Renewable Energy

You can learn how to create and sustain solar, wind and hydro power through an online associate degree program in renewable energy. Learn more about courses available and online or on-campus options.

Can I Earn an Associate Degree in Renewable Energy Online?

Several schools offer associate degrees in renewable energy, teaching you to create and manage solar-, hydro- and wind-powered energy systems. Very few programs are available online, and those that are typically require some on-campus attendance. Due to the rarity of online offerings in the field, some schools may make online courses available to other colleges' energy programs. Generally, environmental and renewable energy programs at the associate degree level are offered entirely on-campus.

Online AvailabilityOnline programs in renewable energy rare, but possible
ClassesThermal and radiation energy, renewable energy system assembly, environmental considerations in renewable energy production, safety practices and regulations
Online Pre-recorded lectures or online reading material, some on-campus attendance required (hands-on training)
On-campusFace-to-face lectures, hands-on training
Job Outlook (2019-2029) 7% ( for Environmental Engineering Technicians); 61% ( for Wind Turbine Technicians); 51% ( for Solar Photovoltaic Installers);
Median Salary (2020) $51,630 ( for Environmental Engineering Technicians); $56,230 ( for Wind Turbine Technicians); $46,470 ( for Solar Photovoltaic Installers);

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Study?

Associate degree programs teach you about various renewable energy forms and systems. You'll learn how power is created from wind, water, solar and biodiesel sources, and you may be required to select a program concentration. You'll also study the components of the sustainable energy tools, such as hydraulics, pneumatics, process controls and electronics. Some programs may provide you with the opportunity to receive hands-on training through an internship with an affiliated construction or energy company. A few topics you'll learn about include:

  • Thermal and radiation energy
  • Measuring energy production
  • Assembling renewable energy systems
  • Sustainable energy for residential and commercial buildings
  • Environmental considerations in renewable energy production
  • Safety practices and regulations in energy industries
  • Biodiesel and water treatment fundamentals

How Do Online Programs Differ From Campus Programs?

Aside from studying from home, online programs often allow you to learn at your own pace and set your own schedule. However, some exceptions exist, such as classes offered via live video and teleconferencing. For the most part, online portions of an associate degree program include prerecorded lectures and meetings or online reading material. Since most online courses in renewable energy are offered through a shared consortium, you may take classes at more than one college to satisfy your degree requirements.

Both online and on-campus programs offer hands-on training in creating, maintaining and repairing sustainable energy systems. If you participate in a distance learning option, these courses will require that you be present for certain classes or internships. On-campus programs may provide a focus on a particular field of study, such as industrial technology or sustainable construction.

Both types of programs meet the educational requirements to earn professional certification as a renewable energy installation technician with organizations such as the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.