Energy Management

Professionals who work with energy management systems help make homes or businesses more energy efficient. Read about career and educational options here, as well as what you might earn as an energy conservation, engineering or management specialist.

Is Energy Management Right for Me?

Career Overview

As an expert in energy management, you'll use your engineering and business skills to help building and systems designs become more energy efficient, taking into consideration both economic and environmental needs. As a relatively new field of study, energy management embraces energy conservation, alternative power sources, environmental engineering and insulation technologies. Topics in infrastructure security and facilities management might also be found in an energy management program.

Career Options

After you graduate from an energy management program, you may be qualified for a position with a utility company, energy consulting firm or equipment manufacturer. Businesses that are primarily concerned with reducing energy costs and increasing operating efficiencies also employ energy management experts. Government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Energy and state energy departments, hire energy managers to inspect businesses for compliance with ever-evolving regulations. Once employed, you may hold a title as an energy consultant or engineer, an auditor or a facilities manager.

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has predicted an average growth in jobs nationwide for administrative services managers from 2012-2022. A slower-than-average increase in employment was predicted for architectural and engineering managers during the same period. As of May 2013, administrative services managers earned a median annual salary of $82,310, while architectural and engineering managers had median incomes of $128,170 a year (www.bls.gov).

According to PayScale.com in July 2014, senior energy consultants and energy managers earned median annual salaries of $85,318 and $73,383, respectively. At that same time, the median annual salary for an energy engineer was $64,099, while energy analysts earned $55,981 a year.

How Can I Work in Energy Management?

Educational Options

Diploma and certificate programs can provide you with an introduction to energy management or specialized training in a particular resource, such as renewable energy. Associate degree programs in renewable energy and bachelor's degree programs in related fields may combine the study of business with energy-specific topics in oil and gas, alternative technologies and energy efficiency. While master's degree programs usually emphasize business management within the energy industry, doctoral programs may allow for independent research in energy regulations and policies, environmental engineering, energy technologies or occupational health.

An undergraduate program in business administration with a concentration in energy management may allow for specialized coursework in green or renewable energy or sustainable energy management. Technical topics may focus on alternative energy technology, heating and air conditioning systems, lighting applications, fluid mechanics or engineering materials. You could also look for programs with an emphasis on commercial energy, ethical issues, energy economics, project management and government regulations.

Certifications

The Association of Energy Engineers offers a number of voluntary professional credentials, including the Certified Carbon and Green House Gas (GHG) Reduction Manager, Certified Energy Manager and Energy Manager in Training. Earning a certification generally requires a combination of education and work experience, as well as successfully passing an exam. Continuing education is necessary to maintain certification (www.aeecenter.org).

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