This article talks about master’s degree programs in renewable energy and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and certification and continuing education choices.
Master’s Degree Programs in Renewable Energy
Few schools, if any, offer master’s degree programs in renewable and clean energy; those that do, offer them as engineering degrees. More schools are offering graduate certificate programs in renewable energy, in addition to renewable energy concentrations within environmental and policy management graduate degrees. Schools normally offer these programs online.
Students typically take two years to complete the programs that usually include a project or thesis. Full-time students would need a year to complete graduate certificate programs where a related undergraduate degree may not be a requirement for incoming students.
Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a baccalaureate degree in a related subject, such as natural resources or environmental science. They must also submit previous grade point averages and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.
Coursework covers a variety of sources of renewable energy, in addition to the economic and practical realities of using those sources. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:
•Fuel cell science
•Electrical power processing
•Wind power energy
•Advanced renewable energy systems
•Energy production and management
•Energy research methods
Many states mandate the use of renewable sources to reduce energy reduction (Pew Center on Global Climate Change); thereby, leading to a demand for renewable energy experts, engineers, and specialists. They may choose from available job positions such as:
•Wind power equipment engineer
•Solar panel equipment engineer
•Carbon sales adviser
Job and Wage Outlook
In May 2012, energy engineers brought in an average annual wage of $92,030 (O*Net Online). During that year, energy auditors or consultants earned $65,120 on average.
Certification and Continuing Education Choices
Program graduates may seek professional certification to showcase their knowledge and skills. They may choose from various certification options offered to PV installers, small wind installers, and solar thermal installers, among others by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Prior experience and passage of an exam are required to gain certification.