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For most of us, landing the right career is hard work. Finding a profession (and a company) that aligns with our passions, strengths, and moral beliefs can be tricky, and no matter who you are, you’ll never end up with a perfect trifecta.

However, there are plenty of ways you can match your passions and strengths with your ethical core to ensure that at the end of every day, you go home feeling challenged, satisfied, and content that you are making the world a better place.

For those of you with a deep-seated love for the environment and a fervor for lessening our impact on the natural world around us, there are a plethora of careers in the alternative energy and sustainability arenas that need to be filled. Furthermore, these are both fast-growing industries, as almost everyone is realizing that we need to make some changes in the way we do business if we want our natural resources to last. This means that there is not only a great career outlook over the next decade, but that there is long-term job stability for environmentally conscious job seekers.

If this sounds like something that would make you happy, you should definitely consider looking into the career prospects for the alternative energy and sustainable urban development fields, each of which likely already has a need for someone with your skills and background.

Solar panels

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There’s a lot of money to be made in the alternative energy arena, and the two fastest-growing areas currently are solar power and wind energy.

Both have grown almost exponentially over the last two decades, and are expected to continue that growth trend over the next twenty years. Residential solar in particular has seen the most growth: in 2000, only a few thousand U.S. homes were utilizing solar power, but that number climbed to over a million by 2015.

This means that the solar industry is in need of professionals from many areas of the construction and home improvement fields: everything from electricians to roofers to contractors to general construction crew can get involved in this booming energy. You don’t have to be a solar power expert to secure a job in this field (though those are needed, too.) Even city planners, urban developers, and lawyers who specialize in property law and taxes have a place in the new realm of residential solar energy.

Wind Turbines

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Wind energy is also in need of skilled workers from many different backgrounds. Have you ever seen those giant wind turbines spinning in an empty field? They may not look that huge from a distance, but the average wind turbine is over 300 feet tall. The tower itself is around 212 feet tall, and the blades alone are 116 feet long. Some of the newer models tower at 400 feet or taller.

These behemoths are not easy to design, manufacture, ship, or maintain. The design and maintenance of windmills is often overseen by specialized engineers, while manufacturing professionals make them and ensure quality control. Many of the pieces, especially the blades, have to be shipped in one piece, which means truck drivers with CDLs and oversized load/multiple axle certifications are needed as well.

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The last area with unprecedented growth and need for skilled professionals is sustainable urban development.

As the world becomes more urbanized, cities grow in both size and population, and we’re in need of more and more solutions to make sure that that growth remains sustainable. City officials are now looking at options like smart traffic lights, smart LED street lights, smart trash receptacles, smart cars, smart commercial trucks, intelligent aircraft, and parking space and railway sensors.

A lot of the outlook for sustainable urban growth comes down to the IoT (the internet of things,) which is the basic concept of all sorts of devices being interconnected into a network. In order to reduce our energy consumption and keep track of things that affect it, interconnectivity with everything in an urban environment is paramount.

This means that sustainable growth initiatives are currently in need of coders and skilled manufacturing professionals, and that need is only expected to grow by the millions over the next several years.

Globe replica

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If you’re environmentally conscious, it doesn’t matter what your skills and background are: you can likely find a career that fits your talents and passions in the areas of alternative energy or sustainable urban development. There are plenty of opportunities available already, and they will only grow over the coming years, but rest assured, if you don’t snap up one of them, someone else will.

Written By
AJ Earley is a small business owner, chef, and freelance writer from Idaho. She has shifted careers several times in her life and enjoys helping others navigate the world of career change. She also loves traveling, especially when she can bring along her cat Buddha.

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