A wind turbine technician maintains and repairs wind energy turbines on a wind farm. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, “Wind-generating capacity in the United States grew 39 percent per year from 2004 to 2009 and is expected to grow more rapidly as demand for renewable energy increases.” This has allowed new careers, such as wind turbine technicians, to become available for those interested in careers related to green energy.
Many wind turbines are more than 150 feet tall and technicians must often scale the turbine to perform routine maintenance and repairs. Personal attributes for this occupation include being physically fit, having the ability to climb heights of more than150 feet and a good mechanical aptitude. Most employers require previous experience performing wind turbine maintenance. Some colleges and vocational schools offer training programs in wind energy and wind turbine maintenance, such as certification or an associate’s degree. Training and previous experience in electronics is also preferred.
Approximately 5 percent of wind energy jobs were in operations and maintenance, according to the American Wind Energy Association, in 2009. Nationally, the median salary for a wind turbine technician was $54,230 per year, at time of publication. The 25th percentile earned $40,892 per year and the 75th percentile earned $85,555 per year.
Some wind turbine technicians earn hourly wages. Median hourly wages were $26.07 a time of publication. The 25th percentile earned $19.66 per hour and the 75th percentile earned $41.14 per hour. Median overtime wages for working more than 40 hours per week were $39.11 per hour.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, states including Texas, Iowa and California lead the U.S. in wind power capacity. These states are most likely to employ the highest number of wind turbine technicians. In Texas, wind turbine technicians earned a median salary of $45,605 per year. In Iowa, the median salary was $44,593 per year and in California, the median salary was $62,849 per year.