| February 17, 2014

A Sunny Employment Picture

If you want a job in a growing field, go solar

The pay is good, the job market is growing, and it’s an interesting career to talk about at parties. If you believe a new report, you might want to apply for jobs in the solar energy industry.

The fastest-growing solar jobs are the most accessible – installers. Or so says the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes sun-powered businesses. The foundation conducted a National Solar Jobs Census and found, “Solar employment grew 10 times faster than the national average employment rate of 1.9 percent.”

How fast is that? In 2013, there were 24,000 new solar jobs that didn’t exist in 2012. And the Solar Foundation predicts another 22,000 new jobs will be created this year.

Even better are the salaries. Says the census…

Wages paid by solar firms are competitive, with the average solar installer earning between $20 (median) and $23.63 (mean) per hour, which is comparable to wages paid to skilled electricians and plumbers and higher than average rates for roofers and construction workers. Production and assembly workers earn slightly less, averaging $15 (median) to $18.23 (mean) per hour, slightly more than the national average for electronic equipment assemblers.

Andrea Luecke, the foundation’s executive director and president, boasted, “The industry has grown an astounding 53 percent in the last four years alone, adding nearly 50,000 jobs. Our census findings show that for the fourth year running, solar jobs remain well-paid and attract highly skilled workers. That growth is putting people back to work and helping local economies.”

Next month, Lueke expects to release a state-by-state breakdown of solar jobs, but just the national report is encouraging. While high-paying jobs can keep you out of debt, it’s just as important to be satisfied in your line of work. Note that we didn’t say “happy.”

People like to discuss their dream job, and that’s fine, but those jobs aren’t the norm. Don’t get so overwhelmed with searching for that coveted position that you fail to see other jobs that would fulfill many of your wants and needs. Remember that how great a job is comes down to perspective. A job can be like a dream if it covers everything you enjoy doing, even if others would hate it.

So maybe a solar career is for you. Or maybe not. But the advice is simple: Keep your eyes and ears open for every possibility to make a good living. And if your credit card debt is making you dark and gloomy, call Consolidated Credit to request free help from a certified credit counselor.

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