Many professionals pushed out of their jobs in recent years are looking into new technologies rather than waiting for a job to open up in their previous field. This is because jobs may be hard to come by in some industries, but are booming in others. One industry that is expected to grow enormously in years to come is the field of wind technology.
Wind is a natural resource that cannot be stripped from the earth. It is a sustainable resource that is completely natural, and which has been underestimated in years past.
Today, wind technology has advanced to the point it can now be utilized as a reliable power source. Some people are building smaller wind turbines in their own backyards to reduce dependency on the public electric grid, but energy companies around the world are building larger turbines that are far more reliable.
Once these large wind turbines are erected hundreds of feet into the sky, someone needs to take care of them. Workers are needed to replace parts, test torque, and ensure optimal functioning on all wind turbines at all times. This has created a lucrative career opportunity: wind turbine technicians.
Wind Turbine Technician Job Responsibilities
A wind turbine technician will work with a team of well-trained professionals to maintain facilities surrounding wind turbines and maintain the turbines themselves. Part of the job includes basic cleaning and maintenance on the premises surrounding the wind turbines. This requires attention to safety regulations for the industry and is important for overall safety on the job. Fleet vehicles and equipment used while maintaining the wind turbines will be maintenance and fixed by wind turbine technicians as well.
The rest of the job involves direct maintenance and repairs on large wind turbines used to produce substantial amounts of power for consumer use. Technicians must maintain all parts of each turbine, changing filters and other parts on a regular schedule. If something is not functioning properly, it will be the job of the technicians to figure out the problem and fix it immediately. This may involve going hundreds of feet into the air to gain access to various parts of the turbines.
Wind turbine technicians must work with hazardous chemicals and heavy machinery exclusive to this industry. It is their job to remain up-to-date regarding safety regulations and other changes in this field of technology. The field continues to grow and develop, so the job requires constant learning and continuing education.
Wind Turbine Technician Training
Most wind turbine technicians will start out with a certificate or two-year degree program in applied sciences. These programs are specifically geared in the direction of wind turbine technology, so they only teach the basic skills and information needed to become a wind turbine technician. Training includes the science and technology behind wind turbines as well as basic information about engineering and other related fields of science.
In some states, entry-level wind turbine technician positions are being filled by students who have yet to graduate from their training programs. They are being sought out by companies implementing massive wind turbine programs because the industry is growing so quickly. As new wind turbines are erected, there is an immediate need for teams of technicians to carry our maintenance duties and ensure operations continue smoothly.
Some companies may be willing to offer on-the-job training in order to get new technicians started faster. The majority of technicians will need to finish a wind turbine educational program before being considered for employment.
Chances for Advancement in the Field
Many wind turbine technicians will eventually be considered for team leader or management positions. Those who continue their education in the fields of science or engineering may be considered more for these positions than those who never move beyond the basic associate’s degree in applied sciences.
Once promoted to team leader or a management position, the employee will oversee other technicians and make sure all aspects of a wind turbine plant are operating smoothly. They may also be in charge of hiring and firing lower level wind turbine technicians. The biggest perk of the job is an increase in salary.
Essential Skills for a Wind Turbine Technician
Beyond obtaining an associate’s degree or certificate in applied sciences for a technician position, ideal wind turbine technicians will possess the following attributes:
- Communication skills
- Comfort with heights
- Fast thinking
- Following directions
- Physical conditioning
- Attention to safety
Wind turbine facilities can be dangerous work facilities. There are hazardous chemicals and dangerous equipment that must be used on a daily basis. Some responsibilities require technicians to work hundreds of feet off of the ground without the immediate support of other team members. This means they must know how to safely do their jobs, and they must make critical decisions on their own. Some fast thinking may be involved to get some aspects of the job completed safely.
Those seeking positions as wind turbine technicians must be able to work in harmony with others while still working independently as needed. Clear communication is essential to make sure all duties of the job are being completed on schedule. Technicians should also be in good enough physical condition to remain on their feet performing physical tasks most of the day.
Finally, a strong attention to safety and willingness to abide by industry safety standards is essential to the job. Depending on the exact responsibilities for a given technician, there will be a variety of safety guidelines that must be understood and followed at all times.
Since this field is growing rapidly, there is a substantial demand for technicians able to go through the training and come to the job with all of the above skills. While the training can be demanding and the technology is not easy for every student to understand, this is a lucrative field for those in need of a job to consider. It is estimated that wind turbine energy will become more and more important in years to come.