Before embarking on any new career, it is important to know what your return on investment is. In other words, is it worth it to pay for the schooling I need to get into this profession? The same rule applies in the Wind Industry, and this research should be done before enrolling in a Wind Turbine Technician training program somewhere. The best way to make that decision is to find out how much money you can expect to make in the Wind Industry after you get your degree or certification. From there it should be easy to do a cost-benefit analysis and weigh the pros and cons of making this career decision.
Online Salary Information
There is a lot of information online about how much Wind Turbine Technicians make. However, the data that is returned from a simple Google search of this topic brings back a wide variety of salaries from a vast array of websites. How do you know what salary information can be trusted? Why are the numbers so different? If you are interested in making a life altering decision based on how much money you will be making when you are done with your training, then it is incredibly important that the salary information you find is accurate.
Go Straight to the Source
For us here at windturbinetechnicians.net, accuracy and honesty about our industry comes first and foremost. That is why when reporting salary information we go right to the source – the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This Bureau is a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, and is the primary source for the most accurate salary information for any field of work. There is a plethora of economic and labor information on this site, assembled by statisticians and mathematicians, based on surveys and other real empirical data. All of this is to accomplish their mission, which is to “collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision-making.” (1)
Because the Wind Turbine Technician occupation is so new, the BLS does not have a specific category for it yet. Instead these occupations fall under the more general heading of “Other Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations”. This is why you will see so much conflicting salary data online, since much of it is anecdotal or based on a very small sample size. In the next year or so, expect the BLS to catch up to this industry and list Wind Turbine Technician as a separate occupation. This will finally put to rest the question of how much you can expect to make.
A Look at the Numbers
While we do not have salary information specific to the exact job title of Wind Turbine Technician, we can still draw some conclusions from the BLS data. All of the charts below are as of May 2011, which is the latest information available:
This overview shows us that the mean (average) hourly wage for this rather broad category is $20.86, which translates to $43,490 annually. However, a look deeper into the number suggests something different for a Wind Turbine Technician:
The table above shows the general “Other Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations” category broken down by industry. Highlighted in yellow are the two industries a Wind Turbine Technician occupation is the most likely to fall under. Based on these numbers, one can surmise that the average Wind Turbine Technician makes anywhere from $43,460 to $63,130 per year.
Of course, there are some caveats worth noting. First of all, this is our best guess as to what the BLS is categorizing the Wind Turbine Technician profession. Secondly, this is the average salary. Anyone fresh out of school who has a degree or certification but no experience will almost certainly be making less than the average. But on the other hand, there are many experienced technicians out there making much more than the average. As with any profession the geographical region also can affect salary, as many companies will adjust their compensation based on the cost of living in the area. Also worth noting – a traveling Wind Turbine Technician can earn more, because of their mobility and willingness to go where the wind farms are. This may or may not be something that fits your individual situation.
Unfortunately, this information is all we have to go on for now. Until the Bureau of Labor and Statistics catches up with the rapidly changing Wind Industry, we cannot know for sure the exact salary data. However, it is better to be informed of this fact than to take the best guess of other websites out there.