Energy engineer

Renewable energy engineer

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Energy engineers research, design and build power generation plants, and work in the oil and gas industry.

Salary range: £20,000 to £80,000

How to become an energy engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship

University

You can do a degree in an engineering or a scientific subject. Some employers may expect you to have a postgraduate qualification.

Relevant subjects include:

  • mining or petroleum engineering
  • energy engineering
  • Earth sciences
  • environmental engineering
  • renewable or sustainable energy

If you’re interested in postgraduate research and want to continue your studies up to PhD level, you may be able to apply for a course like an EngD.

These courses are offered by the Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy. You would be sponsored by a company to research offshore technologies for wind, wave and tidal power.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and a science for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to start by doing a degree apprenticeship in power or nuclear engineering.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More information

More information

Further information

You’ll find more on energy engineering careers from the Energy Institute, National Grid Careers and Talent Source Network.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • researching and designing new generating sites
  • deciding on the best locations for sites
  • planning and overseeing production programmes for sites
  • managing and coordinating teams of technicians or site workers
  • designing and selecting equipment
  • meeting environmental standards, like carbon reduction targets
  • finding the most cost efficient and productive processes
  • carrying out laboratory experiments 
  • converting experiments into large-scale industrial processes
  • working with geologists, geophysicists and specialist contractors
  • managing projects and budgets

Working environment

You could work at a power station, in an office, in a laboratory or on a rig.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into planning, policy development, or freelance consultancy.

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