Learn how using the updated Solar Career Map and IREC’s new online course, Exploring Careers in the Solar Industry,  can help interested job seekers learn about pathways within the solar industry. 

The solar industry is new, exciting, and growing quickly, but finding a way to enter the industry can be daunting and maybe downright confusing. Some questions job seekers may have include: 

  • What is the necessary experience needed for working in solar? 
  • What certifications do I need for a specific role? Where can I find training to start my career? 
  • Are my skills transferable? 

Through an update of the Solar Career Map and the creation of an online, self-paced career course, “Exploring Careers in the Solar Industry,” IREC hopes to answer these questions and make the process of getting into solar easier, engaging, and thought-provoking. These tools are made for job seekers, educators, career advisors, workforce professionals, and others—at any stage of their careers. 

The Solar Career Map was created to showcase the vast array of careers within the solar industry and the many pathways one can take to get to those careers based on their skills, interests, and career goals. The map covers four sectors within the solar industry: Manufacturing, System Design, Project Development, Installation and Operations. While the map cannot fit every job within the industry, it highlights over 40 key roles. 

Recent Updates Enhance the Solar Career Map

In a recent update to the Map, IREC added new jobs and expanded potential career pathways and advancement routes. With funding from the Department of Energy, we were able to make the map more representative of the growth within the solar industry over the last 10 years. 

The Solar Career Map is made up of 44 jobs, with more than 60 advancement routes between them. In some cases, advancement routes span across multiple industry sectors, showcasing the expansive nature of solar career pathways. 

With this new iteration of the map came the addition of four new jobs; Solar Construction Worker, Equipment Operator, Energy Storage Installer, and Carpenter with Solar Expertise. Additionally, all job descriptions, skills, and advancement routes received updates to ensure they align with current trends. Some job titles were updated to reflect changes in the makeup of teams, departments, and the scope of jobs. The “About This Map” and “FAQ” sections were updated to allow viewers to learn more about how the map was designed and how our information was gathered. A new “More Jobs” tab was added  to help visitors learn about additional jobs we couldn’t fit on the map. 

Our largest update was to the Map’s salary information. Leveraging multiple sources of wage data, including the U.S. Department of Labor, we were able to provide more current salary ranges for each occupation. For more information on our methodology, visit the the Labor Market Information section of the FAQ page.

After completing our first iteration of updates to the map, we sent out a survey to solar professionals to look it over and provide feedback. We got great, informative feedback and incorporated it into our final update. We hope you have fun exploring all the new information the map has to offer!

See If a Solar Career Is Right for You with Our New Online Course

In addition to updating the Solar Career Map, we wanted to create a resource that would provide an easy starting point for job seekers and others to learn more about the solar industry. Our new online, self-paced course titled “Exploring Careers in the Solar Industry” can be found on our online training website

It provides resources and tools to learn about the solar industry, explore training opportunities, and find a job that matches your individual skills and interests. This course is for everyone, no matter where you are in your career.

This interactive course is made up of 8 modules: Introduction, The Growing Solar Industry, Careers in Solar, See Yourself in a Solar Career, Make a Training Plan, Solar Companies & Networking, Opportunities for Veterans and Service Members (optional), and an End of Course Evaluation. The course is full of videos, interactive activities, training resources, job board and employer directories, and more. 

As part of the course, you’re walked through the process of completing a “Solar Career Exploration Guide” with your goals, skills, and other findings from the course. The entire course takes around two hours to complete and by the end of the course, you will have a personal guide with next steps for finding a job in solar. 

One of the most exciting parts of the course is the Employer Profile and Day in the Life video interviews. The Employer Profiles highlight three solar companies—Freedom Forever, McCarthy, and Nexamp—and what it is like to work at each company, giving job seekers an idea of the different types of employers within the industry. The Day in the Life profiles allow you to meet six different solar professionals and hear about their career pathways, what their jobs entail, and their advice for getting into the industry. The professionals profiled in these interviews include a licensed electrician, a construction superintendent, a director of operations, a software engineer, and more. 

Check out the updated Solar Career Map and our new course, Exploring Careers in the Solar Industry, to learn more about the wide array of careers and opportunities within an ever-growing industry!