After years of downsizing, outsourcing, and relatively cheap energy, international events and high fuel prices have once again focused interest on energy management as a profession. Energy Management vs. Energy Services "Energy management" has several meanings unrelated to controlling end usage of energy through operations and/or equipment alterations. To narrow down jobs in that field range from sales of products and services that use or control energy use, to operating and maintaining such products/services, engineering those systems, analyzing and specifying energy use and control options, and providing information related to energy use and control options (e.g., a government energy office, or lab). To narrow down the field, start by reading "Energy Services Careers" (free at www.ateec.org/publ/energy_book.pdf).

What Does It Pay?

Once experience is developed, most earn between $60,000 and $80,000 a year with the average (according to a 2004 survey by the Association of Energy Engineers) being about $77,000.

Potential advancement may hold interest, although only 51% in the AEE survey thought they were positioned for it. Anecdotal evidence suggests that those moving up do so by instead adding credentials (e.g., MBA) which open doors to upper management or other departments, or else they start their own firms.

Relevant Energy Services Training

While an engineering degree is often a prerequisite for energy services jobs, it's rarely sufficient for performing a job on day one. To secure more relevant education, check out the following institutions:

  • New York Institute of Technology (www.nyit.edu);
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (www.edi.gatech.edu/-Default.aspx?tabid=753);
  • Lane Community College (Oregon) (www.lanecc.edu);
  • Washington State University (www.energy.wsu.edu); and
  • Northwest Energy Education Institute, University of Oregon (www.nweei.org/emc.html).

    Some trade schools and community college extensions may also provide useful training in HVAC maintenance, boiler operations, etc. Many facility engineers gained very useful experience in the U.S. Navy and at various maritime academies.

    While not essential, securing a Professional Engineer (P.E.) license or a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) certificate demonstrates learning and training, and both look good on a resume.

    Lots Of Job Postings

    A two-pronged approach is best: Check Web-based job listings, but also look at sites of firms and agencies likely to have energy-related positions. For job listings, start at www.eere.energy.gov/education/careers.html. Others listings include:

    The largest employers of energy services personnel are utilities, energy services companies (ESCos), and government agencies. Find links to utility sites at www.publicutilityhome.com and ESCo links at www.naesco.org and www.eere.energy.gov/femp/financing/superespcs_doeescos.cfm.

    For positions at federal agencies, check out the Federal Energy Management Program FEMP at www.eere.energy.gov/femp/. Find links to state energy offices at www.naseo.org. Local and state governments also operate many buildings (schools, prisons, etc.). Look for departments with "general services" in their names.

    Don't Be Afraid Of Headhunters

    Professional employment services typically charge a fee (payable by the employer or the candidate, depending on the contract) equivalent to two to three months of salary. Among those emphasizing placements in the energy industry are:

    Find more on securing an energy services career at the 2005 April and May Tips of the Month at www.energybuyer.org. ES