If you’re thinking about your future, you’re probably thinking you’d like a career where the pay is good and there are opportunities for advancement. These days, that’s a lot to ask. But the energy industry in the Upper Midwest is one industry that can actually deliver.

You’ll continue to see good career opportunities, job stability and opportunities for advancement. Now consider that half the industry’s workforce is made up of baby boomers who will retire in the next 10 years, and you can begin to understand why the energy industry is such a great career choice.

Energy-related jobs

The energy industry offers a broad spectrum of job types such as designing and operating generating stations, transmission systems, substations and power grids. These are hands-on jobs like installing and repairing power lines, and desktop jobs like creating schematics and designing power plants. Some of our jobs are indoor jobs. Some of our jobs are outdoor jobs. And some are a combination of both. We also need people who can help us develop traditional energy sources like oil, natural gas and coal, as well as newer energy sources like wind and solar.

Because energy is everywhere, people who work in our industry can often choose where they live — in a city or in a more rural location. And wherever they work, they’ll have the satisfaction of knowing they’re part of an industry that’s vital to all of us.

How to prepare

Several technical colleges offer an AAS (Associate of Applied Science) degree program for people interested in careers in the energy industry. Earning an AAS degree typically takes one to two years.

You can also earn a certificate of completion in even less time, typically 12 to 18 months. Several energy-related areas of study are available including power plant technology, electrical power technology, electric transmission systems, electrical line worker and others.

Electric companies work closely with technical colleges to recruit employees and place them directly into apprenticeship programs. So if you complete one of these programs, job opportunities are excellent.

Great River Energy has a Minnesota Department of Labor-approved, union-endorsed apprenticeship program to grow, educate and safely train employees in our generation, transmission and business operations areas since May 1991.  The focus of our program is to provide on-the-job skill development and safety training.