|It is hardly surprising that with the growing interest in renewable energy sources, there is a corresponding growth of interest in people wanting to enter the solar jobs space. The area of solar energy is one that is proving to be particularly attractive, and is one that has expressed a growing demand for qualified and capable personnel to enter its workforce.
All of these developments have naturally given rise to the question of what training and certification requirements are needed for those who are looking to build a career in the solar energy industry. The obvious place to start is the training courses offered by both traditional learning institutions and technical and vocation organizations. These venues in particular have subsequently experienced a huge increase in the number of people interested in taking solar education courses.
This is a fairly logical turn of events since the gap between environmental and economic concerns is ever narrowing in the face of the need to develop alternative energy sources such as solar energy. The fact of the matter is that the rise of environmental technologies will result in the development of environmental jobs and “green” jobs, and students are becoming cognizant of this fact.
In fact, the high demand for solar courses has resulted in certain learning institutions being forced to place applicants on a waiting list. While this is a need that definitely has to be addressed in order to supply the personnel demands of the solar energy industry, it is a positive indicator in that it points to the fact that more and more people are interested in entering the field.
For those who are not able to get into any of the solar courses, further training options can be found in local community colleges, many of which have begun to offer courses directly related to renewable energy. Many of these courses offer the advantage of being taught by professionals that actually work in the areas of solar energy. Furthermore, community colleges also typically offer courses in electrical theory and construction, which provide just as much valuable training as specific solar courses–such as photovoltaic training for example–for someone who is looking to get a start in the solar energy industry.
It is interesting to note that while many professionals that currently work in the field of solar energy have earned their qualifications from traditional learning institutions–that is through regular degree programs and professional training programs in science, engineering or related disciplines–many of them have picked up the actual skills required by the job through direct, hands-on experience. In fact, there is a considerable number of professionals in the renewable energy industry that have developed the bulk of their skills and qualifications by way of solar training programs provided by their employers, even those that have previously worked at similar jobs in related fields.
A considerable number of the workers in solar energy field are experienced construction workers who have undergone apprenticeship programs. These solar education programs are either offered by trade associations or by vocational schools and community colleges, and they may last anywhere from a few weeks to a year. Applicants that manage to successfully complete these solar education apprenticeship programs are given a certificate of completion. These courses typically offer instruction in solar electrical system installation, system maintenance, and solar panel retro-fitting, and may even be applied for by high school level applicants that want to learn how to install or repair solar systems as a means of breaking into the solar energy industry.
While the people who work in the solar energy industry will likely continue to benefit from actual on the job experience for the foreseeable future, an increasing number of the future workforce will enter the field already possessing knowledge and qualifications that are specific to the field of solar energy. These individuals will be particularly suited to positions in the solar energy industry wherein relevant qualifications are more essential.
Those who are looking to become solar electrical system installers will greatly benefit their careers by obtaining certification through a program that is overseen by North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners or NABCEP. While relatively few industry practitioners have earned their certifications through this program since it was established in 2003, the number will likely increase in the future as the program is implemented as an industry standard.
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