|Avg. Hourly Wage
Like solar panels, wind turbines produce renewable energy, enabling people access to wind energy.
These are usually grouped in a wind farm that’s capable of generating as much power as a nuclear power plant.
And the people behind the wind turbines’ installation and maintenance are the wind turbine technicians, or wind tech.
Wind techs receive highly extensive training to prepare for this labor-intensive career.
Keep on reading to learn the responsibilities, qualifications, and other important information about wind techs.
- Responsibilities of a Wind Turbine Technician
- Qualifications for a Wind Turbine Technician
- Career Outlook and Prospects of a Wind Turbine Technician
- Potential Salary of a Wind Turbine Technician
- Steps to Becoming a Wind Turbine Technician
Responsibilities of a Wind Turbine Technician
A wind tech installs, operates, maintains, and repairs wind turbines.
One vital role of a wind tech is to be able to diagnose and fix any issues that can cause downtime.
And so, part of your responsibilities include the following:
- Inspecting the exterior and physical integrity of the wind turbine towers
- Climbing towers to inspect or repair the equipment
- Performing routine maintenance
- Testing and troubleshooting electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical components and systems
- Replacing malfunctioning or worn components
- Collecting wind turbine data for research and analysis or testing
- Servicing underground transmission systems, wind field substations, or fiber optic sensing and control systems
The work is usually full-time in remote areas, with occasional on-call emergencies.
Qualifications for a Wind Turbine Technician
Working with wind turbines is highly technical, so you should equip yourself with the following qualifications:
- Able to work at extreme heights and in extreme weather conditions
- Knowledgeable in wind turbine operations and parts
- Knowledgeable in electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical systems
- Basic mechanical, troubleshooting, software, and computer skills
- Able to read schematic drawings
- Coordination and attention to detail
- Problem-solving and critical and analytical skills
- Physically fit and strong stamina
- Communication and interpersonal skills
Career Outlook and Prospects of a Wind Turbine Technician
With the country’s current development projects, wind techs are one of the most sought-after professionals.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 68% employment growth for this career as of May 2021.
This will mean that there will be about 1,400 new job openings each year from 2020 to 2030.
But why such a huge growth?
That’s because this career only has a few experts installing and maintaining wind turbines.
As wind power generation gets more competitive, more and more wind techs will be needed in the future.
Here are the top industries with the highest level of employment:
- Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution
- Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment (Except automotive and electronic) Repair and maintenance
- Utility system construction
- Machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers
- Management of companies and enterprises
In addition, it’s been predicted that the next big employer will come from offshore wind farm sites.
As such, highly-experienced wind techs will be in high demand for supervisory positions in project management, research, etc.
Potential Salary of a Wind Turbine Technician
A wind tech’s salary depends on several factors, like skills, experience, and certification.
Below, you’ll find the average salary for wind techs based on the percentile wage.
Salary information retrieved from BLS as of May 2021
Steps to Becoming a Wind Turbine Technician
New wind techs can enter the field without prior training, but those are rare cases.
Most of the time, employers require that you attend a technical or apprenticeship program.
As such, here’s how you can enter the industry:
Step 1 – Get Your High School Diploma or GED Equivalent
As early as a high school student, you should take classes relative to the wind tech career.
For example, math, sciences, electronics, and classes that train your mechanical skills like woodshop and metalworks.
Also, taking job shadowing opportunities in relevant professions like electricians can help develop your skills.
Step 2 – Enroll in an Accredited Program
Most wind techs learn the trade by attending technical schools for a certificate program or an associate’s degree.
These schools will offer field experience to practice your skills and deepen your understanding of wind turbines.
Coursework will involve the following:
- Rescue, safety, first aid, and CPR training
- Electrical maintenance
- Hydraulic maintenance
- Braking systems
- Mechanical systems, including blade inspection and maintenance
- Computers and programmable logic control systems
Step 3 – Complete the On-the-Job Training
You’re required to receive on-the-job training for at least 12 months.
In this way, you’ll…
- Learn more about wind turbines and their specifics
- Understand the responsibilities you’ll undertake
During training, you’ll often shadow senior wind techs at first and then be assigned tasks under their supervision later.
Step 4 – Acquire Certification
To move up the career ladder, wind techs need diverse skills beyond entry level.
And so, you can apply for professional certification to prove your competencies to potential employers.
As of this time, there’s no unified governing body that can certify you as a wind tech.
Certification is only available for certain relevant areas, such as:
- Tower climbing
- Electrical safety
You can get this through…
- Various organizations like ENSA North America, Inc. and American Red Cross
- Accredited certificate and degree programs from schools
However, it must be noted that getting certified isn’t mandatory.
Step 5 – Licenses
At a minimum, you need to have a driver’s license since you’ll work in remote locations.
If you want to become an independent contractor, you need a state license.
It’s recommended that you check local regulations if you need additional credentials before working.
This page is also available in Spanish.