As the United States continues to seek renewable energy sources, wind farms have cropped up nationwide as viable sources of electrical energy. Usually located on large plots of land, farms consist of strategically placed turbines that generate electricity through wind power. As a wind turbine technician, you would be responsible for inspecting machinery, diagnosing problems, and making complicated repairs so that the turbines remain functional at all times.
Becoming a wind turbine technician
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that because the wind energy industry is relatively new in the United States, there are no established educational requirements to becoming a wind turbine technician. However, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is in the process of creating a Seal of Approval wind turbine technician program that will identify the skill sets needed for the job, define a core curriculum and accredit the most effective training programs.
Another way to become a wind turbine technician would be to begin your training as a technician or electrician in another industry. After familiarizing yourself with turbine functions, you could move into the wind industry as a technician.
Working as a wind turbine technician
Wind turbines are highly complex machines that require a detailed knowledge of a turbine's complex functions. Moreover, technicians are expected to not only understand the mechanics of a turbine but the entire production line of the farm.
As a wind turbine technician, you would work in a dynamic work environment, with your job frequently taking you outside to the turbines themselves. Wind farms are usually running at all hours, so turbine technicians can work irregular hours; if a turbine malfunctions in the middle of the night, technicians are expected to be there to fix it.
There are also safety issues when working with large machinery, as well as physical demands of climbing and crawling onto and into equipment. Wind turbine technicians typically work in rural areas. According to the AWEA, the states with the top wind capacity installed are Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota and Washington.
The projected growth in the wind industry could create a high demand for trained wind turbine technicians in the future.
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