The energy industry is recognized as the third-biggest industry in the US. It is expected that the increase in gas and oil production from shale will put the US into the lead in the world for production of fossil fuels that power the global economy. As US energy production becomes more critical, more professionals are deciding to earn a degree in energy management.
With a degree in energy management, you will increase your technical knowledge of energy production. You also will learn how to apply foundational business concepts – accounting, economics, management, finance, marketing – to qualify you for management roles in the energy industry.
An energy management degree also will give you critical skills in operations used to find, deliver and evaluate resources, and also the equipment and processes that are used to develop shale formations, manage fuel production and transport gas and oil to market. This degree also will teach you about energy markets, and the cost structures for various types of energy, as well as the role that utility companies play in offering energy to the country.
An area of growing importance in energy management is in helping organizations to manage their use of energy. This degree therefore is important for teaching you the skills needed to effectively supervise and possibly reduce energy usage in modern companies.
What Is Energy Management?
Energy management generally refers to the monitoring and reduction of energy usage in an organization. Effective energy management is critical to enhance the revenues for all types of companies. It also is very important for reducing the carbon footprint for these organizations. Some of the typical duties of an energy manager are:
- Monitoring the use of energy in an organization
- Setting realistic targets for the reduction of energy use
- Conduct energy audits in the organization
- Write reports that summarize the level of energy use in the organization
- Create guides for training that guide managers on how to manage energy consumption
- State up to date with state and federal laws on energy use
The energy management field is broad, and there are a variety of opportunities available in many professions. According to Duke University, there will be rising job opportunities in energy management, oil and gas and public utilities, especially for those with an MBA or related degree in energy management.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports on the degree of job growth expected in most US professions in the next several years. Below is more information about opportunities in this varied field with many job possibilities.
One of the most in-demand roles for energy managers today is environmental engineer. Jobs for environmental engineers will rise by 8% through 2026, which is about as fast as average. There were 53,800 of these jobs in 2016, and Industries that hire these workers are as follows:
- Engineering services: 25%
- Management, technical consulting and scientific services: 20%
- State government: 15%
- Local government: 9%
- Federal government: 6%
Environmental Engineering Technician
The employment outlook for environmental engineering technicians is bright, with 13% increase in job demand expected by 2026. Employment in this profession is closely tied to projects that are designed by environmental engineers. It is expected that state and local governments will focus resources and efforts on efficient energy use, management of stormwater and wastewater over the next several years. This should cause an increase in demand for environmental technical consultants.
Environmental engineering technicians held 17,000 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of these workers were in these industries:
- Management, scientific and technical consulting services: 24%
- Engineering services: 23%
- Government: 18%
- Waste management: 9%
- Manufacturing: 5%
Natural Science Manager
Employment for natural science managers will rise by 10% through 2026, which is faster than average. Employment growth should grow for physical science professionals who work in the energy industry in particular.
Natural science managers held 57,000 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of these workers were:
- Research and development in engineering, physical and life sciences: 30%
- Federal government: 19%
- Manufacturing: 11%
- State government: 6%
- Management, technical and scientific services: 6%
Industrial Production Manager
It is expected that job demand will stay relatively flat in this field through 2026. Industrial production managers held 171,000 jobs in 2016, with the largest employers in these fields:
- Transportation equipment manufacturing: 11%
- Fabricated metal product manufacturing: 10%
- Chemical manufacturing: 8%
- Machinery manufacturing: 7%
- Food manufacturing: 7%
The salary that you can earn with an energy management degree varies upon the exact job title. According to Salary.com, the average annual salary for energy managers is between $83,254 and $112,656. The median salary in the field is $98,492. Your salary will depend also on your years of experience and the level of degree you earn.
Median salaries in other energy management related fields are:
- Industrial production manager: $97,140
- Natural science manager: $119,000
- Environmental engineer: $84,800
Professionals with an energy management degree often work in the oil and gas fields as these sectors are growing rapidly in the US today. Some of the most popular employers in this industry are:
- Exxon Mobil
- Phillips 66
- Energy Transfer Partners
- Occidental Petroleum Corp.
Students in a bachelor’s program in energy management will learn about technical knowledge regarding energy use, both conventional and renewable. You also will develop excellent collaboration skills that you need to improve stakeholder interactions on energy related matters. Students often are qualified for entry and mid level jobs in commercial energy firms, government agencies, nonprofits, regulatory agencies and energy trade groups.
Required courses in a bachelor’s in energy management program can include:
- Financial Reporting in the Energy Industry
- Advanced Spreadsheet Applications
- Practical Issues in Energy Management
- Commercial Transactions
- Project Management and Business Analysis
- Seminar in Energy Business Analysis Software
- Chemical Concepts of Energy Technology
- Resources and the Environment
- Physical Geology
A master’s program in energy management will prepare you to apply advanced engineering principles and technical knowledge to assist professionals who are engaged in development new sources of conventional and alternative energy. The curriculum in this field may include courses such as energy conservation, instrumentation calibration, monitoring energy systems, energy loss management, and report preparation.
Earning a master’s in energy management will require a strong background in the physical sciences and engineering. You will need to have prerequisite courses completed in these fields to be considered for admission. Also, expect to need a GPA of 2.75 or higher, GRE scores; 2 or 3 professional references; and extensive writing samples.
A typical curriculum for a master’s in energy management degree could include these types of courses:
- Introduction to Energy Finance
- Energy Modeling
- Energy Data Analysis
- Energy and Environmental Economics
- Energy Fundamentals and Trading
- Energy Accounting
- Energy Risk Management
- Energy Strategy Capstone
Energy management is a field with many possible jobs and specialties. Below are some common options with an energy management degree. Many of the specialties you can find in the field overlap with environmental specialties:
- Energy and air pollution: Effective and efficient use of energy as it relates to air quality. This speciality can cover how the environment is affected by minerals, resources and mining, and energy economics.
- Resource economics and policy: Students who have an interest in sustainable development, public policy and human and social services may choose this concentration. Students may go on to work as environmental policy professionals and on environmental-related legislation.
- Waste management: This specialty relates to waste disposal and how it affects ecosystems and the remediation of sensitive sites.
- Environmental health: Pollutants can have a dire effect on human and animal health. Students in this area may focus on epidemiology, microbiology and environmental health, and how these areas are affected by effective or ineffective energy management.
Completing a degree in energy management will require a lot of time and financial commitment. However, universities, companies and private individuals are focused on providing more educational opportunities for people who are entering the energy field. Most universities will offer their own scholarships to qualified students seeking bachelor’s or master’s energy management degrees. You also can find scholarships in energy management and related fields that can be applied to most universities in the US. Generally, you will need to show good grades, membership in professional organizations, and demonstrate financial need. Below are some possible scholarships that could help you with your education in energy management:
- Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Scholarship
- Henry Dewitt Smith Memorial Scholarship
- Star Scholarship and Fellowship
- Society of Women Engineers Scholarship
- Chevron USC Partnership Fellowship
- Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship
- Science Graduate Fellowship – Department of Energy
- Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program
- DOE Scholars Program
- William A. Brookshire Scholarship
- EPA Marshall Scholarship Program
- NOAA Graduate Research and Training Scholarship Program
Professionals who want to have enhanced job opportunities in the energy management field may consider earning some of the energy management and efficiency certifications below:
- Certified Energy Manager: This certification is given by the Association of Energy Engineers. A CEM is a professional who is skilled in optimizing the energy use and performance of a building, industrial plant or facility. You are a systems integrator for mechanical, process, building and electrical infrastructure, and are able to analyze the best solutions to cut energy consumption in the most cost effective manner.
- LEED: This is a professional credential that shows that you are a participant in the green building movement, and is trained to assist in the design, construction, maintenance and/or operation of buildings that save energy.
- Certified Sustainable Building Advisor (CSBA): Specializes in tools and strategies for implementing practices in sustainable building. You will commonly work with architects, designers, and utility companies to improve the energy performance of a building.
- Credential for Green Property Management (CGPM): Designed for site managers, maintenance staff and supervisors who will learn the newest technologies for making green improvements to commercial and residential properties.
It is wise to become a member of associations in the energy and energy management fields to enhance your career options. Membership in professional organizations is helpful to network, receive new training and improve your career prospects overall. Below are important organizations and associations that you could benefit from:
- United States Energy Association
- American Wind Energy Association
- Association of Energy Services Professionals
- National Association of Energy Service Companies
- American Council on Renewable Energy
- Energy Storage Association
The energy management field is becoming more important as the oil and gas industries in the US are becoming more dominant on the world stage. It is expected that jobs in energy management will rise in various occupations for many years to come, so earning your degree in this field could be an important investment in your future.
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