Last week, there was a tremendous response to a Fast Company article listing the top green careers for the next decade.  With an economic down-turn that appears to have no end in sight, everyone is trying to identify the career path that will unsure some measure of job security and be lucrative.  Many pursuing green careers are also hoping to find work that is rewarding.

With so much focus on green jobs, I knew there were more growing opportunities then the 10 listed in the Fast Company article.  So I decide to compile a more comprehensive list of all the lists of green jobs that I could find.   I found 12 such lists.   In addition to Fast Company, Fortune, Hotjobs, CareerBuilder, Greentech Media, Forbes,  E Magazine, Super Eco, Inventor’s  Spot, US News and World Report,  Eco Salon and all had green jobs  lists.    There was some overlap of occupations considered to be fast growers, but not as much as you would think.

The standouts (the occupations most frequently mentioned) include:  urban and regional planning, environmental attorneys, conservation biologists,  energy and environmental engineers, hydrologists, environmental educators, organic food production, sustainability specialists, green software and hardware specialists, wind energy developers,  and waste disposal specialists.   Combined, these lists provided insight into 56 occupations.

Over the next few months, we will take an in-depth look at many of these career specialties- delving into what is required, some success stories and why these authoritative sources have determined that the green career specialties cited are the best ones to pursue.   We will take a look at what people in these occupations do, which companies are  hiring them,  pay scale, what education is required,  anticipated growth, education and training resources, networking resources and the experience required.  We will also look into short and long term strategies for getting started, making a change or growing in these career specialties.

On the next few pages are summaries of each list.  Each list links to the actual article with detailed assessments. On the last page (page 5) of this post is my compiled list of all 56 of  the green jobs that appeared on the top green jobs lists we reviewed.  If there is a list that I missed, or a career specialty not mentioned,  drop us a line.

On the next page (page 2) we have the summaries of the Forbes List of Six-Figure Green Jobs, the GreenTech Media Top 10 Green Jobs for The Future, and the Career Builder List of The 25 Green Careers with Promise

Recommended Green Career Resources:

SIX STRATEGIES TO FIND YOUR GREEN CAREER – This free ebook by Carol McClelland PhD is a step-by-step process helping green career seekers use their passions, interests, experience, and training to plug into the green economy.

THE COMPLETE GREEN JOB GUIDE 2009: SECRETS FOR GETTING THE JOB YOUR WANT – Discover How To Unlock The Booming Green Economy For Your Job Search And Future Financial Security with the 10 Breakthrough Steps You Need To Know To Find And Land A Green Job Quickly.

© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine,, Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine,, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.

  • Linda Coburn

    I was wondering if you could sort the meta list by a meaningful measure like compensation or number of jobs available for that position or number of times that position appeared on various lists.

    Linda Coburn’s last blog post..New Motion for L.A. Solar

    • Tracey de Morsella

      Hi Linda:

      Thanks for your post. I cannot sort the meta list by compensation or number of jobs available, because the 11 lists did not provide that data. There would have to be an database of that information available to do something like that. However, there are two things that I can do. As I explained in the article, over the next few months, we are going to do spotlight profiles on most of the career specialties listed on the eleven lists. In these profiles, we will delve into pay scale, anticipated growth, requirements, job descriptions, required training or education,and required experience. We will also look into success stories, short and long term strategies for getting started, making a change or growing in these career specialties.

      In the meantime, you can probably get additional information from the lists themselves. They usually cite their sources. You also might find information on the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site. They have numerous databases, tables, publications”

      A quick look revealed the following document:
      Careers in the green industry: Jobs for people with green thumbs …

  • Tonya

    This is all very encouraging for someone about to graduate with an MS in conservation biology. Now if only the economy would pick up we might actually see some jobs opening up. Job prospects have been few and far between lately and unless your able to get involved in a “shovel ready” project, I don’t see the market improving anytime soon.

    • Tracey de Morsella

      Hi Tonya:

      From everything that I have heard, the stimulus money should be starting to be implemented within the next 60 days. Many of the projects are due to launch throughout the next nine months. There is other encouraging news. A recent survey of 300 venture capitalists, executives, entrepreneurs and bankers conducted over the past two months conducted by KPMG revealed that 53 percent expect to see VC investment in the green technology sector increase in 2009, with over two-thirds of this new investment split between renewable energy projects and technologies for energy storage and improved efficiency. Most surveyed, indicated that they anticipated seeing an increase in green technology public-private partnerships between business and government.

      Instead of waiting it out, try enhancing your personal brand and extending your network. You can do this by joining organizations and getting involved in ways that showcase your talent. You should writing and working to get published in relevant journals, newsletters, web sites and blogs. Finally participate in online social media. Hang in there and good luck.

  • Robert Silverman

    I’ve been in the environmental field for over 15 years and have a Master’s from a “top” program and school. My take is it has always been an “emerging” field, but in reality mostly a “silent depression.” I’ve been intermittently and marginally employed the whole time. Maybe this time it will be different…??

  • Barbara Passero

    Hi all,

    The crux of the matter is that you all need to push your congressmen to get off the dole of big corporations and move toward saving the environment.

    For decades, corporations have pounded into citizens skulls that any protection of the environment meant loss of jobs and income. Does anyone remember Rachel Carson’s incredible book Silent Spring (1956)? If not, read it. You’ll weep for the looooong delay since the author stressed the danger of increasing cases of cancer and decreasing birth rates due to DDT and other pesticides and chemicals. Big Chem Monsanto and Dow did their best to discredit her. But the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts resulted from her influence on modern environmentalism. Too late for Ms. Carson died of breast cancer. Also people seem to have forgotten all this in their vying for the “greenest” lawn.

    During the Carter administration at the end of the 1970s, the Arab Oil Embargo made the necessity for alternative fuels and fuel efficiency unchallengeable. But the big corporations (auto, oil, etc., etc.) came down hard on Carter for everything else and got rid of him. Pres. Reagan and Congress led the race back to fossil fuels with SUVs and light trucks. Americans conveniently “forgot” –read denial — they should conserve fuel in their search for luxury and comfort. Since 1980 Americans have been led like sheep to feel that they deserve to use up the world’s resources because they are better than any the citizens of any other country.

    Since use of the word environment seemed like a threat, some smart marketing person/s inventing the word green. You can thank Congress (those rich lobbyists got through their veneer of propriety) and the past GOP administrations for the environmental and financial crisis today.

    You can bet your socks that only the most serious and concentrated effort will do anything to extend humankind’s time on earth. But the giant corporations aren’t ready to give up on their outrageous profits, even though they’ll be face deep in the trough along with the other hogs.

  • Benjamin

    Hi everyone,
    I really liked the format of your Meta list, and what struck me the most was that these jobs are technical jobs which require a good engineering background, or scientific, or environmental. So I guess that if you have been working for an environmental company for the last 5 years, or as a solar engineer, then you might find that green jobs are in plentiful. I am not saying that without a sufficient technical expertise one can be useful to a company developing biofuel. However, I don’t think there are enough skilled workers around to provide the necessary work force to the green economy, for it to be the driver of a global economic recovery.

    So I am wondering why nobody is interested in helping experienced professionals from not to distinct sectors of the economy, to achieve a career change towards renewable energies and sustainability? I have a sales and marketing experience in energy commodities and in metals, as in recycling, but my profile seems to be to far from the renewable energy sector.


    • Tracey de Morsella

      Hi Benjamin:

      Thanks for the compliment regarding the list. You are correct in your assumption that those with science background will likely have an edge, however, like with the dot com and information technology boom, sales and marketing people are critical to this whole thing working. Who is going to sell the products that come out of the green economy. To make the transition, I would recommend joining some local chapters of organizations that appeal to you. Figure which niche appeals to you and get informed. Find out which companies are key players in the industry you are trying to crack and watch for when they are hiring. Consider certification Write some articles for blogs and do the social networking thing to build your personal brand.

  • Kim

    I have been reinventing myself for years now. I have a BSc in mathematics w/a concentration in engineering. I’ve also networked for years attending RE (solar, wind, ocean) conferences and seminars. Volunteered. Interned. And am currently in the throes of completing an MSc in renewable energy engineering in the EU, and have also taken course work in sustainability development. I have recently been informed, that I am too much of a dynamic generalist (yes I aspire to be a hybrid RE engineer–because as the Germans know, a herd of us will be required), yet at this time, unless you are a technician, in manufacturing, in business dev or project management, it’s virtually impossible to break into this industry at this time until the tenuous financial markets improve. I guess I’m just not meeting the correct people in R&D. I want to have hope, but the sobering truth I have been dispensed from HR RE industry insiders follows.

    “I understand your plight. Regrettably it is not an uncommon story. I don’t have any ideas for you here. I’m working to get contracts myself. What you’ve experienced in the gap between the advertised desired qualifications and what they REALLY want is the norm and always has been. Companies today have absolutely no appetite for other than experienced people under any circumstances where when things are booming, they will take less experience and train. That time is at least 9 months to a year away at best. Things will need to ramp up again and the backlog of experienced people who are now out of work be absorbed before the marketplace will be very open to training people. This is the “front door” scenario. You may get an introduction from a colleague or a networking connection that will get you in the door sooner but that’s generally how the RE job market will come back for you and many, many others.”

    • Tracey

      What you say is true…. at least for now. Have you considered getting some experience by offering to volunteer/intern for a startup? I lot of people I have encountered who do not have experience, have gotten their foot in the door that way. If you did that now, and got the “experience” when investing picked up, you could probably write your ticket

  • Paul Iorio


    I would like to “second” your response to Kim’s quandary, by recounting my own experience. I had also reinvented myself for several years, albeit primarily in the horticultural and envtl. engineering discipline. Having always been fascinated by the earth’s natural ability to “cleanse” what humankind had wrought, I took an entry level positon with an engineering firm and was involved in the remediation of contaminated commercial properties.

    In 2008, my interest and understanding of plant/soil system interaction in the remedial process lead me to a concrete manufacturer that introduced a box system that integrated street trees with stormwater management. I fully realized the potential for this natural synergy of plant/soil remedial capabilities to be “packaged” into a system for commercial application. I worked for this company for a short while as a manufacturer’s rep. preaching the “gospel” of this technology to civil engineers as a form of low impact development design. The system concept was well received, however, the practicality of sustaining a tree in a concrete box was met with much (deserved) skeptisim. Being a plant person and engineer, I tried to convince the manufacturer to consider some design changes to make the system more sustaining but was met with disinterest. After the manufacturer decided to abandon me and the regional marked, I decided to design my own system which did not infringe upon their technology, but improved upon some perceived deficiencies.

    I recently partnered with another engineer and am now promoting this new concept system as a startup business. We both understand that lean times would prevail initially, but know that the green sustainable wind is here to stay and just need to wait out the economy. What has been indirectly helpful is recent stimulus money directed toward energy technologies and infrastructure improvements. Although not specific to our system work, the stimulus programs does shed ancillary interest on sustainability measures such as ours, and I believe propels momentum overall.

    I suppose I am suggesting and espousing several thoughts: internships, entry level positions, perserverence, etc. But also, since there are many emerging green technologies (some in evolutionary stages), you never know when an opportunity to create a technology, or “build better mousetrap” may present itself.