Are you considering a job in the alternative energy field? Learning how to become a wind turbine technician might be the perfect option for you. This is a growing field with plenty of opportunities for advancement.
If you’re considering a career as a wind turbine technician, you should have the right skills. It’s also a good idea to understand the job duties. So let’s look at the skills needed, the responsibilities of the job, and a guide to becoming a wind turbine technician.
Common Skills for Wind Turbine Technicians
Those considering a wind turbine technician career should have a strong interest in energy generation and alternative energy. Wind energy has become rather popular over the past few decades. If you find this field to be fascinating, this might be the right career path for you.
Other skills you should have include:
- Good critical thinking skills
- Strong problem-solving skills
- Excellent dexterity
- Good attention to detail
- Ability to work with a team
- Ability to climb great heights without fear
- Basic computer troubleshooting skills
- Physical stamina and strength
Along with these skills, you need to be willing to work in an industry that is growing and evolving. You might be learning new things regularly in this industry.
Job Duties of a Wind Turbine Technician
If you become a wind turbine technician, your main job will be installing and maintaining wind turbines. You will likely work from heights of a few hundred feet regularly. In addition, if a wind turbine breaks, you will be in charge of fixing it.
Along with working at heights, you will perform regular diagnostics and inspections on the turbines. You will also need to replace any broken parts discovered, including the main three parts: Tower, Blades, Nacelle.
How to Become a Wind Turbine Technician in 5 Steps
Step #1 – Graduate from High School
You will need at least a high school education to become a wind turbine technician. If you didn’t graduate from high school, getting your GED is a great way to move forward towards this career path.
It’s also a good idea to start researching the type of technical school or community college with wind turbine programs. Make sure you look closely at the schools so you know where you can go to enter this career.
Step #2 – Complete a Degree or Certificate
You will need to take the right courses to become a wind turbine technician. Usually, these courses are a part of an Associate of Applied Science Degree or a Wind Turbine Technology Certificate program.
Schooling will include classroom work and hands-on experience. Most programs will offer fieldwork experience so you can learn how wind turbines work, how to install them, and how to repair them. You will likely take the following types of courses:
- Hydraulic and electrical maintenance
- Mechanical and braking systems
- CPR, rescue training, and first aid
- Programming and computer control systems
This course and many others will be a part of your training to become a wind turbine technician.
Step #3 – Complete On-The-Job Training
Most employers will expect you to go through a year-long training program at the location you will be working. You will learn how the company works, along with how to repair and install their wind turbines.
Trainees will work with professional wind turbine technicians for at least a few months. Then, as you get further into your training, you will be expected to install, repair, and maintain wind turbines on your own with very little supervision.
Step #4 – Complete an Apprenticeship (Optional)
Another way to go if you want to become a wind turbine technician is an apprenticeship. Sometimes, you can enter an apprenticeship without any additional education outside of high school. This can give you a clear path to becoming a wind turbine technician without additional schooling.
Apprenticeship programs will require a high school diploma; you will need to be at least 18 years of age, pass a physical exam, and complete a high school algebra course with at least a C grade or higher.
If you meet these requirements, you can become an apprentice. This will allow you to gain valuable experience while training on the job. Apprenticeships may be paid or unpaid, depending on the company.
Step #5 – Get Certified (Optional)
Another optional step you can take to become a wind turbine technician is to earn a certification. There are several certifications you can earn, including self-rescue, electrical safety, and tower climbing.
While you don’t need any type of certification to work as a wind turbine technician, it can help you gain employment. Some employers will look for specific certifications to show you know how to do the job safely. So make sure you include your certifications on your resume.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Wind Turbine Technician
How much do wind turbine technicians earn?
Most wind turbine technicians are paid by the hour. The average hourly wage is about $27 per hour. It’s common for this type of career to include quite a bit of overtime.
Wind turbine technicians can make a higher hourly wage by working for a top company or in the right location. Some companies pay more than $30 per hour, and many pay more than $25 per hour.
The highest paying city in the United States is Tampa, Florida, at about $29 per hour. However, Fargo, North Dakota, Abilene, Texas, and Amarillo, Texas pay higher than average wages.
What type of employee benefits do wind turbine technicians get?
Most wind turbine technicians will receive relocation assistance and paid sick time. It’s also common to get health insurance, including vision, dental, and life insurance. In addition, fuel discounts may be available for some, along with employee stock purchase plans.
Are wind turbine technician positions in high demand?
Yes. Since these jobs are a part of the alternative energy industry, they are expected to see incredible growth. In fact, experts believe the position of a wind turbine technician will grow by about 57% over the next ten years. This makes it one of the most in-demand career options available.
Is the job of a wind turbine technician dangerous?
Yes, it can be a rather dangerous job since you’re working from heights. However, the wind energy industry has a very strong safety record. With excellent training, it’s very easy to remain safe working on wind turbines.
This is not a job for the faint of heart, however. If you have a fear of heights, you won’t do well as a wind turbine technician. Working with large and powerful equipment comes with plenty of risks. However, the advancements in safety protocols and personal protective equipment have made this job safer every year.
Does this job include much travel?
While many wind turbine technicians will live near the main site, travel is pretty normal. You might even work as a traveling technician. Also, since wind turbines are found in specific areas of the country and world, you may have to travel to those areas when performing maintenance.
Depending on the company you work for, you could be traveling daily or throughout the year. It’s even possible to work as a traveling technician without a home base.
How long does it take to become a wind turbine technician?
Depending on the path you choose, it can take up to two years to become a wind turbine technician. If you choose to become an apprentice, you can work in an apprenticeship almost immediately. However, an associate degree will take about two years to complete.
Most wind turbine technicians will need to put in at least one year of schooling or as an apprentice before becoming full-time technicians. There are training programs specific for wind turbine technicians, too. These will last around 40 weeks to one year.
Who hires wind turbine technicians?
Companies in the alternative energy space will hire wind turbine technicians. The largest employers include Siemens, General Electric, Skyclimber, Fusion Solutions, Vestas, and Broadwind Energy.
What is the cost to become a wind turbine technician?
Depending on the type of program you go through, you might spend between $1,000 and $11,000 to become a wind turbine technician. Apprenticeships often cost the least, and you might get paid while training. An associate degree will cost the most. Certificate programs fall in between.
What is the work environment like?
As a wind turbine technician, you will work from heights and in smaller spaces. This career isn’t for everybody. You will likely do most of your work in the nacelle. Your work environment will include confined spaces regularly.
It’s also necessary to stand hundreds of feet up in the air. Therefore, wearing fall protection equipment, including full-body harnesses, is common for this career path.
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