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Top 25 Green Collar Jobs in America for Sustainability

Updated on November 25, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is an award-winning Employment & Training pro with regional records and tens of thousands placed into gainful employment.

Green Collar Industry

The green industry cluster comprises the fifth largest market sector in the United States of America.

What Is "Green Collar"?

A green-collar job is understood as one that is connected to eco-friendly or sustainable products and services. Examples include recycling operations, alternate (renewable/sustainable) energy sources, clean technologies, construction via green building (LEED), organic farming, solar panel production and installation, bicycle repair, green algae oil production, and many others.

There exits an abundance of economic opportunity in green industries. In the 2010s, the green industrial cluster comprises the fifth largest market sector in the United States of America.

US legislators, citizens, and corporations have explored and begun to implement initiatives of "going green" toward sustainable energy and a cleaner earth. With environmental efforts expanding the world of work is also changing.

Past and Present

1888 -- Charles F. Brush's 60 ft, 80,000 lb turbine supplied 12kW power to 350 incandescent lights, 2 arc lights, and a number of motors at his home for 20 years.
1888 -- Charles F. Brush's 60 ft, 80,000 lb turbine supplied 12kW power to 350 incandescent lights, 2 arc lights, and a number of motors at his home for 20 years. | Source

Going Green For Work

For-profit and non-profit companies are implementing recycling and community effort programs to clean up their cities and metropolitan areas. Employers are offering reimbursements for purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles or finding other means of commuting. Recyclable materials are more frequently used in business. Finding eco-friendly employment should become easier and easier at this movement continues.

By definition and nature, green jobs are local job market area positions. Because of this, green jobs can create employment opportunities for previously unemployed or underemployed people and remove them from public assistance roles. They boost local economies by keeping dollars spent at home.

Green Enterprise Zones are proposed for a local and future federal government effort for targeting economic growth; this concept will put thousands of Jobs Corps and vocational school graduates to work and remove citizens from the public assistance rolls.


Top 25 Green Jobs and Mean Salaries in the 2010s and 2020s

These 25 positions will increase most in numbers available, from highest to lowest increases (Salary data for 2010 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics):

1. Hydrologist: The median annual income is $51,080.

2. Environmental Engineer: The median annual income is $50,000.

3. Pest Control Technician: The median annual income is $30,500.

4. Conservation Biologist: The median annual income is $52,480.

5. Science Teacher: The median annual income of kindergarten, elementary, middle and secondary school teachers ranges from $41,400 to $45,920.

6. Toxicologist: The median annual income is $79,500.

7. Pollution Control Technician: The median annual income is $32,000.

8. Fund-raising Director: The median annual income is $45,000.

9. Ecologist: The median annual income is $68,950.

10. Camp Counselor: The median annual income is $19,320.

11. Business Manager: The median annual income is $50,000.

12. Economist: The median annual income is $72,780.

13. Forester: The median annual income is $48,230.

14. Environmental Attorney: The median annual income for attorneys specializing in construction, real estate and land use is $70,000.

15. Community Affairs Manager: The median annual income is $56,000.

16. Environmental Health and Safety Technician: The median annual income is $35,500.

17. Landscape Architect: The median annual income is $53,120. For landscape architects in nonsupervisory, supervisory and managerial positions for the federal government, the average annual income was $74,508.

18. Waste Disposal Manager: The median annual income is $35,000.

19. Environmental Chemist: The median annual income is $51,080.

20. Corporate Waste Compliance Coordinator: The median annual income is $39,000.

21. Urban and Regional Planner: The median annual income is $45,250.

22. Agricultural Inspector: The median annual income is $35,000.

23. Wastewater Water Operator: The median annual income is $35,000.

24. Wildlife Biologist: The median annual income is $42,000.

25. Pollution Control Engineer: The median annual income is $66,000.

Green Furniture

Recycled-timbers furniture is sturdy, attractive, and environmentally responsible.
Recycled-timbers furniture is sturdy, attractive, and environmentally responsible. | Source

Popular Green Job Resources

  • 1% for The Planet - Great source of companies making the pledge to environmental practices.
  • Co-op America Green Pages - We talked about them many times. Have you joined yet?
  • Eco-Employ - for environmental job listings.
  • ECO JOBS - Subscription based service, but may help you find the green job of your dreams. It features jobs, degree programs and internships
  • Environmental Career - Check them out.
  • Enviro-Yellow Pages, The Yellow Pages for Sustainability and Jobs - - Green job listings.
  • Green Business - There is a small monthly fee to participate, but the information, sources and contacts are priceless.
  • SimplyHired - Type in key words such as "green, organic, sustainable, renewable" and you can find jobs available in your area.

America's First Green Job Corps in Oakland

 A new green rooftop.
A new green rooftop. | Source

Green Roofing

Global Green City

Oakland, California is one of the first cities to lead the way in green jobs and industry.

Oakland, California Green Platform

In September 2006, city leaders initiated the "Apollo Challenge," to encourage the public and private sectors to adopt a green jobs platform. The first signers of this petition were an eclectic group made up of an electrician, a poet, a city council member, an activist, and a job counselor.

Oakland, California's model "Global Green City" template

Oakland's constituency asked Congressman Ron Dellums, retired to run for mayor and he agreed. He ran on the platform of making Oakland a "model city" in which the green vision, universal health care, and education led the way. Dellums decreed that Oakland would become the "Silicon Valley of green capital" because:

  • Oakland is a sunny, windy city, able to lead the industry in solar and wind power.
  • The "green wave" of investment is active and alive in the Bay Area.
  • An advantageous court settlement of an energy lawsuit opened up millions of dollars for the city to spend on sustainability. Further, the recent bond issue provided community colleges investment dollars for green collar job programming and the greening of campus operations.

The Oakland Apollo Alliance chapter of the National Apollo Alliance, met to create 3,000,000 clean-energy jobs through 2016, offering hope to low-income people and persons of color in green industries. So far:

  • People's Grocery delivers fresh organic food to low-income families.
  • California Youth Energy Services trains and pays youth to complete energy audits.
  • Developers via Apollo Alliance are constructing building Red Star Homes, a system of green buildings constructed by individuals released form prison. The system is transforming a previously toxic brown-field (polluted area) into a clean, green living space.

Three overall goals of this green model city effort include:

  1. Creating the nation's first "Green Jobs Corps" for a new green economy.
  2. Creating "Green Enterprise Zones" in Oakland (and then other American cities) where green businesses and green-collar employers receive incentives and tax benefits to build and hire locals. This is the overall Green Economic Development Plan, to identify ways to enable sustainable enterprises that hire locals, bringing in money and keeping it at home.
  3. Pursuing the "Green the Port" movement, inspired by Los Angeles, to refit the Oakland port to biodiesel and reduce toxic emissions. An infamous public health threat will be defeated by this green model for sustainability.

District of Columbia's Green Job Corps

Many other major US cities like Washington, D.C. have implemented a type of "Green Jobs Corps" effort in a first successful year -- They are creating urban green infrastructures for healthier environments and healthier economies.

Good urban ecosystem management will create tens of thousands of jobs and save millions of dollars. Green collar training provides skills in urban landscape management and a reliable, well-educated labor force.

The new urban-based Green Collar Job Training and Job Placement program you are likely to hear about soon will:

  1. Provide employment;
  2. Build clean and green communities and prioritize the need for green collar jobs;
  3. Teach fundamental, marketable skills in a hands-on, inquiry-based manner (the most effective way to learn);
  4. Nurture confidence, social skills, and respect for eco-stewardship;
  5. Support green businesses in their development;
  6. Promote green job placement via partnerships with local businesses, green employers, and employment agencies;
  7. Create partnerships with job-readiness, job placement, AmeriCorps, and many other workforce development efforts; and
  8. Supply green services and beautification to local facilities of green training courses.
  9. Graduate apprentices in green our training will be placed in jobs in landscaping, park maintenance, and nurseries. Partners in the DC area include Earth Conservation Corps, the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation , Covenant House Washington, The Coalition for the Homeless, along with other humanitarian and green entities.

© 2007 Patty Inglish

Comments & Addtions

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    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 9 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      interesting..thank you.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Thanks for the comment!

    • greenjean profile image

      greenjean 9 years ago

      Lots of great and useful information in one place. The Oakland project is fascinating.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Thanks, greanjean. I think there will be a lot of employment provided by green industries, as well as new energy sources. One of my friends is conveinced now to build a rain garden in her yard to stop the massive rain runoff & I'm going to help. It takes ahile to go green, but I think I like it a lot.

    • ipsism profile image

      ipsism 9 years ago

      Global warming is real. Only thing is, global warming is a transient trend in the cycles of earth's history.

      If one reviews the temperature history that scientists have obtained, There can be no conclusion other than that our current climate is a natural cycle, no worse than prior cycles. See, Climatologists ignore the affects of geological events, such as sub-oceanic volcanoes and astrogocial findings. Everyone takes a small sampling of data to support their pet hypothesis, rather than examining the globe in a unified approach. As such, there is rancor and duplicity to force an agenda that will make a few super-rich while making the majority poorer.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 9 years ago from Northern California

      So in-depth and constructive! Thanks!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      ipism, I think global warming is part of natural cycles, but that the wastefulness of many people can add to it. It's WASTE that I abhor. I have an acquaintance that buys groceries every week just to buy them and throws out last week's brand new unopened food weekly (unopened $6.00/lb cheese, etc.). Another person takes already clean clothes out of the closet and takes them to the dry cleaners because she believes that when people see her with dry cleaning bags they think she is wealthy and she has to do it every week to keep up appearances. Another one goes out to dinner with a date or a friend often, orders an expensive meal and when it comes just lets it sit. Then she tells the waiter to throw it away and laughs. 1000's of pastic bags littlering a single block in China also bugs me. That sort of thing.

      It's not about global warming to me, it about clean energy and stopping waste - stewardship rather than consumerism. That may be my Native American heritage and martial arts training. I hate waste.

      Algae buildup in the oceans is natural and plays a part in global warming as well. NO one talks about it any more, not since the late 1990s.

      Glassvisage - Thanks for the comment!   

    • kerryg profile image

      kerryg 9 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the very interesting info!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Thanks. I think green collar jobs will increase in numebrs and reoplace some jobs outsourced over seas, employing more of or our workers in something ongoing. I think green jobs will be forever.

    • profile image

      Ezra 8 years ago

      Green careers guide also has a comprehensive list of green jobs

    • profile image

      jencantwell 7 years ago

      Add "Worm Farmer" to the list! You should see the looks I get when I tell people what my business is about! This is a great and encouraging list of jobs. Nice hub! Jen

    • profile image

      Russ 7 years ago

      Green jobs will be all the rage in about 10 years.

    • profile image

      Tim 7 years ago

      Great site and perfect info for people that want to start and find that green career.

    • kazeemjames01 profile image

      kazeemjames01 6 years ago

      Highly informative as usual. Thanks for sharing

    • antigravity profile image

      antigravity 23 months ago

      Lots of useful & informative content in one article. Global warming can be controlled by some simple steps.

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