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Green Collar Jobs For The 21st Century

Updated on December 2, 2014

The Emergence of Green Jobs And Careers

The notion of green collar jobs is relatively new in the job market and the economy overall. I haven't heard about it until quite recently as well, when one of my friends announced proudly that she has changed jobs and started a green career.

When I asked her what a green collar worker is (I knew about white collar and blue collar workers, but green collar?) she told me that she's now working in a company that helps save the environment, with every bit they can.

Having researched about this type of pioneer career path and employment opportunities, I decided to write about it and explain it in the way it has also been explained to me, putting in all the information I gathered from friends, my research and reading.

If you're thinking of changing careers due to the current job no longer satisfying you, why not try something that will give you some intrinsic motivation as well along with the money that puts you food on the family table? A job doesn't have to be just something that pays the bills. It can also be something fulfilling, with a higher scope in your life.

Help The Earth - Be Part Of The Solution

Help The Earth - Be Part Of The Solution
Help The Earth - Be Part Of The Solution | Source

What Exactly Are Green Collar Jobs?

roofs with solar panels
roofs with solar panels | Source

What Exactly Are Green Collar Jobs?

Have you ever felt that we as humans don't do enough about our home, about our environment? That we could do so much more through recycling, though reducing energy consumption while improving the energy efficiency? Maybe through teaching kids about green living and about why it is so important to us especially now?

Well, these are all parts of a green collar career involving jobs that do their part in helping and protecting - rather than destroying - our planet, our environment, our home.

Wikipedia gives the following definition for green jobs: "A green-collar worker is a worker who is employed in the environmental sectors of the economy", and it is quite on the mark with this. However as of today there is no official standard definition of what exactly falls into this category of employment. As of now, it is still quite open to interpretation and inclusion.

For example jobs in the public transportation are often classified as blue collar, however they can also fall under "green" if they evolve around areas of providing so-called "green vehicles" and fuel efficiency.

In fact you can find a green collar career path in many different industries and economies, as long as it strives to protect our eco-system one way or another.

Green Collar Jobs: Environmental Careers for the 21st Century

If you want to dive right in and see what the workforce market offers in the 21st century for entering the green collar career field, this book is a great addition to your personal shelf.

Whether you're a graduating student, a person who wants to change careers or somebody who's lost their job and wants to do something meaningful this time around, you will benefit from reading this book.

There are several green career paths described in the book and it will give you options that you didn't even know you had. It is definitely one of the best books in helping people to use their already existing skills in new ways, find new jobs and see new opportunities opening right in front of their eyes.

green collar workers
green collar workers | Source

Are Green Careers Suitable Only For Blue Collar Workers?

I've noticed that most internet sites dealing with green collar careers and jobs within focus on blue collar workers and how they can become 'green', or how new job opportunities can open to existing manual workers or unemployed people.

However white collar workers also make a great part of the 'green'. Engineers, scientists, managers, teachers and professors, and so many more, if they are committed to the environment, if they have 'green skills' and areas of responsibility within their jobs that evolve around sustainable and environmental progress, if they teach others on how to be responsive and proactive in helping the eco-system, they are all included in the term 'green'.

For example senior executives can manage environmental companies and organizations. Lawyers and social workers who have specialized and are actively working in areas of environmental issues. Corporate environmental auditors who conduct regular audits to ensure that environmental compliance is respected at all times, while also helping develop green audit projects in a corporation.

The truth is that practically any white or blue collar can be turned into a green collar job if the goals and practices are in line with helping our environment, our eco-system.

Worth Remembering

Anyone can become a green collar worker by focusing on bettering, improving and sustaining the environment through green plans and practices and materials and tools used.

Green Job Opportunities For Everyone Who Wants To Better The World

Here are some examples of green collar jobs involving many different industries and areas of life.

Green Job Boards Within The US

Here are some of the best job boards on the net focusing on green collar careers and jobs within the United States. They all offer environmentally friendly positions within companies who are seeking like minded individuals interested in social and environmental responsibility to work for them.

Green Careers: Choosing Work for a Sustainable Future

Green Careers: Choosing Work for a Sustainable Future
Green Careers: Choosing Work for a Sustainable Future

This is a great career guidance book that helps professionals in every field to find meaningful jobs that help save our eco-system.

It discusses around 90 different careers within 12 industrial areas, offers tips on how to go about finding a suitable job and gives more than 60 case studies along with interviews of people that are actually working such coveted jobs.

If you want to change your job, this is another great book for your shelf. Even kids in high school can benefit from it since it helps them choose their next path for furthering their studies.


Green Collar Jobs Around The World

While the US is quite popular in offering workers green jobs focusing on the environment, many countries around the world have started offering job boards among the same lines on the internet, making it easier for people searching for career opportunities in sectors that fit with their new ideas to find the right employment.

Prepare Early On In School

If your college or university offers courses on environment and sustainability, take them! It might not be late to get a degree in environmental sustainability, such as:

* Green MBA

* Human ecology

* Green interior design

* Eco-friendly fashion design

* Eco-gastronomy

* Sustainable tourism

Can You See Yourself Having A Green Collar Career?

Can You See Yourself Having A Green Collar Career?

See results

How To Find Green Collar Positions Outside Of The Job Boards

Job boards should be some of the first to be checked when looking for changing career or wanting to go back to the work force. However there are other ways to search for relevant jobs as well, maybe because the online boards simply don't offers what you're after right now, or they offer, but not right in your neighborhood.

So what alternatives do you have?

1. Contact the companies directly. One way to go about it is to make your own research about companies you'd be willing to work for, that fit with your goals and views. Once you have a handful of such companies, go directly to their website - nowadays pretty much every company has an official website, and they all have a Jobs or Careers page offering openings and positions.

2. Use the power of social media. This one is big. Social sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are great places to check for job offerings.LinkedIn is maybe the best to check out first, especially the various groups, such as the Green Jobs & Career Network.

3. Put your networking skills to good use. There are each year events and local meetings worth attending where you can network with influential people who might be willing to help at some point. Make sure you get several contacts and later on learn to nurture these contacts. You never know when a great position will open and one of these people will remember your name as a possible candidate.

4. Contact recruiters and headhunter agencies. These are not job boards, but work in a similar way. They put you in contact with businesses who are looking for personnel in their respective fields centered around sustainability and environmental issues.

5. Find new startup businesses - your future job opportunities. There are many new investors in the public and private sectors that can become your own employer. One place to find these investors are the local government websites for the public sector. For the private sector you can check our places such as, Earth2Tech or Greentech Media.

6. Read career books related to green jobs. Most of these books are new or fully updated and they have not only a vast resources on where to find job opportunities, but also great ideas that you might not have considered at all.

© 2013 Marika

Do You Have Any Green Collar Job Ideas That Are Worth Pursuing?

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    • sanasiddiqui profile image


      3 years ago

      Thanks for explaining about green collar jobs because this has more growth in future.

    • Pinasheart profile image


      5 years ago

      @Gypzeerose: Your son sounds like a great guy! I wish for my daughter to grow and be like that.

    • EzLoanLookUp LM profile image

      EzLoanLookUp LM 

      5 years ago

      Time to invest in green industry! Such as batteries!

    • paul-hill profile image


      5 years ago

      I love it--Green collar jobs. I'm a blue collar kinda guy doing green type work picking up scrap cars and trucks for recycling. Does this mean I have to re-classify myself?

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm currently unemployed so thankyou for the new direction.

    • Stephen Lewis profile image

      Stephen Lewis 

      5 years ago

      I am retired, but an avid environmentalist. I would have been interested 10 years ago.

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      5 years ago

      This article would be an excellent resource for youth who haven't heard of the idea of green collar jobs, and for their parents who'd never think to encourage the kids to go into those fields.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      What a great concept and great lens. Like me, there must be many people who had not heard the phrase "green collar job" before. Hopefully, this lens will help change that. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    • fifta profile image


      5 years ago

      Wow, I didn't know about green collar job until I read your lens, what an informative lens. And I believe a lot of people wish they can be part of green collar industry.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      5 years ago from USA

      This is a field for consideration, and opens up so many possibilities. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 

      5 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I have not heard this term previously. It's a great idea for a lens and a great concept. Congrats on the Purple star.

    • DRSandAssociate1 profile image


      5 years ago

      Awesome guide, I can see green collar jobs in the future really taking off!

    • PlethoraReader profile image


      5 years ago from Silicon Valley

      This is an amazing idea and really appreciate you sharing this with everyone. I think we all need to take more of a focus on the environment and this gives us another way. Keep us informed how things are going and again thank you for doing your part!

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 

      5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Green is my favorite color. ;-)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I am self employed but still interested in a greener world :-)

      Great lens!

    • leatherwooddesign profile image

      Marisa Horn 

      5 years ago from Rintown Pa

      Great lens. When I saw the opening photo along with the question what is a Green Color Job? I thought it was going to be the term for returning soldier in the work place.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This is a really interesting article, I had heard of green collar jobs but didn't really know exactly what it meant. Now I do! Now I realize that my next door neighbor would classify as a green collar worker. He works in the recycling industry. Great read!

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 

      5 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      My husband has a degree in sustainable development. I'm so thankful that green collar jobs are starting to be recognised - the planet needs more and more of these workers.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice selection of green careers, it will be very helpful for those still in college as well as those looking for a career change.

    • Camden1 profile image


      5 years ago

      I've never heard of green collar jobs. This will be something for my kids to keep in mind as they start looking for colleges and thinking of careers in the next few years.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I'd never heard of a green collar job before - fascinating! Thanks for sharing! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • Ardyn25 profile image


      5 years ago

      I wasn't aware of green collar jobs, thanks for sharing it. I think it's a great field and not only benefits our planet, but provides jobs.

    • chi kung profile image

      chi kung 

      5 years ago

      Although I don't intend to pursue a career I'm very much into the "green job" mentality - all of us can do things every day!

      recycling our waste is already a big portion of being environment friendly :)

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      5 years ago

      My son is studying industrial design. He told me that he doesn't just want to design fancy furniture for rich kids but wants to help the world. Some ideas include making houses using cheap environmentally sound materials to build houses across the world. This is a great lens, I can't believe it is so good right out of the gate. Pinned to my board "Cool Ways to make a Living" and blessed.


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