Education: Photovoltaic Installer
English/Language Arts I, II, III, IV
All utility jobs require being able to effectively communicate verbally and through writing. This can be gained by taking four years of English or Language Arts in high school. Solar Photovoltaic Installers need to be able to follow step-by-step directions very carefully to stay safe on the job. Solar Photovoltaic Installers also need to keep logs of daily work, write reports, and fill out work orders, which require correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Since teamwork is essential to a Solar Photovoltaic Installer’s daily work, being able to effectively talk to your boss and co-workers is also critical.
Algebra I and II
Believe it or not, Solar Photovoltaic Installers need algebra, since those theorems from class are similar to the problem-solving process Solar Photovoltaic Installers go through to locate and identify problems on the power lines. So stick with it and become a better problem-solver!
Part of being a Solar Photovoltaic Installer includes using diagrams to install new wiring and cables either above ground or underground in trenches. Good geometry skills help Solar Photovoltaic Installers since they need to be able to measure and understand dimensions and spaces.
The math of right angles and circles, trigonometry probably sounds more complicated than it is. Any time you figure out anything to do with angles, turning, or swinging, there’s trigonometry involved. Solar Photovoltaic Installers need trigonometry to understand the waves they see when testing electrical charges.
Earth or Environmental Science
Since energy comes from natural resources, it is a good idea to take earth or environmental science to prepare you for a job in the energy industry. Earth science will introduce you to the various types of natural resources that are used to generate electricity including coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. Environmental science will help you control hazards and hazardous materials, understand how these materials impact the environment, and understand how to protect yourself and the environment.
Biology and Chemistry
These courses are typically required in high school and will provide you with a well-rounded science background, which is important for careers in the energy industry.
Physics is an important high school course to prepare for a career in the energy field because you will learn such things as how electricity is generated, moves, and is “stepped down” and distributed to consumers. In addition, you will learn about basic physics concepts such as electrons and protons, which are essentials for working with electric power lines.
State History-Civics/U.S. History/World History
While history doesn’t sound like something that important to work for a utility, it will help you better understand and work with people. You will be employed in a diverse workplace, with individuals from other towns, states, and even from other countries. The better you understand the experience of others and how they got to where they are today, the better equipped you will be in the “life” skills required at any job. In addition, there are laws and regulations that energy companies must follow, so knowing how our government makes rules will help you as well. So, being a history buff isn’t so bad!
Median Annual Photovoltaic Installer Salary: $35,400
From O*NET 1/2016