Thursday, August 2, 2012

Green Jobs Series: Careers in Electric Vehicles [Installment Five]

According to a study by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley, the largest source of job creation related to alternative fuel vehicles is expected to come from the construction of a nationwide charging infrastructure. This installment of The Daily Leap's green job series describes some of the most common jobs in infrastructure development.

Occupations in Infrastructure Development

Urban and regional planners will be involved in planning the infrastructure upgrades, while electrical power-line installers and repairers will lay the wires that carry this extra electricity. Electricians will install the charging stations.

Job Duties

Urban and regional planners plan and implement infrastructure upgrades to support electric vehicles. Urban and regional planners determine how many charging stations are necessary to support a given number of vehicles, as well as where to situate them to reach the greatest number of citizens.

Electrical power-line installers and repairers install and maintain the power grid—the network of power lines that move electricity from generating plants to customers. Electrical power-line installers install new lines that are capable of handling the anticipated increased load.

Electricians install charging stations and any other equipment needed for electric vehicles. They attach the charging stations to lines that have been installed by electrical power-line installers and ensure that the chargers are working properly. When there is a problem with the charger, electricians are called to make necessary repairs.

Education and Training

Urban and regional planners typically work for local or state governments and enter the field with a master’s degree in urban or regional planning or a related field. Some urban and regional planners may be certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners if they have the appropriate combination of education and professional experience, and pass an examination.

Electrical power-line installers and repairers must have a high school diploma or equivalent and have basic math and reading skills. Technical knowledge of electricity is helpful but not required for entry into this field. Installers and repairers receive 1 to 5 years of on-the-job training from their employer.

Electricians should have a high school diploma or equivalent and must go through an apprenticeship that lasts at least 3 years. During an apprenticeship, an electrician receives formal classroom training as well as on-the-job training from an experienced electrician to gain the skills necessary to work independently. In addition, most states and localities require an electrician to be licensed, which usually involves passing an examination that covers knowledge of building codes, the National Electric Code, and electrical theory. Before electricians are certified to install a particular type of charging station, they are required to go through specialized training by the manufacturer.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have wage data specific to the electric vehicle industry. The table shows wages for selected infrastructure occupations for May 2010. The wages shown are median annual wages for the United States as a whole; wages vary by employer and location.

Occupation Median annual wage
Urban and regional planners $63,040
Electrical power-line installers and repairers $58,030
Electricians $48,250

For more detailed information on infrastructure development occupations in the electric vehicle industry, follow the Occupational Outlook Handbook link.

Next week's green job series installment: Careers in Solar Power

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