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Best green jobs in the next five years

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Working for a greener planet

With a huge push and tremendous investment in clean energy, and more environmentally friendly business practices, considerable growth in the green job sector is expected for at least the next five to 10 years.
Woman farmer with tablet

You can find a wide variety of jobs in environmental fields that concentrate on energy efficiency, sustainable and renewable energy, and preservation of natural resources. From solar power technicians to organic farmers to urban planners, a number of sustainability-focused careers will continue to be on the rise.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least 3.1 million Americans are employed in green jobs, which accounts for approximately 2.4 percent of the nation's total employment. It's difficult to really measure this particular employment sector, as there is such a large gray area when defining green jobs, but if you are looking to work in the environmental field, now is a great time to get started. Let's take a look at some of the best green jobs in terms of opportunities and growth in the next five years.

Solar power contractor

More and more people are turning to alternative energy sources, like solar and wind power. Solar power contractors in the residential and commercial sectors will continue to be in demand. As anticipated tax credits go into effect, the Solar Industries Association predicts a significant increase in jobs in this area by 2016. Additionally, wind turbine installers and other professionals with experience in wind power will also be needed. The opportunity for advancement and growth in these areas is expected to be strong over the next five to 10 years.

Find out: Should you get solar panels? >>

Hybrid vehicle technician

The desire for green cars has been steadily increasing in recent years. And when we go through periods of rising gas prices, more and more consumers buy hybrid vehicles. Someone needs to make and service these cars, as well as do lithium battery testing and other specialized work. If you have experience in the hybrid car industry, expect growth opportunities to continue to rise.

Urban planners

Employment in this area is projected to increase 15 percent between 2011 and 2016, with many of the jobs keyed into local governments. As the quest continues to reduce our country's carbon footprint, urban planners are a big part of that goal on a local and regional level. Urban planners can strengthen transit systems, encourage the use of bicycles and discourage the use of cars, limit urban sprawl, neutralize carbon waste from buildings and deal with all the other dilemmas of today's modern cities.

Read about how to calculate your carbon footprint >>

tomatoFarmers

America needs more farmers. Some estimates say that millions of them will be needed in the next five years, as the average age of current working farmers is over 55. Sustainable agriculture requires small, local, organic farms run by farmers who know as much about sustainability as they do about marketing.

Read these farmers' market shopping tips >>

Energy-efficient builders, environmental attorneys, green travel employees, recyclers and sustainability systems developers are also considered some of the best green jobs right now.

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