How to Become an Energy Researcher


Career Path Guide

Those who become energy researchers are typically drawn to this career because of their natural interest in science and clean energy; they are often energetic, inspired, and enthusiastic people, and really want to make a difference. 


If you are intimidated by large and seemingly overwhelming projects, then a career as an energy researcher may not be for you. Competent energy researchers are able to use planning skills and patience to break a mountain of research work into manageable chunks.


Working as an energy researcher is an excellent career choice for those who enjoy working in a laboratory but also like to travel. It is also an excellent career choice for individuals who have excellent communications skills and are not afraid to share their professional opinions with others.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as an energy researcher. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become an Energy Researcher

Earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering, or renewable energy is typically the minimum requirement to get an entry-level job in energy research, such as Research Assistant.


If you want to become an energy researcher that completes your own research projects or directs others in applied research, you will likely need a master’s degree in one of the above-mentioned areas or a closely related field. It is ideal to pursue education in your desired area of specialization. For example, if you wish to work in solar energy research, you should pursue a graduate degree in this area. Some employers may require you to have a Ph.D. in a specialized area of energy research in order to be hired as an energy researcher.





Energy Researcher: General Job Description

Energy researchers are environmental engineers who design and conduct research studies related to discovering new, and improving existing, clean energy technologies and renewable energy sources.


Part of an energy researcher’s job is to analyze energy needs and plan renewable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions. For example, they may look to improve the cost-effectiveness of existing renewable energy technologies, such as solar energy technology, by looking at how solar cells are manufactured and trying to simplify the process and bring down the cost of production. Reducing the cost of producing such technologies is important, because it means that they will become more accessible.


Similar to other environmental engineers, energy researchers often work in teams with other professionals; they may also travel internationally in order to collaborate with energy researchers across the globe.



Typical Job Duties

• Design and administer complex surveys

• Liaise with other research team members

• Develop participation strategies, statistical analysis and reporting

• Research consumer behaviour and information processing in transport and buildings

• Provide support for the acquisition of new projects of the group

• Contribute to the dissemination of research project results

• Prepare and evaluate environmental impact statements

• Build models of renewable energy generators

• Design environmentally friendly energy generators

• Conduct experiments and analyze the results

• Hold group meetings to discuss the results of experimentation



Who Employs Energy Researchers?

Energy researchers are hired by organizations involved in designing and conducting of research studies related to the discovery of new, and improvement of existing, clean energy technologies and renewable energy sources. Organizations that create jobs for them include:


• Colleges and universities

• Federal, provincial/regional, and municipal government departments

• Renewable energy producers

• Companies that develop renewable energy equipment and infrastructure

• Clean and renewable energy consulting companies

• Industrial energy usage consulting companies

• Environmental engineering firms

• Non-profit organizations and public utilities companies

• Self-employment (as a consultant)





Skills and Traits Needed

To become effective in a career as an energy researcher, you need to posses certain skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, and maintain enthusiasm in your career.


• A keen interest in science and clean energy resources

• Ability to work effectively within a team environment

• An interest in the potential to travel for international collaboration

• Ability to use laboratory equipment, such as low temperature firing furnace and wet chemistry gear

• Be inspired, creative and eager to make a difference

• Able to break up large amounts of work into manageable pieces

• Networking skills

• Effective verbal and written communication skills, such as the ability to write reports

• Expert level knowledge in specific areas of renewable energy technology

• Patience, organization skills and comfort with detailed work



Salary Level

The salary level of energy researchers can vary depending on factors such as their level of education, their level of experience, where they work, their area of specialization, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many others.


Energy Researcher Salary Canada: According to ECO Canada, Clean Energy Researchers with a university degree make an average of $49,000 per year in Canada, and with a post graduate degree and with several years of experience, they can make between $78,000 and $104,000 per year.


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of workers in the Environmental Engineers occupational group is $78,740 per year.



Energy Researcher Jobs

Our job board below has "energy researcher" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Similar Careers

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to 'energy researcher', as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


• Chemist

• Electrical Engineer

• Environmental Chemist

• Environmental Engineer




Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an energy researcher.


Occupations in Alberta:Physicist.” (March 31, 2019). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 13, 2019.

Architecture & Engineering:Environmental Engineers.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 13, 2019.

Career Profiles:Clean Energy Researcher.” (n.d.). ECO Canada website. Retrieved November 13, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming an Energy Researcher

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming an energy researcher can be found on the following pages:


Chemistry Scholarships

Civil Engineering Scholarships

Environmental Engineering Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Applicable Majors

The majors listed below are highly relevant to this career, and can help set a great foundation for it. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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