The wind turbine technician career field has a small workforce but is expected to grow at a faster than average rate compared to most job opportunities due to the shortage of qualified applicants. These workers are also called wind techs. Their job duties include maintaining, repairing, or installing wind turbines and may have to work at high altitudes.
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How to Become a Wind Turbine Technician (Wind Tech)
It is common for a wind turbine technician to have attended a technical school to learn the profession. However one can also earn an associate’s degree through community colleges or technical schools. This can take approximately 2 years to complete. In these programs students usually receive onsite training under the supervision of an experience technician. Coursework and labs often center around safety training, hydraulic and electrical skills, mechanical and braking systems as well as computers and programmable logic control systems.
Though not common, sometimes individual contractors or unions offer apprenticeship programs with their own requirements to individuals not trained. Requirements may include a minimum age of 18, hold a high school diploma or the equivalent, and have good mental and physical health.
Job Description of a Wind Turbine Technician (Wind Tech)
A wind turbine technician repairs and installs different components of wind turbines which involves testing and troubleshooting mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic systems. Techs also inspect the turbine’s physical and exterior condition.
Wind turbine technicians are responsible for gathering data. They are required to climb towers to do repairs or maintenance when necessary. Because wind turbines are monitored from a 24 hour central office on site they often times must also travel. Wind Turbine Technicians maintain wind field substations, underground transmission systems as well as the fiber optic sensing control systems. A wind turbine technician also builds new turbines setting them in places that have consistent wind gusts.
He or she must be mechanically skilled and detail-oriented without being prone to fear of heights or confined spaces. They require physical strength and stamina in order to be able to lift heavy equipment and hold tools while climbing great heights. Most of their job is performed outdoors and in tight fitting spaces. They can also be employed at offshore locations that have wind turbines.
Free Teacher and Student Resources
The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) offers a free lesson plan for teachers on Working with Wind Energy. The IEEE states that they are the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology.
Wind Turbine Technician Career Video Transcript (Wind Tech)
When it comes to green energy, it doesn’t get much bigger or more spectacular than fields of wind turbines spinning high in the sky. Wind turbine service technicians, also known as wind techs, install and repair wind turbines. They monitor turbines electronically 24/7 from a central office, and travel to the worksite to troubleshoot problems, and conduct routine maintenance.
Wind turbine technicians may service underground components as well as climb to the top of towers for inspections or to replace components. Strength and stamina are important qualities for wind techs, in addition to the mechanical and problem-solving skills they use once they’re off the ground. Since they’re often working on turbines over 200 feet high, and in cramped spaces, techs need to be able to keep a cool head and an eye on the details. Wind farms are often isolated, so wind techs travel to rural areas and, with their work partner, operate as their own first responders in case of an accident.
Most work full-time, and may be on call on evenings and weekends. Most wind techs learn their trade by earning a certificate in wind energy at a technical school or community college. Once hired, they gain more than 12 months of on-the-job training for the specific wind turbines they service. With an eye on a sustainable future, wind turbine service technicians play a crucial role in providing clean energy for the world.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Wind Turbine Technicians.
National Center for O*NET Development. 49-9081.00. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.