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Career and Education Opportunities for Energy Systems Engineers in Charleston, West Virginia

Energy systems engineer career and educational opportunities abound in Charleston, West Virginia. There are currently 500 working energy systems engineers in West Virginia; this should grow 5% to about 520 working energy systems engineers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for energy systems engineers, which sees this job pool growing by about 6.7% over the next eight years. In general, energy systems engineers design, develop, and evaluate energy-related projects and programs to reduce energy costs or improve energy efficiency during the designing, building, or remodeling stages of construction.

A person working as an energy systems engineer can expect to earn about $40 hourly or $85,250 per year on average in West Virginia and about $42 per hour or $88,570 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Energy systems engineers earn more than people working in the category of Green Engineering generally in West Virginia and more than people in the Green Engineering category nationally. Jobs in this field include: certified green building engineer, hydrogen power plant engineer, and environmental solutions engineer.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can study to be an energy systems engineer, among seventeen schools of higher education total in the Charleston area. Given that the most common education level for energy systems engineers is a Bachelor's degree, it will take about four years to learn to be an energy systems engineer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Energy Systems Engineer

In general, energy systems engineers design, develop, and evaluate energy-related projects and programs to reduce energy costs or improve energy efficiency during the designing, building, or remodeling stages of construction. They also may specialize in electrical systems; heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems; green buildings; lighting; air quality; or energy procurement.

Energy systems engineers identify energy savings opportunities and make recommendations to attain more energy efficient operations. They also train personnel or clients on topics such as energy management. Equally important, energy systems engineers have to furnish consultation to clients or other engineers on topics such as climate control systems, energy modeling, data logging, energy management control systems, lighting or daylighting layout, sustainable layout, and energy auditing. They are often called upon to ready project reports and other program or technical documentation. They are expected to monitor and analyze energy consumption. Finally, energy systems engineers direct the work of contractors or staff in the implementation of energy management projects.

Every day, energy systems engineers are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to read and understand documents and reports. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for energy systems engineers to conduct energy audits to review energy use or conservation measures. They are often called upon to perform energy modeling or retro-commissioning. They also conduct research or collect data on renewable or alternative energy systems or technologies such as solar thermal and photovoltaic energy. They are sometimes expected to oversee the development or development of energy conservation projects to insure acceptability of budgets and time lines, conformance to federal and state laws, or adherence to approved specifications. Somewhat less frequently, energy systems engineers are also expected to conduct research or collect data on renewable or alternative energy systems or technologies such as solar thermal and photovoltaic energy.

Energy systems engineers sometimes are asked to inspect or monitor energy systems including heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), or daylighting systems to establish energy use or potential energy savings. and confer with construction or renovation clients and other engineers on topics such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental layout (LEED) or Green Buildings. And finally, they sometimes have to promote awareness or use of alternative and renewable energy sources.

Like many other jobs, energy systems engineers must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and have exceptional integrity.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Energy Systems Engineer Training

West Virginia University Institute of Technology - Montgomery, WV

West Virginia University Institute of Technology, 405 Fayette Pke, Montgomery, WV 25136. West Virginia University Institute of Technology is a small university located in Montgomery, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,185 students and an admission rate of 46%. West Virginia University Institute of Technology has a bachelor's degree program in Mechanical Engineering which graduated twenty-three students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Forensic Claims Consultant : AACE International's Certified Forensic Claims Consultant (CFCC) certification program is designed to establish credentials to recognize your professional expertise.

For more information, see the AACE International (Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering through total cost management) website.

Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing Professional - Technologist: ASME GDTP Certification provides the means to recognize proficiency in the understanding and application of the geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) principles expressed in the ASME Y14.

For more information, see the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International website.

Certified Energy Manager: Since its inception in 1981, the Certified Energy Manager (CEM®) credential has become widely accepted and used as a measure of professional accomplishment within the energy management field.

For more information, see the Association of Energy Engineers website.

Certified Energy Auditor: The Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) certification identifies professionals as having the required knowledge and experience needed to succeed in the growing field of energy auditing.

For more information, see the Association of Energy Engineers website.

Protective Coatings Specialist: This certification is geared toward individuals who are experienced, knowledgeable and capable of performing work at an advanced level in both the theory and practice of corrosion prevention and control, and who are capable of performing work at an advanced level in the protective coatings field.

For more information, see the NACE International website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.