You need to know the best paying jobs in public utilities if you are interested in pursuing a career in this fast-growing industry.
Public utilities are vital to the day-to-day lives of most people on earth.
The public utility industry can be an excellent place to start your career in the business world
Not just because you’re working with important and necessary public services but also because pay in this field tends to be higher than in other industries.
This article will discuss the 21 best-paying jobs in public utilities you may not have considered.
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And without further ado, let’s dive in
What are Public Utility Industries?
A public utility, also known as a public service company, is an organization that provides services to members of a specific community.
Those services might include electricity, water, sewage, natural gas, and telephone service.
Governments set up utilities and government-owned companies (often called PSCs) to provide utility services in some cases. In other instances, the private enterprise offers those services.
The utility industry might seem old-fashioned and boring, but there are some great job opportunities.
If you’re interested in helping the public without dealing with direct customer service, this could be a good industry to start your career.
What are the best paying jobs in Public Utilities?
The best paying jobs in public utilities are available jobs in the water, sewage, electricity, natural gas, and solar power industries.
There are both one-service companies and large providers, and some companies provide both, such as natural gas and electricity.
These are public services, and the industry is heavily regulated. $880.3 billion is what the U.S. utility industry is worth.
The best paying jobs in the public utility industry include project managers, energy engineers, hydro-meteorological technicians, utility directors, substation engineers, water resource engineers, etc.
Let’s look at the top 21 best paying jobs in public utilities.
The very first best paying jobs in public utilities on my list is a project manager.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) describes project management positions as the heart of today’s knowledge economy.
That translates to higher-than-average salaries and a job stability rate that’s nearly 50 percent higher than average.
According to BLS estimates, these positions pay an average annual salary of $96,500 with a projected growth rate of 24 percent through 2022 (significantly above average).
Every company has its unique definition of project management responsibilities, but here are some core requirements worth researching before seeking out new opportunities:
- project management professional certification;
- proven expertise working with stakeholders across departments;
- experience overseeing complex projects with tight deadlines;
- track record of creating and delivering goals on time and within budget.
Energy engineer is another best paying jobs in electric utilities.
An energy engineer can expect to earn $77,000 per year, according to Glassdoor.
This job is likely to grow 18% between now and 2023.
Energy engineers help maximize an organization’s financial efficiency and resources while ensuring compliance with government regulations.
To get a job as an energy engineer, it helps to have a bachelor’s degree in chemical or mechanical engineering with an emphasis on thermodynamics.
A master’s degree may also be necessary for certain positions at larger firms.
These professionals are responsible for developing systems that ensure power generation equipment operates efficiently and safely.
Energy engineers use computer models to optimize the performance of power plants.
And they also maintain safety standards while looking into new technologies such as biofuels, carbon sequestration, and fuel cells.
Those who work in consulting services must constantly stay up-to-date on changes in laws related to energy issues.
Another best paying jobs in public utilities is Hydro-meteorological technicians.
The average salary for a hydro-meteorological technician is $51,200.
A bachelor’s degree and several years of work experience are required to get a job as a hydro-meteorological technician.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that these technicians will see 9% growth in their field over the next ten years, with about 11,000 new jobs created.
As municipalities and states across America continue to focus on smart grid technology and clean energy initiatives, demand for experienced hydro-meteorological technicians should increase.
A software engineer is another best paying jobs in public utilities.
Do you have a natural talent for math and science? If so, you might consider a career as a software engineer.
You’ll build computer software and work with more hardware than most people do at home with that job.
A job with good pay often requires education beyond high school, and many programs require bachelor’s degrees, and some even require master’s degrees.
Software engineers earn an average of $90,000 annually — and it doesn’t take too long to land one of these jobs either: just 1-2 years of training is enough to get you started.
Most jobs also offer excellent benefits and perks, including dental coverage and paid vacations!
The only downside to being a software engineer is that your work may be tedious if you don’t enjoy solving complex problems.
Meter readers are one of the best paying jobs in public utilities.
No need to have a fancy degree or be able to work complicated machinery
You can enter into a rewarding and lucrative career just by helping people read their electric, gas, and water meters.
Meter readers collect data that allows companies to bill customers for usage, so you’ll need quick addition skills and an ability to follow detailed directions.
And since most companies want you to complete training through on-the-job experience, having strong customer service skills is also a plus.
As far as pay goes, salary information for meter readers varies widely depending on your location and industry.
However, you can expect an average salary of around $27 per hour (or around $56,000 annually) for electric utility workers nationwide.
Reservoir Engineering Advisor
Another best paying jobs in public utilities is the reservoir engineering advisor.
The main responsibility of a reservoir engineering advisor is to develop and manage the extraction of relic fuel reserves for oil and gas companies.
This profession requires assessing fuel reservoirs and creating technical plans for underground drilling and extraction.
Evaluating wells’ potential and forecast results are things you might do; working with geoscientists to create 3D models is another one.
The reservoir usually will change during extraction, so you may need to remain on-site and keep up-to-date with the new developments.
The salary for a reservoir engineering advisor typically depends on experience and location of employment.
An individual can earn between $85,000 and $150,000 per year in an entry-level position.
If working as a reservoir engineering advisor in an urban area like New York City or San Francisco, they may earn more than someone in a less populated area like Utah or Colorado.
Senior-level engineers can make up to $120,000 per year at some companies, while others may pay over $150,000 annually.
Water Resource Engineer
A water resource engineer is an engineer who works in a water treatment plant, and it’s one of the highest and best paying jobs in public utilities.
They are responsible for overseeing the management of plants and designing and maintaining the machines that clean and treat the water supply.
Water Resource Engineers are responsible for how a water resource facility operates and managing natural resources like groundwater or wells.
Their day-to-day responsibilities include ensuring compliance with government regulations and the upkeep of the budget.
A few other important qualities for success are leadership skills, relationship skills, and good communication skills.
Water resource engineers often work with state and federal agencies to
- review environmental impact reports,
- produce maps, and
- take surveys of river basins
to assess potential construction sites or other such development projects.
While their pay isn’t always high, it can increase dramatically with a master’s degree (or beyond).
Experienced professionals may earn upwards of $100K annually.
Substation engineer is also one of the best paying jobs in public utilities.
A substation engineer manages equipment in electric power substations.
Substation engineers are responsible for installing, operating, and maintaining control panels, transformers, circuit breakers, and switches that make up an electric power station.
This job requires working on-site outdoors or inside substations that have little to no natural light.
Substation engineers may also be required to work nights, weekends, and holidays.
These individuals usually work full-time with a salary ranging from $86,000 to $115,000, depending on experience and geographic location.
Substation engineer is one of the best paying jobs because they usually offer a great benefits package that includes health insurance benefits or paid time off such as holidays or vacation days.
The substation engineer’s responsibility is to create and design plans for power plants.
They’re involved in communication with project team members and stakeholders.
As a substation engineer, you may
- design and create documentation about cable and conduit sizes for different substations,
- track down appropriate materials and products for each,
- use software for your field, and
- work with others on the team.
For someone to be qualified to become a substation engineer,
- a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering,
- experience in electrical engineering jobs, and
- strong problem-solving skills are necessary.
Becoming a utility manager is a great way to earn a salary while at home with your family. The median annual wage for utility managers is $70,410.
Utility manager is also one of the best paying jobs in public utilities.
Utility managers ensure that utilities are running smoothly and efficiently, coordinating with outside companies to ensure their smooth and efficient operation.
When there is an emergency, they work closely with all other departments to ensure that everything runs according to plan.
They also research new technology and make sure company equipment is up-to-date.
To become a utility manager, you must have experience as a utility worker or engineer and five years of management experience.
However, some employers might only require four years of prior managerial experience and education instead of technical training if you have previous industry experience.
Nuclear Licensing Engineer
Nuclear licensing engineer is another best paying jobs in public utilities.
These engineers are responsible for completing tasks that ensure nuclear power plants can operate safely.
Licensing engineers must be thorough and accurate during their work, including reviewing blueprints and reports, visiting facilities, and conducting operational tests on equipment.
These engineers often work at nuclear power plants, but there are opportunities to work at construction sites.
Nuclear licensing engineers earn about $93,000 per year and have a large variety of employment options.
Most entry-level positions require an engineering degree from an accredited program; more experienced professionals can start as licensed engineers with just a bachelor’s degree.
A gas controller is also one of the highest paying jobs in public utilities
You can get the job of a gas controller with an engineering degree.
If you are certified as a gas operator, you will have to be able to inspect and repair gas lines and equipment.
Most pipeline companies offer competitive wages and benefit packages to their employees.
A gas controller has to operate pipelines and ensure that customers receive the proper flow of gas or oil.
As a gas controller, you are in charge of any issues that might occur at the company that produces gas and oil.
In your role, you monitor the gas pipelines to make sure nothing abnormal is happening and that all levels are up to code.
If there is a potential problem, you are the person that has to deal with it.
You make adjustments to the settings in gas chambers, such as temperature, pressure, and flow rate.
A high school diploma is needed to become a gas controller, and some employers prefer someone with a college degree.
At the very least, you need to also have one or two years of experience in the oil industry.
As a gas controller in the United States, you can make an average salary of $96,511 per year.
Hydroelectric Plant Operator
Another best paying jobs in public utilities is the hydroelectric plant operator.
In hydroelectric plants, water is rapt through a pipe toward a turbine that propels a generator, creating electricity.
The same water then flows back to a lower reservoir.
Today’s hydroelectric plants are more efficient than early versions because there are more ways to direct and reuse excess water.
Operators can monitor precipitation levels and atmospheric temperature with remote sensors and adjust their plants based on their findings.
Operators usually need an associate degree or at least two years of experience working with computers or automated machinery, such as those used in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
However, some workers may be able to train with help from their employer.
Hydroelectric plant operators earn an average salary of $60,000+ yearly.
Power Plant Operator
Another best paying jobs in public utilities is the power plant operator
In 2016, over 200,000 power plant operators were active across America.
The role requires five years of experience to enter.
Power plant operators monitor and control activities inside plants such as nuclear, fossil fuel, or hydroelectric power stations.
The responsibilities include monitoring gauges and dials that regulate pressure and water flow in heat exchangers and steam generators.
Wages range from $43,200 per year for entry-level employees to $82,000 for those with more than 20 years of experience.
Generally, it requires a high school diploma or equivalent plus on-the-job training, but only an Associate’s degree is required to promote to higher levels within most companies.
The power plant operator is one of the best paying jobs in public utilities that may surprise you because it seems so far from your day-to-day life.
However, suppose you’re someone who loves tinkering with machinery and likes to have a lot of responsibility for such a large amount of electricity.
In that case, a job as a power plant operator could be for you.
If you want to become a power plant operator, check out our guide on what it takes to become one and how much they earn.
That should give you some great insight into whether or not public utilities are something worth looking into further.
A radiation engineer is also one of the highest paying jobs in public utilities
Though they may not get paid as much as a nuclear physicist, radiation engineers earn good money—$54,000 per year on average.
Radiation engineers are responsible for protecting workers and consumers from dangerous ionizing radiation.
Their work can include
- handling radioactive materials,
- designing shielding systems,
- analyzing data to track down leaks, and
- exposing weaknesses in current designs.
If you have strong math skills, you might be particularly well-suited to a career as a radiation engineer.
You are going to need a degree in nuclear engineering.
Beyond that basic training, completing a master’s degree program is often necessary before finding employment with an engineering company or utility.
Wind Turbine Technician
Working as a wind turbine technician is not only one of the most fun job titles out there, but it’s also one of the biggest jobs to be added to our economy.
Wind energy can help reduce reliance on coal, oil, and gas by powering homes and offices clean, renewable energy.
As someone who works with wind turbines, you will be on hand to keep them running at their optimum levels.
There are few opportunities for those looking for jobs in public utilities, many more than most people realize.
After reading about these occupations, it’s safe to say that you won’t look at wind power any differently than you did before!
A wind turbine technician’s responsibilities is to inspect wind tribunes, install wind tribunes, operate wind tribunes, maintain wind tribunes, and repair wind turbines whenever the need arises.
They can fix any issue that could lead to the turbine suddenly shutting down.
According to Glassdoor, the median annual wage of a wind Tribune Technician is $45,000.
Waste Water Treatment Plant Operators
Another best paying jobs in public utilities is the wastewater treatment plant operator.
A water treatment plant operator works to clean and treat public water supplies; they help ensure our drinking water is sanitary.
We get drinking water from the earth, lakes, rivers, and reservoirs to a water treatment plant, where they treat the water and then distribute it to customers.
Because of their proximity to large volumes of potentially contaminated water, these workers must be well-trained.
Water and wastewater treatment plant operators earn a median annual salary of $64,000.
A water treatment plant operator’s responsibilities include
- adding chemicals (such as ammonia, chlorine, or lime) to disinfect water
- inspecting equipment regularly,
- monitoring operating conditions, meters, and gauges,
- collecting and testing water and sewage samples,
- ensuring safety standards are met and preparing safety analysis reports
- staying current on environmental laws and regulations
- and taking necessary measures to ensure water is clean and safe to drink.
Renewable Energy managers
Solar power is picking up steam as a viable alternative energy source, and it’s bringing with it an increase in demand for renewable energy managers.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that these professionals will likely see employment growth of 20 percent by 2020.
And there’s a lot of good news about pay: Renewable energy managers earn over $77,000 per year on average, and that’s more than twice what most electricians make.
Renewable energy managers are also one of the best paying jobs in public utilities.
If you’re looking for one of the best paying jobs in public utilities, renewable energy management might be your ticket.
Renewable energy managers are responsible to plan and clarify regional requirements, resource planning, and regional requirements.
Their work also includes obtaining technical support from internal or external experts or developing partnerships with local companies for detailed engineering support.
Transmission Line Installers & Repairers
Transmission line installer and repairer is another best paying jobs in public utilities.
These workers keep our power flowing and help to maintain a reliable grid.
For these line workers, it’s all about working outside, being part of a team, and providing your community with an essential service.
And if you don’t mind getting dirty now and then—literally—you can make as much as $80K per year.
This job is best for someone who values teamwork, good health insurance benefits, high paychecks, and challenging work on renewable energy infrastructure.
They also need to be willing to live away from home for months since most transmission line jobs are usually hundreds of miles from where they started.
Water Distribution System Maintenance Workers
Distribution system maintenance workers plan and direct activities to construct, operate, and maintain natural gas lines and underground storage facilities.
As far as cars are on the roads, work for these professionals will be relatively steady.
Natural gas vehicles can account for up to 20 percent of all U.S. transportation energy use by 2050
And that’s on top of growth from existing vehicles shifting over to running on natural gas instead of gasoline or diesel.
Such workers like distribution system dispatcher maintenance won’t be hurting for business anytime soon.
This is a prodigious option if you want a stable job expected to grow over time but doesn’t have an especially high salary attached to it just yet.
The average annual pay for water distribution maintenance workers is $66,040, it is also one of the best paying jobs in public utilities.
Hazardous Materials Removal Workers
Hazardous waste removal workers ensure that highly dangerous chemicals, materials, and gases do not leak into our communities.
They are one of the easy high paying jobs.
The chemicals handled by these workers include hydrochloric acid, potassium cyanide, and petroleum fuels.
Despite their intimidating job title, most of these workers only deal with the non-radioactive hazardous material.
They are often closely monitored while working to ensure safe and contain any leaks.
Even though these jobs pay well – at an average of $46,000 a year – being able to do them safely is vital, and it can take years of training to become a certified hazardous waste removal worker.
Pipeline laborers are also one of the easy high paying jobs and best paying jobs in public utilities
These employees operate and maintain natural gas, oil, water, and other pipelines that provide both water and energy to cities all over America.
Frequently considered part of a public works team, pipeline workers ensure safe transportation for goods such as crude oil or natural gas.
They might also be responsible for installing new pipelines when needed.
According to ZipRecruiter, they average around $43,500 per year.
If you’re looking for a big change from your current career path, keep your eyes open—you may be able to transition into pipeline work relatively quickly by getting a professional certification or two in hand.