How to Become
a Wind Turbine Technician
Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications
A career as a wind turbine technician will bring you unexpected adventures and important responsibilities. Due to the ongoing climate crisis, alternative energy is an expanding field that offers alternatives to fossil fuels. Wind turbine technicians need technical skills to keep wind farms running smoothly so they can supply power.
According to the United States government, a reliance on wind energy is expected to grow in the coming decades. This reliance has the potential to create new job opportunities between now and 2050. If you are interested in renewable energy and want to take advantage of the growing job market, you should become a wind turbine technician.
What Is a Wind Turbine Technician?
A wind turbine technician is responsible for the installation, inspection, maintenance, and operation of wind turbines. A technician will also repair wind turbines after unexpected shutdowns. When there are issues in the field, turbine technicians often have to troubleshoot and solve problems on the spot.
What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become a Wind Turbine Technician?
To become a wind turbine technician, you should attend a vocational school. For some employers, having a high school diploma with good scores in related subjects is sufficient. If you are competent in mathematics, science, and mechanics, then it could be an ideal opportunity for you.
Wind turbine technicians need to exhibit outstanding mechanical skills and a mastery of digital electronics, hydraulics, pneumatics, and technical writing. Technicians also need to have a basic understanding of electricity. Attending a vocational school will be sufficient for someone wishing to gain these skills.
Best Wind Turbine Technician Education Tracks
A bachelor’s degree is not needed in this field and seldom comes up in job listings for wind turbine technicians. Vocational schools will provide the necessary training for someone wishing to become a technician. There is also further learning that can be done for anyone who wishes to enhance their career prospects.
Vocational schools, or trade schools, are highly recommended for people who want to become wind turbine technicians, primarily because of the practical experience that these schools offer. Even for an entry-level technician job, employers look for candidates who have at least three years of relevant experience in the field.
Completing a vocational program will give you knowledge on wind energy technology, health and safety, wind turbine electrics, wind turbine mechanics, hydraulics, and rotor blade repairs. Vocational programs can range in length, but they usually take less than a year to complete.
Many community colleges offer Wind Turbine Service Technician Certificate programs, which provide a suitable foundation in industrial electricity and mechanical systems. Community college is also a great option for somebody wishing to complete an associate degree, which can prepare you for entry-level work as a wind turbine technician, depending on the subject.
Wind Turbine Technician Courses
Many wind service companies offer training courses for wind turbine technicians. For example, Alpha offers a four-day course on four concepts of basic safety training: first aid, fire awareness, manual handling, and working at heights. This is a great course to add to your vocational diploma.
How to Become a Wind Turbine Technician: A Step-by-Step Guide
The key to becoming a trustworthy wind turbine technician is obtaining meaningful hours of experience. That is going to be a major component of this step-by-step guide on becoming a wind turbine technician.
Find a school with an accredited program
The best training programs are either based on or directly adopted from the Global Wind Organisation. The courses should teach you to work well at heights, work safely in confined spaces, and be adequately prepared for potential emergencies.
Find a company that offers internships or apprenticeships
Internships and apprenticeships offer something a textbook can’t. Employers need you to demonstrate that you have the practical skills necessary to be a successful technician.
Become a maintenance technician
This field can offer you the skills necessary to thrive in the wind turbine industry. Maintenance technicians have deductive reasoning and problem-solving skills as well as some IT knowledge.
Learn electrician skills
Electricity is another trade that can help set you off on this career pathway. Becoming an electrician will help you learn about wiring and working transmission lines, which feature prominently in the design and operation of a wind turbine.
Apply for wind turbine technician jobs
Once you have the necessary skills, you can start applying for wind turbine technician jobs. Sometimes, openings are available on a case-by-case basis, so it may take some time to find the right position for you.
Key Wind Turbine Technician Skills
Some people have a personal interest or aptitude in math and science. However, these are also skills that can be learned and tested. If you’re prepared to apply yourself, you can acquire the necessary skills to be a good wind turbine technician.
Some tests can be conducted for people who want to pursue technical careers. These tests will measure your ability to grasp mechanical concepts and principles. Problem-solving is also a skill required for this job, which is more difficult to test on paper but can be gained through experience.
This entails having a grasp of digital signals and basic engineering. Digital electronic devices are major components of a wind turbine. Not understanding these devices could present serious problems when working on a project.
Beyond digital electronics, you need to understand how a wind turbine works. You need to understand why the turbine has three blades, what happens when those three blades rotate, and how the gears in a wind turbine work. Understanding this is an important part of a wind turbine technician’s troubleshooting abilities.
For a wind turbine to operate optimally, there needs to be pitch control for the rotation of the wind tower’s blades. This can avoid breakage and other emergencies. This requires the use of a hydraulic pump, motor, or reservoir. You’ll need to understand how these work if you want to thrive in this field.
Wind Turbine Technician Salary and Job Outlook
According to PayScale, the average salary for a wind turbine technician is $51,938 per year. If you are closer to the bottom of the wind turbine technician ladder, you can still expect to earn $40,000 per year. At the higher end of the average wind turbine technician salary, you can potentially earn $95,000 per year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for wind turbine technicians is expected to grow by 61 percent by 2029. This is significantly faster than the average growth across other industries. This is likely due to the aggressive drive for renewable energy sources.
Entry-Level Wind Turbine Technician Job Requirements
Although you may not need a bachelor’s degree for an entry-level job as a technician, you will likely be required to have a driver’s license. Most people hiring a wind tech list it as an entry-level requirement. Wind farms cover large spaces, and the job requires a lot of travel.
Most employers are most likely to hire a job candidate with at least two years of experience in this field. You can get this experience with an internship or by completing an accredited wind turbine technology program. You also need to have a working knowledge of basic technology because a major component of your job will be reporting data.
What Does a Wind Turbine Technician Do?
Wind turbine technicians install and repair turbine systems to make sure they are running smoothly. Due to the potential safety issues associated with the work, you will almost always be in the field with a partner. You will need to have a well-rounded set of skills to complete all necessary tasks and collaborate with your partner.
Completes Administrative Work
During each workday, a wind turbine technician should expect to do about an hour’s worth of administrative work. This includes filing data reports and monitoring the sites that they oversee.
Inspects Wind Towers
This task is now regularly performed using a drone, with all of the data collected by the drone being transmitted and stored onto a computer system. These inspections are necessary to find any damage or defects on the tower’s blades. You will also be tasked with establishing the extent of that damage and drafting a solution.
Collects Turbine Data
The technician has to collect and compile records on the functionality of wind turbines. You need to ensure that the information being supplied is verified and of high quality. The United States Wind Turbine Database uses this information to provide locations of all turbines in the country.
Tests Electrical Components
Testing different components is important because you need to avoid problems in the future. The reason why you need a solid grasp of mechanical and electrical systems is that you need to be able to pick up on any defects present in the wind turbines.
How to Prepare for Your Wind Turbine Technician Job Interview
Due to the potentially dangerous conditions, you’ll be working under, you’ll need to demonstrate to an interviewer that you have a strong grasp of technical concepts as well as a commitment to safety and responsibility. If you have a fear of heights, water, or small spaces, then this job likely isn’t the one for you.
Wind Turbine Technician Job Interview Practice Questions
- Being a wind turbine technician involves a lot of tower climbing, especially out at sea. How do you stay calm in high-pressure situations?
- How comfortable are you with working with others?
- Describe a situation where you needed to solve a problem and explain how you did it.
- What are your strengths as a wind turbine technician?
How Long Does It Take to Become a Wind Turbine Technician?
By the time you have completed your training and your internship programs, you would have spent about three years preparing to become a wind turbine technician. Most entry-level job postings are seeking technicians with at least three years of experience. If you have less experience, you’ll have a harder time proving your skills.
Should You Become a Wind Turbine Technician in 2021?
Yes, you should become a wind turbine technician in 2021. The job outlook for the coming decade is outstanding, according to the BLS. That is partly because international interest in renewable energy sources is continuing to gather momentum. This presents countless job opportunities for wind turbine technicians.
Wind Turbine Technician FAQs
Do I need a degree to become a wind turbine technician?
No, you do not need a degree to become a wind turbine technician. It is possible to become a wind turbine technician without even completing high school if you’re willing to study for the proper certifications.
Where do wind turbine technicians work?
According to the BLS, 35 percent of wind turbine technicians work in electric power generation. About 26 percent work in repair and maintenance, 13 percent are self-employed, and an additional 13 percent work in utility system construction.
What kind of hours does a wind turbine technician work?
Most wind turbine technicians work full-time, but you can also expect to work a lot of overtime in this field. This is great for your paycheck but can be difficult to manage.
Is wind turbine technician work dangerous?
Yes, this job sometimes involves working from heights or in dangerous environments. You should be prepared to perform your duties while facing stressful situations.