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Conservation scientists manage, develop, and help protect soil and rangelands.
John Steinbeck's masterpiece novel, "The Grapes of Wrath," follows the journey of several people who
left the state of Oklahoma because they could no longer make a living there. Most of these people were
farmers. However, their farmland had been overused for years. It had been over-planted and over-tilled.
Then, in 1930, drought hit the area. Windstorms blew the topsoil away, leaving the land unusable for
farming. The Great Plains that had once grown green crops became a desert, or the "Dust Bowl."
There are two main areas of conservation science: soil conservation and range management. Soil
conservationists focus on stopping the loss of topsoil from farm crops. Range managers specialize in
protecting the lands and vegetation that feeds animals. Both work to maintain soil, but each focuses on a
different area. The goal of both soil conservationists and range managers is to use land and water
sustainably, without damaging it.
Despite their different focus, these two types of conservation scientists have similar tasks. They plan
and develop methods for using land. They start by studying how land is currently being used and the
problems caused by those methods. Next, conservation scientists investigate ways to use land without
harming it. For example, range managers study how plants recover from being stepped on and eaten by
animals. They may also find ways to rehabilitate land after clear cutting, fires, or floods.
Conservation scientists use computers to collect, interpret, and share information. They may enter
information in databases and websites for others to read on the Internet. They use software such as
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to take information and display it on computerized maps. These
maps help conservation scientists study the land. Maps help them check water and air quality, find
underground water sources, or check the health of forests and grasslands.
Once they analyze their findings, conservation scientists develop plans for improving, using, and
maintaining land. While they do this, conservation scientists consider how to maximize the use of the
land and water for cities, farmers, ranchers, and animals. They also must consider land use and
environmental protection laws. Part of developing plans requires estimating the cost and amount of time
it will take to improve and maintain land. Scientists often write reports about plans. Occasionally they
testify at hearings when disagreements arise with property owners.
Once a plan is finalized, conservation scientists put it into action. This involves talking to the people the
plan affects, such as farmers, ranchers, and mining companies. Scientists may oversee the planting of
trees and other vegetation. Soil conservationists may also suggest different crops for farmers to grow or
different methods for plowing. Range managers may limit how many animals can forage a certain area.
Once a plan is started, scientists monitor projects to make sure land owners follow plans. They
occasionally visit land owners and inspect their land-use practices.
Range managers and soil conservationists have duties that are specific to their specialty. Range
managers determine the best grazing seasons for animals. They use their knowledge to decide which
plants are best for various regions and grazing purposes. They also control toxic plants that can sicken
or kill grazing animals. In addition, range managers protect rangeland from fire and rodent damage.
They plan and oversee construction of fences, corrals, watering reservoirs, and soil-erosion barriers.
They may also manage recreation areas that are part of rangelands. Range managers are also called
range scientists, range ecologists, or range conservationists.
Soil conservationists determine the best ways to use land and water for farming. They perform many
tests to make sure the land is healthy. They calculate the most efficient ways to irrigate crops in
different areas and to decrease the loss of topsoil. They also help land users to control weeds and insects
using few or no chemicals.
For conservation scientists, preserving soil and water is a large issue. Farms, forests and animals need
water, but our growing population needs more water than ever before. Farmers need more water to
grow crops for people. Conservation scientists find water sources, study how pollution enters rivers and
lakes, test how fast water evaporates from farms, and time how fast topsoil erodes. Their decisions have
an impact on cities as well as farms and rangeland.
Conservation scientists survey property. They may work with communities to plan gardens in a way
that protects soil and conserves water. Soil conservationists do similar work to agricultural scientists.
Carry out environmental studies. Define problems or study plants and animals in the field.
Develop good working relationships with other government staff and board members.
Study and investigate ways to use land without harming it.
Study water use of cities, farms and wild animals. Study river flows, water loss and crop irrigation.
Plan and develop land use practices.
Plan restoration of damaged or eroded farm soil and range land.
Compute costs for various solutions.
Use geographic information systems (GIS) to define and solve problems.
Maintain information in computer databases for others to read on the Internet.
Inspect sites and talk with owners.
Manage plans for forest, soil, and water conservation.
Work with owners to make sure they follow conservation plans and land-use protection laws.
Manage weeds and pests.
Teach land owners about keeping tree buffers along streams, rotating crops, and conserving soil with new
Write reports and testify in hearings when disagreements arise.
Compute how many animals can forage in an area of rangeland.
Determine grazing seasons and appropriate methods for replanting or reseeding.
Plan and oversee construction of fences, corrals, water reservoirs, and soil erosion barriers.
Protect rangeland from fire and rodent damage.
Work with communities to plan gardens and permanent vegetation.
Farmers and Farm Managers
Farmers and farm managers raise crops and livestock for market.
Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, was considered by many to be a man of the
people. He was especially supportive of farmers, and considered himself one. (More accurately, he was
a "gentleman farmer," which is someone who does farming on the side while also pursuing a career in
another field.) Five thousand acres of his Monticello estate were dedicated to agriculture, and he grew
over 250 varieties of vegetables alone, in addition to growing fruit and an abundance of flowers. Rumor
has it that Jefferson was especially fond of sweet peas.
Farms and ranches come in many sizes. Farmers' duties vary by the size of the farm. On small ones,
farmers do most of the work themselves. Workers on these small farms may include the farmer and one
or two family members or hired employees. On large farms, farmers hire employees to help with the
physical work. The largest ones may have 100 or more full-time and seasonal workers.
Owners of very large farms may hire farm managers. These workers may oversee most activities or
focus on a single activity, such as harvesting. Farm managers supervise and direct farm and ranch
workers. Some owners who do not live or work on their farms hire farm managers to oversee the farm
for them. In these cases, managers set goals for what the farm produces. They also find the best way to
market and sell their products to bring in the most money for the farm.
Duties vary by the type of farm. Crop farmers plan, plant, cultivate, spray, and harvest. They analyze
their soil and fertilize it so that it produces better plants. They store, load, transport, and market their
crops. They also set up, inspect, and maintain farm equipment. On livestock, dairy, and poultry farms,
farmers plan, feed, and care for animals. They recycle by-products from the harvest or from animal
stock. They also may oversee breeding. Modern farmers raise many different kinds of stock. For
example, farmers may raise earthworms, shellfish, or bees. All farmers keep buildings and equipment
clean and repaired.
Farmers and farm managers make many managerial decisions. They decide which crops to plant or
animals to raise. They must think about weather predictions, disease outbreaks that could make their
plants or animals sick, farm product prices, and federal farm programs. Farmers adjust irrigation
systems to use water efficiently. They must decide when to plant, what to grow, and what type of
equipment and supplies to purchase.
Farmers and farm managers look for new ways to improve their yield for less money. For example, they
may use a new planting technique that increases their output because it reduces damage from bugs. This
includes using organic pest control methods to reduce the use of chemicals. To start new ventures,
farmers and farm managers negotiate and secure loans from banks. They must keep good records of
their costs and their production. They also must understand federal and state regulations that apply to
farming and to selling products.
Decide the kind and amount of crops or livestock to be raised. Use information about market, weather, and farm
size to make decisions.
Select and purchase supplies and equipment, such as tractors, seed, or fertilizer.
Set up and operate farm machines for planting, maintaining, or harvesting crops.
Breed and raise stock such as honeybees, fish, or poultry. Recycle unused products created by stock.
Plan and manage planting and harvesting of crops. Recycle crop waste after the harvest.
Collect data on the growing environment, such as by testing soil. Apply the information to use less water in
irrigating the crops.
Identify and use new ways to grow, harvest, or sell products. This includes using chemical free methods to control
weeds and pests.
Package and transport crops.
Arrange with buyers for sale and shipment of products.
Inspect and maintain equipment.
Assemble or install farm structures or equipment.
Hire, train, and direct farm workers.
Negotiate with bankers to obtain credit.
Maintain financial and production records.
Precision Agriculture Technicians
Precision agriculture technicians use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning
System (GPS) to improve agricultural practices. They use data to make precise decisions about
watering, planting, and pesticide application.
The history of agriculture dates back about 10,000 years. In fact, it is the foundation for human
civilization. Agriculture is far more efficient than hunting and gathering wild food. By growing enough
food to feed more than one family, agriculture allowed cities to grow. Because the population of the
world is growing, we need to find ways to grow more food to ensure food security.
Precision agriculture technicians make farming more efficient. They use technology such as GPS and
GIS to make decisions about how to manage crops. This way, farmers and agricultural engineers can
work to make sure that crops grow in abundance for years to come.
Technicians rely heavily on data and mapping from GPS and GIS systems. These kinds of maps
typically don’t tell direction, but give information. Examples include where pests are or what areas need
water. These kinds of maps can also give information about soil type, helping farmers decide on the
best kinds of fertilizers to use, the types of weeds in fields, and what kinds of crops to plant.
Technicians advise farmers on crop selection. For example, if planting corn would be better for the soil
than growing cotton. Their data can help farmers reduce the amount of chemicals they use. Using fewer
chemicals helps farmers save money. Technicians also improve weed identification and automatic
spraying systems. Combined with these and other green farming practices, precision agriculture lowers
our impact on the land.
Precision agriculture technicians must know about agriculture and GIS and GPS systems. Also, they
need to know soil and crop science. To find and test data, they use sophisticated computer software.
They must also be knowledgeable about changes in farming laws and how they impact the environment.
Collect data on soil and fields, crop yields, or field boundaries. Use field data recorders and basic geographic
information systems (GIS).
Create and read maps showing agricultural data such as crop yields, soil type, terrain, drainage patterns, and
field management history.
Document and maintain records of precision agriculture information.
Find and test data to check soil quality, terrain, field productivity, fertilizers, and weather. Use data to reduce
overuse of chemicals.
Divide agricultural fields into zones based on soil and crop growth potential.
Use geospatial technology (GIS) to find soil sampling sites. Use these to test soils for the levels of the different
nutrients that crops need to grow.
Compare crop yield maps with maps of soil tests, chemical use, or other data to create crop management plans.
Use knowledge of the law and environmental impacts when giving advice to farmers.
Draw and read maps that show soil types, terrain, and property lines.
Analyze data to give farmers advice on the best crop varieties for specific areas. Advise farmers on the best ways
to use GIS and other precision farming technology.
Recycling and Reclamation Workers (Emerging)
Recycling and reclamation workers prepare and sort materials for recycling.
Have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It is a huge area of floating litter in the Pacific
Ocean. It is mostly made of very small pieces of plastic. Experts estimate that the patch is larger than
Texas! Recycling and reclamation workers help prevent more materials from ending up in landfills and
Recycling workers and reclamation workers have related, but different jobs. Recycling workers sort and
process materials such as glass, plastic, and paper. They generally work with items that are made of just
one material, like glass bottles. Reclamation workers process items made of many materials, such as
cars and refrigerators. They reduce the items to their basic parts--plastic, copper, steel, glass, and so on.
Some recycling workers gather items for recycling. They drive recycling collection trucks and pick up
materials from curbsides. They place items in the proper bins in the trucks. In areas with commingled
recycling, workers do not have to sort the items. Other recycling workers collect materials at buy-back
and drop-off centers. They direct customers to unloading areas and help them unload and sort materials.
The sorted materials are sent to processing centers. Workers may clean the unloading area and move
At processing centers, recycling workers sort materials such as concrete, glass, paper, drywall, plastics,
metal, and wood. They clean the materials, if needed. At some facilities, workers sort items by hand.
They place the sorted materials in containers or drop them down chutes. At other facilities, workers
operate machines that sort items. For example, they use magnets to pull out specific metals. Some
facilities sort recyclable materials from garbage. At these facilities, workers use machines or manually
remove recyclable materials from the waste. These machines need regular cleaning and repair.
Reclamation workers work at salvage yards and recycling plants. They use special machinery to extract
chemicals from air conditioners and refrigerators. After the chemicals are removed, they use tools such
as blow torches and saws to cut up appliances and cars. They may feed appliances into a shredder to
reclaim steel or other metals.
E-waste includes computers and other electronics. These contain metals such as chromium and lead.
Workers remove these materials and sort them with other high grade metals like copper, brass and
aluminum. They label and sort parts and place them into containers.
Reclamation workers keep records of the recycled materials and waste chemicals they remove from
products. They also follow strict rules when disposing hazardous wastes.
After recyclable materials are sorted and cleaned, workers process them for transport. They use grinders
and chippers to break down the materials. Then they compress materials into bundles or bales. Workers
also use forklifts and pallet jacks to load bundles and bales onto trucks for shipping.
The recycling equipment and trucks require maintenance. Workers keep records of the maintenance
they perform on their heavy machines and trucks. They also keep records of the materials they receive,
process, and ship.
Trash collectors collect garbage and transport it to dumps or landfills.
Each year, Americans throw away over 400 million tons of waste. Researchers estimate that each
person in the U.S. throws away about 4.5 pounds of garbage each day. At the same time, Americans are
getting better and better at recycling. This means less waste in landfills, which reduces harmful gases
released into the air. Regardless of the size (and contents) of your trash can and recycle bins, nobody
wants to hold on to their garbage and old cereal boxes for long. That's where trash collectors come in.
Trash collectors drive a regularly scheduled route for picking up materials. They gather trash and
recyclables from homes, schools, and businesses. Trash collectors lift and empty small garbage cans by
hand. They operate lifts to pick up and empty dumpsters and heavy cans. They unload these materials
at dumps. Some trash collectors work alone and drive the truck as well as pick up garbage.
Some collectors pick up recyclable materials, such as glass bottles and newspapers. They sort these
items and put them in the proper bins on the trucks. They transport these materials to processing
centers. They make special pickups of certain recyclable items. These include computers, containers of
used oil, and old paint.
Inspect trucks before operating to ensure safety.
Refuel trucks and check fluids, such as oil.
Transport garbage to dump and recyclables to processing centers.
Drive trucks along specific routes.
Fill out reports when maintenance is needed.
Control hydraulic truck lifts to pick up heavy containers of trash.
Lift and empty garbage cans and recycling bins by hand.
Communicate with dispatchers.
Keep informed of road and weather conditions.
Tag garbage or recycling containers to inform customers of problems.
Sort items set out for recycling.
Clean trucks after routes.
Organize schedules for garbage collection.
Provide quotes for garbage collection contracts.
Make special pickups of recyclable materials like electronics or used oil.
Architects plan and design all types of buildings and structures.
Perhaps out of all the structures architects design, people are most fascinated by skyscrapers. Architects
compete to create the tallest building in the world. At some point, the Empire State Building, the Sears
Tower, and the Petronas Towers have all had the title. Currently, the Burj Khalifa (which means
"Tower" in Arabic) in the United Arab Emirates is the tallest. It stands 2,717 feet tall. That's 1,234 feet
taller than the Petronas Towers, the next tallest building!
Architects design many kinds of structures. Projects may include houses, schools, hospitals, or bridges.
Architects also design airports and college campuses that contain many different buildings. Architects
may specialize in one type of building or in one phase of work. For example, some may design only
houses while others work on large projects such as skyscrapers or hospitals. Some architects update
older buildings with rainwater catch systems, green roofs, or natural lighting.
Architects take part in every phase of a building project. They help to create the first designs and stay
involved until the construction is complete. They work with many other people during this process,
including the client, engineers, and general contractors.
Before beginning work on a new building design, architects meet with each client. They find out the
clients' needs and their ideas for the design. Using this information, architects prepare a report. This
report includes initial drawings and estimated costs for the project. It gives estimates of the
environmental impact of the project. This includes the energy and water use of the building. The report
also estimates the time needed to complete the project. With the client's approval, architects draw or use
computers to develop detailed plans. These plans include scaled drawings and models showing the
completed building. Architects work with drafters and engineers to complete these detailed plans. At
all phases of the design process, architects must be sure the plans are within the budget approved by the
The detailed plans show how different systems fit into the building. This includes heating, plumbing,
and ventilation. They follow building codes, zoning laws, and fire regulations. Many new designs
around the world meet environmental building standards. One such standard is Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design (LEED). Throughout the planning and building stage, architects must make
necessary adjustments and changes to plans when problems arise.
Another task involves helping clients select building sites. They decide if building on a site is safe or if
it will damage the environment. Some architects supervise the construction process. They help clients
get bids from building contractors and prepare contract documents. They also visit construction sites to
ensure builders follow the plans correctly. At the end of construction, architects make sure buildings
follow regulations for pollution and safety. Sometimes architects prepare a manual that outlines
maintenance and repair procedures for the building.
Architects use computers for many different tasks. They use computer-aided drafting and design
programs (CADD) to create designs and make drawings. They use computers to help with cost
estimating, scheduling, energy efficiency, and building models. They also use computers to keep
Entry-level workers, called intern-architects, have different job duties. They draw or use computers to
complete construction drawings. They also do research on zoning regulations, environmental impacts,
and other topics. Sometimes they help to design one part of a project or manage small projects.
Prepare reports that include materials, equipment, estimated costs, environmental impact, energy efficiency, and
Discuss with clients the needs and budgets for buildings.
Create designs that meet safety and environmental regulations.
Use new design rules to decrease the environmental impact of new buildings.
Calculate energy use of building designs.
Design systems for buildings to use less water and energy. These include rainwater collection systems and green
Work with engineers, drafters, and others to prepare final detailed construction drawings and models.
Draw or use computers to prepare layout plans for clients' approval.
Help select sites for buildings and determine space requirements.
Test building designs for the impact of construction on the natural environment.
Prepare contract documents for building contractors.
Visit building sites to ensure that contractors follow the building plans.
Help clients get bids from building contractors.
Review manuals for operating and maintenance of buildings.
Construction managers schedule and coordinate the work on construction projects.
According to a website dedicated to the art of juggling, the world record for juggling is 12 balls with 12
catches. In other words, someone out there managed to successfully juggle 12 balls at once.
So what does this have to do with construction managers? Plenty! Most managers have to juggle
several things at once. They must deal with weather, workers, architects, and new green building
standards. They have to communicate with inspectors, insurers, and sometimes loan officers. In
addition, they have to deal with subcontractors. These include the electrician, plumber, and painter. Not
to mention the graders, pavers, and drywall installers. Hey, that is already twelve different elements to
deal with. And unlike the juggler, the construction manager juggles all these things every workday.
Construction managers are in charge of construction projects, such as buildings, roads, or bridges. They
receive the plans for a project and must figure out how to build it. Using pre-building tests, they show
the long-term costs of construction including energy use and impact to the environment. They consider
various construction methods and decide which one is best for the job. They may work to meet green
building standards like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
Construction managers plan all activities for projects. They create budgets to compare the costs of non-
green to green construction methods. They plan how long each step of the project will take and when
each team of workers will be needed. They use green building strategies to reduce environmental
impacts. Construction managers create safety programs to make sure workers follow safety rules. On
big jobs, managers use computers to plan the construction. They arrange for trade contractors to
complete specific pieces of the project, such as plumbing or painting.
To build the project, construction managers must hire employees. To receive higher green building
ratings, they train workers to use green building skills. They may hire workers with LEED certifications
to make sure construction meets these standards.
Construction managers check on the progress of construction activities. They make sure materials arrive
on time and are what was ordered. They monitor the quality of the work, worker safety. Managers take
responsibility for making sure they have all the necessary permits. They ensure projects meet standards
for safety, construction, and green certification. They track and control construction costs in order to
avoid overspending. They prepare reports about progress on the project. These reports might be daily
or weekly, depending on the project. Construction managers meet on a regular basis with owners,
contractors, and architects to monitor the project.
Meet with owners, contractors, and architects to monitor projects and solve problems.
Obtain all necessary permits and licenses.
Examine various construction methods and determine the best method for the job.
Perform a pre-building check for energy efficiency and other long- term issues.
Use green building methods to reduce environmental impact.
Select contractors to complete specific pieces of the project.
Create construction budgets that compare non-green building with green building. Compare short-term costs with
long-term costs and environmental impact.
Prepare a schedule of construction activities that meets budget and deadline requirements.
Review engineering and architectural drawings to monitor progress.
Track and control construction costs to avoid excess spending.
Use computer software for job costing, scheduling, and estimating.
Track delivery of materials and how fast they are used. Order new materials when needed.
Supervise the hiring and firing of workers.
Train workers to use green building methods.
Hire workers with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certificates to improve LEED ratings for
Make sure all work meets standards.
Prepare progress reports.
Monitor the quality of work and worker safety.
Inspect work to make sure projects follow environmental rules.
Create plans to make sure projects follow building, safety and environmental regulations.
Energy auditors evaluate energy use patterns. They look at both home and commercial buildings, and
recommend ways buildings can use less energy.
To complete a puzzle, you fit pieces together to create a bigger picture. That's similar to what an energy
auditor does. For an energy auditor, the bigger picture is the total energy use in a building, and the
pieces are the individual systems that use energy like the lights, heat and air conditioning. Auditors
make assessments and offer suggestions for saving energy.
Energy auditors first appeared in the 1970s because of the energy crisis. The high cost of energy forced
people to be more aware of their energy use. Now, as energy prices rise again, people are paying more
attention to their energy use. This increases the demand for energy auditors.
Energy auditors perform many types of audits. Some are small audits of homes and offices, while others
are large, such as those of schools or industrial complexes. The amount of detail on the audit also
varies. Some are in-depth and take more time and expertise, while others are quick, walk-through
Home energy auditors start by looking at the outside characteristics of a home, such as its size, the
number of windows and doors, if there are skylights, and the type of siding or exterior. Next, they look
at the patterns of the people who live there. They ask questions, such as, "Are the people there during
the day?" "Is there a room that never gets used?" "What source of heat is used during the winter?"
Then, the auditor does a room-by-room analysis. They use the same process when inspecting a non-
residential building. In this case they look for patterns such as how many people work in the building
and what hours it is unoccupied. They look for ways to reduce electricity use during peak demand.
Energy auditors need to be familiar with the different types of tests they conduct during the audit, such
as the blower door test and a thermographic scan. Energy auditors also analyze the client's utility bills
(water and electricity) for the previous year. After the audit, auditors write a report that describes the
customer's energy use patterns and offers suggestions for ways to use less energy.
Energy auditors use software to develop recommendations for improvements. Once a project is
complete, the auditor checks that the work meets safety and design standards. They make sure the new
equipment, like water heaters, windows, and insulation, matches the designs. The government and
utility companies provide money for people to weatherize their houses. Auditors make sure people
qualify for these programs.
Find ways to save electricity by installing systems to lower power use during peak demand and other equipment.
Prepare reports of energy analysis results and recommendations for energy cost savings.
Collect and analyze data related to energy use.
Inspect and evaluate building exteriors, mechanical systems, and electrical wiring to determine how much energy
Perform tests to locate air leaks.
Educate customers on energy efficiency. Answer questions related to household energy use.
Calculate potential energy use savings, using knowledge of engineering, construction, and energy use.
Prepare information on home energy improvements, such as attic insulation, new or improved windows, and
upgrades to heating systems. Check improvement projects for health or safety hazards.
Check the income of people using public programs to improve energy use.
Recommend alternative energy sources, where applicable.
Check the effect of improvement projects on electricity use.
Analyze energy bills to gather historical data.
Use measuring devices such as data loggers, light meters, wattmeters, and thermometers.
Inspect and test new equipment installation. This includes water heaters, insulation, and windows.
General Construction Workers
General construction workers carry out semi-skilled tasks in many areas of construction.
Construction requires a variety of materials. Wood and steel are two of the most common. But what
about earth? As in, topsoil and sod? Yes. Construction uses these materials too. Some homes are
literally dug into the earth and covered with sod. This helps insulate the house and provides protection
from harsh weather. Other less common building materials include recycled tires and even straw bales.
No matter the material, however, someone must build the house, office, or skyscraper. This is the work
of general construction workers.
The tasks of general construction workers vary according to the type of construction they do. Most
perform physically demanding tasks. For example, they load and unload materials from trucks. They
haul or hoist them into place at job sites. Using building plans, workers measure and mark the location
of structures on the site. They outline areas that need to be graded or leveled. They dig ditches with
picks and shovels, and level the ground to match the specifications in the blueprints. They also build
forms for pouring concrete walls or foundations. They take apart the forms after the concrete has set.
They apply weather stripping and insulation after a building is framed.
Different types of construction require different skills. Job sites vary from single story homes to 300-
foot tall wind turbines. Many general construction workers work with concrete, plaster, or stucco. First
they mix up the compounds. Then they tend the machines that pump concrete and other compounds
through spray guns. For example, plaster workers mix plaster and then spray it evenly over walls and
ceilings. Concrete workers pour concrete and then smooth it with a trowel or other finishing tool.
Finally, workers spray materials such as water, sand, vinyl, or paint to clean or seal surfaces.
General construction workers perform a variety of tasks. For example, they erect and take apart
scaffolding, braces, and other temporary structures. They help tear down buildings and salvage usable
materials. They may use green-certified building techniques. Workers follow waste management plans.
They may also put in erosion control barriers. They also clean, oil, and repair the tools and equipment
they use. They may set explosives for tunnel, shaft, and road construction.
Safety is a big concern for construction projects. General construction workers do their part by cleaning
and preparing work areas, removing all possible hazards.
Clean and prepare construction sites. Remove potential hazards.
Read and interpret plans and instructions to determine activities.
Load and unload trucks and haul materials.
Measure and mark areas to be graded or to erect structures.
Dig ditches and level earth to grade specifications.
Build and position forms for pouring concrete and take apart forms after use.
Mix concrete and other compounds.
Tend machines that pump concrete, grout, sand, plaster, or stucco through spray-gun.
Smooth and finish poured concrete.
Spray materials such as water, sand, vinyl, or paint to clean, coat, or seal surfaces.
Erect and disassemble scaffolding, braces, and other temporary structures.
Use green certified building methods. Reuse materials, produce less waste, and control erosion. May raze
buildings or salvage useful parts.
Lubricate, clean, and repair machinery and tools.
Control traffic around work zones.
Assist carpenters, plasterers, masons, and other craft workers.
Weatherize buildings by fixing windows, adding insulation to attics, and weather stripping doors.
May set explosives for tunnel, shaft, and road construction.
Hazardous Material Workers
Hazardous materials workers remove and dispose of harmful materials.
Humans have discovered uses for, and created many, useful materials. However, when used or disposed
of improperly, "useful" can quickly become "harmful." For example, oil can be incredibly destructive if
spilled in the natural environment. Lead paint was used for years, but can easily harm people if the
particles are breathed or swallowed. Other dangerous items include a variety of chemicals and even fine
volcanic ash. Hazardous material (HAZMAT) workers remove these items so that they do not harm
people or the environment.
The duties of HAZMAT workers depend on the type of materials they work with. Those who remove
lead paint apply chemicals to the paint on buildings. Then they scrape off the paint and store it in
special bags. HAZMAT workers who remove asbestos use tools to scrape or vacuum asbestos from
buildings. Others specialize in removing moldy materials like wood or carpet. Others use waste-eating
bacteria to dispose of certain chemicals. Some remove hazardous materials from old computers. In
many cases, HAZMAT workers obtain specialized training to remove specific materials, and as a result,
their job titles may be different. For example, lead abatement workers remove lead paint. They must
follow safety standards for working with waste. All workers sort materials for recycling from waste.
There are three levels of HAZMAT workers who remove radioactive materials. The lowest level is
decontamination technicians. These workers use brooms, mops, and other tools to clean contaminated
areas. They also remove items that can be cleaned or must be disposed of. Radiation protection
technicians are the next level up. These workers use radiation survey meters to locate and evaluate
contaminated materials. They use high-pressure cleaning equipment to wash areas, and also package
materials for disposal. Decommissioning and decontamination (D&D) workers remove radioactive
materials from nuclear facilities and power plants. These workers sometimes build concrete storage
boxes. They set up the forms and mix and pour the concrete. They also transfer materials from the site
to these cement boxes and other storage containers.
Few hazardous materials are stored at the sites where they were created. Thus, treatment, storage, and
disposal (TSD) workers transport materials to treatment and disposal sites. They drive trucks and
operate cranes and forklifts to move materials. They may build scaffolding or containment areas to
reach and store materials. They also organize materials at disposal sites and correctly label all items.
All HAZMAT workers wear protective gear, but the level of safety gear varies with the job. Those who
need the most protection wear full body suits and respirators. Other workers wear less gear, but most
wear some type of respirator that filters the air they breathe.
Because removing hazardous materials is dangerous, workers must work together as a team. They must
follow rules and check on each other's progress. They must also be able to act quickly and follow the
chain of command. In addition, some hazardous material workers respond to emergencies where clean-
up is just part of their duties. They respond to accidents, spills, and releases.
Identify, contain, remove, and dispose of hazardous materials. These include mold, radioactive waste, e-waste,
lead, and others. Sort out recycling from waste.
Use tools to decontaminate work sites. These include waste-eating bacteria, forklifts, cranes, vacuums, or sand
blasters. Drive trucks and trams.
Check monitors to determine levels of radiation.
Set up barriers and equipment in areas before decontamination begins.
Package waste materials into safe containers for transport or storage.
Set up forms and pour concrete to create cement storage boxes.
Transport waste to storage locations. Sort waste at disposal sites.
Record container numbers and where they are stored at disposal sites.
Respond to hazardous waste emergencies. Clean area and equipment used in removal.
Follow safety procedures and federal laws and work as a team.
Heating and Cooling System Mechanics
Heating and cooling system mechanics install and repair heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration
The debate about global warming rages on. Is this century going to be the warmest one in the past
thousand years? Why was the summer of 2003 so hot while the summer of 2004 so cool? If weather is
indeed more extreme, is it due to natural or manmade causes? A combination of both?
No matter what scientists eventually prove, nothing changes the fact that sometimes you need to heat the
air and sometimes you need to cool it. When the temperature goes below freezing, it's a big emergency
if the furnace breaks down. And when the red hits the 95 degree mark, it's a downright disaster if the
AC doesn't work!
Heating system mechanics install oil, gas, electric, and other systems. They may install dehumidifiers,
heat pumps, air filters, or ventilators. They read blueprints and manufacturers’ directions. They cut or
drill holes in floors, walls, and roofs for air ducts. In large buildings, they install controls to control
temperature in smaller areas. Mechanics may also assemble the ductwork. Next, they install fuel and
water lines, pumps, ducts, and vents. Then they connect the electrical wiring and controls. Finally, they
check the unit for proper operation.
Heating system mechanics also maintain and repair these systems. They may install new controls to
reduce energy use. Also, burners and blowers need regular service. They clean and oil parts, replace
filters, and clean vents and ducts that have collected dust. If the system is not operating properly,
mechanics check thermostats, nozzles, and controls to diagnose the problem.
Cooling system mechanics install air-conditioning and refrigeration units. To set up these systems,
mechanics install motors, compressors, piping, and many other components. Then they connect the
equipment to the ductwork and refrigerant lines. The ductwork often is the same used for heating
systems. Mechanics connect the equipment to the electrical source. Finally, they charge the system
with refrigerant and check its operation. They also set or program the controls.
When cooling systems break down, mechanics diagnose the problem and make repairs. To do this, they
test parts such as compressors, relays, and thermostats. They also talk to owners and users to get
descriptions of what is happening. When mechanics service equipment, they must use care. The release
of refrigerants damages the Earth’s atmosphere and there are many laws and regulations about this.
Mechanics must conserve the refrigerant by plugging any leaks in the system. If they take out the old
refrigerant, mechanics must contain it. They replace it with new non-toxic refrigerant.
Heating and cooling system mechanics use a variety of tools. They use hand and power tools, pipe
cutters and benders, and torches. They use these tools when working with lines and air ducts. They
often have to cut and drill holes in floors, walls, and roofs to install ducts and pipes. They also use
voltmeters, pressure gauges, and other testing devices. With these they check airflow, electrical circuits,
burners, and other components. In addition, mechanics keep records of the repairs and replacements
Some mechanics work in pairs or teams. They may assist another mechanic or work as a supervisor.
Read blueprints, specifications, and manufacturers’ instructions.
Talk with owners to find out about problems and discuss recommended changes.
Install systems to heat, cool, filter, purify, or dry out the air in homes or businesses.
Install fuel and supply lines and pumps.
Cut or drill holes, fabricate ductwork, and install ducts.
Connect wiring and controls and check system operation.
Service and adjust burners and blowers during routine service. Clean and oil parts. Replace filters and clean
vents and ducts.
Check thermostats, nozzles, and controls when system does not work properly. Replace older controls with new
controls to use less electricity.
Install heat pump, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment.
Install motors, compressors, condensing units, evaporators, piping, and other components.
Connect equipment to ductwork, refrigerant lines, and electrical power sources.
Charge system with refrigerant and check for proper operation.
Install or program controls to provide more control over smaller areas in large buildings.
Diagnose problems by testing parts such as compressors, relays, and thermostats.
Inspect, test, repair, and maintain equipment.
Save, recover, and recycle refrigerants when working on older cooling system. Use non- toxic refrigerants.
Use a variety of hand and power tools, welding equipment, and meters and gauges.
Keep records of repairs and replacements.
Landscape architects design and plan outdoor areas for use and beauty.
When you think of city parks, Central Park in New York City may come to mind. At over 800 acres, it
is quite large and also quite beautiful. However, Central Park is not America's largest wilderness park.
Forest Park in Portland, Oregon holds the honor. Its 5,000 acres include 74 miles of trails for hiking,
biking, and horseback riding. It also is home to 100 bird species, plus many other animals to see and
enjoy. A park of this size has a lot to offer, from summer concerts to picnics to jogging. The people to
thank for parks like Forest Park and Central Park are landscape architects.
Landscape architects design outdoor areas. They decide what kind of plants, walkways, and other items
to include. They decide exactly where each item should be planted or built. Their overall goal is to
make sure public and private spaces are both beautiful and functional.
Landscape architects usually begin their projects by meeting with clients. They discuss how the land
will be used and how clients would like it to appear. They also consider the client’s budget. Next,
landscape architects observe the physical makeup of the site. For example, they analyze soil, water
flow, slope of the land, and sunlight at different times of day. They also observe roads and surrounding
buildings. For large projects, they may use a computer mapping program to show the layout of the land.
This type of program is called a Geographic Information System (GIS).
While preparing a design, landscape architects consider other factors. They consider local and federal
rules that protect the land. They make design decisions to conserve water and energy. They may consult
with environmental scientists about ways to restore natural resources. To decide what plants to use, they
check the annual rainfall and seasonal temperatures. In addition, they may talk to engineers or architects
about how to arrange roads or buildings.
Most landscape architects create their designs using Computer Aided Design (CAD). This is a program
that prints a detailed design from a computer drawing. Landscape architects meet often with clients to
present drafts of the plan and receive feedback. They revise the design considering all the factors
mentioned above. When the client is satisfied, the landscape architect prepares a final proposal. The
proposal includes detailed plans of the site, written reports, models or photographs, and a cost estimate.
Landscape architects submit this proposal to the client and government agencies.
When the plan is approved, landscape architects make working drawings that outline exactly how it will
be built. In addition, they draw up a list of materials needed for the job. More and more, these
designers use materials that have less impact on the natural environment. They may also supervise the
planting and construction of the site.
Some landscape architects work on many kinds of projects. Some specialize in designing landscapes for
private homes, waterfront projects, parks and playgrounds, or shopping centers. They create designs
that capture rainwater or grey water to use on plantings. Most do some work on private homes, but few
work only with homeowners because these jobs are very small. Some landscape architects work for
government agencies where they prepare site plans for public buildings, parks, or forests.
Meet with clients to discuss what they want.
Observe and gather information about the site. This includes lighting, water flow, rainfall, and surrounding
Create the design using different factors. These include the use of the area, nearby buildings, and energy
Consider local and federal rules to protect land.
Save water using systems that catch rainwater or grey water, plantings that withstand droughts, and other
Discuss project with architects, engineers, and environmental scientists. Combine the different parts of the project
to use less water and electricity.
Use Computer Aided Design (CAD) for many stages of design and drawing.
Use Geographic Information System (GIS) on larger jobs to gather information.
Present drafts to clients and get feedback.
Prepare final proposal, including cost estimate, site plans, and photographs or models.
Submit plans to government agencies for approval.
Detail the methods of construction and draw up a list of needed materials. Use materials that lower the impact of
work on the environment.
May supervise planting and construction.
Plumbers and Pipefitters
Plumbers and pipefitters install and repair pipe systems that carry water, steam, air, or other fluids or
It seems that each day brings a new medical breakthrough. New drugs and procedures are developed to
alleviate or perhaps even cure chronic illnesses and conditions once thought untreatable. Yet perhaps
nothing has been a bigger improvement to health than sanitation. Our modern system of plumbing -
based on the technology of ancient Romans - removes waste and treats water. At the same time, it
removes the chance for such diseases as cholera and typhoid to spread. Calling the plumber to fix a
leaking pipe isn't just about fixing a nuisance. It's also helping maintain public health.
Plumbers and pipefitters are considered a single trade. However, workers usually specialize in one area.
Plumbers install and repair water, waste, and gas systems in homes and commercial buildings.
Pipefitters install and repair pipe systems used in manufacturing. They also work on pipe systems that
provide heating and cooling for buildings. Others may fit pipe for geothermal power plants. Some
pipefitters specialize in one type of system. For example, they may specialize in hospital work, where
they install oxygen and gas lines. Or they may focus on more efficient systems, such as solar water
heating or grey water systems. Steamfitters install pipe systems that move liquids or gases under high
Though they work on different systems, all three types of plumbers have many tasks in common. First,
they study blueprints, drawings, and building codes. They also inspect buildings to determine what
materials to use. They select pipe sizes and types according to requirements. They also select other
materials, such as supports or hangers. Next, plumbers lay out the job. This means they try to fit piping
into the building with the least amount of waste. They measure and mark areas where pipes will be
installed. They also plan the layout of pipes around other systems, like electrical wires. Then, plumbers
cut holes in walls, ceilings, or floors where the pipes will go. For large pipe systems, such as those in
manufacturing, they may hang steel supports from ceiling joists.
The next step is to cut and bend the lengths of pipe, using saws, pipe cutters, and pipe-bending
machines. Plumbers then assemble the pipe system, using different methods. For plastic pipe, they use
glues to join pipe with fittings. For copper pipe, they slide fittings over the end of the pipe and solder
the fitting in place with a torch. For very precise jobs, they may use computer controlled welding
torches. Finally, plumbers install the pipe, fixtures, and appliances. They connect the system to water,
gas, or sewer lines. They also check the system with pressure gauges to be sure it is free from leaks and
Plumbers also repair and maintain plumbing. They replace defective fittings and broken pipes. They
open clogged drains. They also modify existing pipe systems and maintain related equipment.
Sometimes plumbers operate pump equipment to remove water from flooded areas, such as basements
or manholes. For large jobs, plumbers may direct other workers in cutting, assembling, and installing
Plumbers may calculate ways a home owner can save water. For example, they might check how much
water a new dishwasher might save compared to an older one. Or, plumbers may install water saving
devices like low flow shower heads. Plumbers also set up pipe systems to direct water to gardens using
recycled water from baths or showers. Others install solar water heaters or tankless water heaters.
Plumbers who operate their own business often provide quotes to customers. The government gives tax
refunds for installing equipment that saves water. Plumbers use these programs to help their customers
save money. They may also negotiate contracts. They keep records and reports of all the work they do.
Study blueprints, drawings, and building codes. Inspect structures to determine materials and layout. Give out
information on refund programs for saving water.
Select pipe sizes and types and related materials, such as supports, according to needs.
Lay out job to fit piping into structure of building with least amount of waste.
Measure and mark areas for pipe installation. Check for obstructions and plan layout around them.
Cut holes in walls, ceilings, and floors, or hang steel supports.
Cut and bend lengths of pipe. Use saws, pipe cutters, and pipe-bending machines.
Join pipe with fittings, using glues, solder, and computer assisted welding.
Install assembled pipe, fixtures, and appliances.
Connect system to water, sewer, or geothermal power systems.
Check water systems for proper fit, efficiency, and operation.
Repair and maintain plumbing. Replace defective fittings and broken pipes or open clogged drains. May also
modify pipe systems and maintain related equipment.
Operate motorized pump to remove water from flooded areas.
Direct other workers in pipe cutting, pre-assembly, and installation.
Perform home audits and cost calculations to show water or energy savings.
May prepare cost estimates for clients. Negotiate contracts.
Save water by building and installing solar hot water heaters, grey water systems, and low flow faucets.
May install oxygen and medical gas lines in hospitals.
Keep records of all work done.
Roofers apply shingles and other materials to the roofs of buildings.
In ancient cultures, the roof was seen as more than something to cover your head. It was also often
considered another meeting place for families to talk and even work. This is why many excavated
buildings have flat roofs, so people can walk and stand easily.
Modern roofs come in many shapes. The two main styles are flat or pitched. A roofer’s work depends
on the design, material, and location of the client’s roof.
If a roof is flat, roofers usually cover the roof with several layers. First they put down a layer of
insulation. Then, they spread a tar-like substance over the insulation. Next, roofers lay roofing felt and
spread hot tar over it. They repeat these steps, sealing the seams each time, to make layers. Roofers
either glaze the top layer or embed it with gravel. Some flat roofs are covered with only a single layer of
waterproof rubber or thermoplastic. In these cases, roofers roll the sheets over the roof's insulation and
seal the seams. They apply adhesives or mechanical fasteners to keep the sheets in place.
On pitched roofs, roofers lay, cut, and tack strips of roofing felt to the roof. Then, starting from the
bottom edge of the roof, they nail overlapping rows of shingles. They use chalk lines, the gauges on
shingling hatchets, or lines on shingles to make sure the distance of overlap is correct. Roofers measure
and cut felt and shingles to fit around vents, chimneys, and corners. They nail strips of metal or shingle
over spots where shingles meet an object, such as a vent. Finally, roofers cover exposed nail heads with
roofing cement or caulking to prevent water leakage. When using materials such as tile, terra cotta, or
slate, roofers use punches and hammers or mortar to place the shingles.
Some roofers work on both flat and pitched roofs, while other roofers specialize in one type. In addition
to repairing roofs, some roofers also waterproof concrete walls and floors. They start by removing any
rough spots from the area to be waterproofed. They may do this by using a hammer and chisel or by
rubbing the area with a rubbing brick. Next, roofers apply the waterproofing compound. The
compound may be painted, sprayed, or tacked on.
Before beginning any roofing jobs, roofers remove debris from the surfaces to be covered. For some
roofs, roofers remove old shingles. In addition to their roofing duties, they clean and maintain their
Roofers also install new technology that helps save energy for heating and cooling. They help cool
homes by installing reflective coatings on roofs and solar powered attic ventilation fans. They may also
install skylights, green roof systems and solar panels. Some newer solar power panels are actually part
of roof shingles or tiles.
Remove snow, water, or debris from roof before applying new roof.
Cut roofing paper to size. Nail or staple paper to roof in overlapping strips to form base for roofing materials.
Mop or pour hot asphalt or tar onto roof to hold layers of roofing material.
Apply layers of hot asphalt or tar and roofing paper until roof covering is complete.
Decide distance of overlap using chalk lines, gauges on shingling hatchets, or lines on shingles.
Align roofing material with edge of roof.
Cut strips of metal or shingles and fit them into angles formed by walls, vents, and intersecting roof surfaces.
Fasten composition shingles or sheets to roof with asphalt, cement, or nails. Install solar power shingles, tiles, or
Apply gravel or pebbles over top layer, using rake or stiff-bristled broom.
Punch holes in slate, tile, terra cotta, or wooden shingles, using punch and hammer.
Cover nail heads with cement or caulk to prevent leaks.
Apply waterproofing materials by painting or spraying. Install vapor barriers and insulation.
Attach solar power systems to roofs.
Install energy saving fixtures likes solar-powered attic vent fans, skylights and green roof systems.
Clean and maintain tools and equipment.
Sheet Metal Workers
Sheet metal workers make and install metal building parts and products.
Technically speaking, sheet metal is any metal worked into a thickness of 3/16 of an inch or less. The
types of metals are numerous, although the most common are aluminum and steel. An unusual example
is the sheets of titanium that workers used to cover the outside of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao,
Sheet metal workers build products used in construction. They make and install many types of duct
systems. They build roofs, siding, rain gutters, restaurant equipment, and other products made from
metal sheets. They may also work with fiberglass or plastic materials. Some sheet metal workers
specialize in fabrication, installation, or maintenance, but most do all three jobs.
Sheet metal workers usually fabricate their products at a shop away from the construction site. They
first study plans to determine the kind and quantity of materials they will need. Then they measure, cut,
bend, shape, and fasten pieces of metal to make duct work, counter tops, and other custom products. In
an increasing number of shops, workers use computerized equipment. This allows them to try out
different layouts to find the most efficient design for products. They cut or form parts with computer-
controlled saws, lasers, shears, and presses.
In shops without computerized equipment, sheet metal workers use tapes, rulers, and other measuring
tools for layout work. They then use machine tools to cut or stamp the parts.
Before assembling the pieces, sheet metal workers check each part for accuracy. They may also finish
parts with hand, rotary, or squaring shears and backsaws. Next, workers fasten the seams and joints
together with welds, bolts, cement, rivets, solder, or sheet metal drive clips. Finally, they take the parts
to the construction site, where they further assemble the pieces as they install them. These workers
install ducts, pipes, and tubes by joining them end to end. Then they hang them with metal hangers
secured to a ceiling or wall. They also use shears, hammers, punches, and drills to make parts at the
work site, or to alter parts made in the shop.
Some jobs are done completely at the job site. For example, to install a metal roof, sheet metal workers
measure and cut the roofing panels. They secure the first panel in place, and then fasten the grooved
edge of the next panel into the grooved edge of the first. Next, they nail or weld the free edge of the
panel to the structure. This process is repeated for each panel. They also work at the job site to install
solar panels, cool walls, or wind turbines.
Some sheet metal workers specialize in maintaining existing cooling and ventilation, or HVAC, systems.
They inspect, test, adjust, and service these systems to use less energy. They may also do inspections to
make sure the HVAC systems meet green certification standards, such as LEED.
Study plans to decide the kind and quantity of materials they will need.
Measure, cut, bend, shape, and fasten pieces of metal to install solar panels, make duct work, cool roofs, and
other custom products.
May use computerized metalworking equipment to experiment with different layouts or to cut and form parts.
May use calculators, tapes, rulers, and other measuring devices for layout work. May use machine tools to cut or
Check parts for accuracy. Finish parts with hand, rotary, or squaring shears and hacksaws.
Fasten seams and joints together with welds, bolts, cement, rivets, solder, or sheet metal drive clips.
Take parts to construction site for further assembly and installation.
Use shears, hammers, punches, and drills to make or alter parts.
Join ducts and pipes end to end. Hang them with metal hangers secured to a ceiling or wall.
May fabricate and install some products, such as metal roofs or wind turbines, completely at the job site.
May inspect, test, balance, adjust, and service existing air-conditioning and ventilation systems to use less
May work with fiberglass or plastic materials.
May work according to LEED standards.
Solar Panel Installers (Emerging)
Solar panel installers place solar panels in sunny places to gather the sun's power.
Did you know that enough sunlight reaches the surface of the earth every hour to supply energy to the
entire world for one year? Solar panel installers help capture this energy. They install solar modules on
the ground, on poles, on roofs, and even on the sides of buildings. These solar modules are made from
solar cells. The cells convert sunlight into electricity. Once a solar module is installed, it can create
energy for 25 years!
The most common type of solar module is the 3' x 5' flat solar panel. It is usually mounted on top of a
roof. Before adding the panels to a roof, installers make sure that there is enough room and that the roof
can hold the extra weight. If the roof isn't strong enough, installers reinforce it.
Once the roof is ready, installers bolt structural framing, or racking, to the roof. They attach the solar
panels to the rack, connect them with wires and apply weather sealing to the racking. To make sure the
solar panels work correctly, they check the wiring on the panels and on the building itself.
Next, installers run the wires down to a basement, garage, or outside box. They hook the wires to an
inverter. This device turns the energy captured by the solar cells into electricity used by homes and
businesses. Installers program inverters to specific set points and modes. Some systems include a
battery that stores power for later use. Inverters must be wired to buildings by licensed electricians.
Because of this requirement, many installers are licensed electricians.
Next, the system is activated. Installers ensure the system responds to the controls and performs as
Lead installers may take responsibility for getting work permits and inspections. Lead installers decide
what materials and tools to bring to the worksite. They evaluate worksite conditions. They decide the
layout of the system to ensure it is safe, gets enough sun, and is easy to maintain. Some people want
their solar panels connected to the power grid or a backup generator. These may require special
subpanels or other equipment. The lead installer ensures that all parts of the system work well together.
They must label the parts correctly and document that the system meets all requirements.
Most residential installations take about three days to complete. Large commercial installations can take
several months. As a result, work schedules of solar panel installers can be similar to those of
construction workers. They may work long hours on some days followed by periods of no employment.
A solar installer's work depends on the sun in more ways than one. An installer's day often starts early
to avoid the worst of the heat. Wet weather can make installation dangerous. Workers must be
comfortable working at heights. Most commercial installations take place on flat roofs. Many
residential installations take place on roofs with steep slopes and on loose or fragile materials, such as
clay shingles. Installers often wear safety harnesses when working on these types of roofs.
Solar panel installers need mechanical skills. They use power tools and hand tools to construct
equipment. Knowledge of electrical circuits and basic math is helpful. Attention to detail and problem-
solving skills are important. They must read diagrams and instructions and follow them precisely.
Heavy lifting is also required at times. Solar panels typically weigh between 30 and 40 pounds.
Batteries can weigh even more. They may also keep records on system performance and maintenance.
As the use of solar power expands, the job tasks of solar panel installers change as well. Workers may
install active solar systems, like solar collectors. Some workers primarily install the panels. Those at
small companies may perform many duties such as maintenance, sales, planning, and wiring.
Experienced installers may become lead installers, inspectors, system designers, or sales representatives.
Weatherization Installers and Technicians (Emerging)
Weatherization installers and technicians weatherize homes to make them more energy efficient. They
repair windows and insulate ducts. They also perform heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning
Did you know that most homeowners would save a minimum of $400 per year if they made their homes
more energy efficient? Homeowners can easily perform tasks like closing up drafts and switching to
energy efficient light bulbs. However, the list of tasks needed to truly weatherize a home is surprisingly
long. So, many homeowners hire a professional.
Weatherization installers and technicians focus on making homes and buildings more energy efficient by
installing or changing existing features of the structure. To do this, the first task is to inspect the home.
This is more than a quick walk-through. The technician or installer thoroughly checks every door and
window for drafts and leaks and checks the attic and crawl space for insulation (and any damage to it).
Special tools are needed to determine airflow and where hot or cold air might be lost.
Once weatherization installers and technicians complete their inspections, they make recommendations
to clients. If rules or regulations have changed, technicians explain these changes to homeowners and
residents. They inform clients what should be replaced, installed, or changed. Technicians explain each
option, from installing new water heaters to using lower watt light bulbs. They also estimate the costs of
these changes for homeowners.
Weatherization installers and technicians have to understand both electrical and heating systems. These
workers must have good mechanical skills and be able to work with a variety of equipment. They use
special tools not only for testing, but to install or fix new doors, windows, air ducts, and insulation.
They also work with traditional materials, such as wood and drywall, windows and caulk. They install
insulation in attics and other hard to reach spaces. Also, to reduce energy loss, they place thermal
blankets on water heaters and wrap pipes and ductwork to seal leaks.
Weatherization installers and techs schedule appointments and maintain work and billing records. They
also must clean and maintain their tools.
Wind Energy Project Managers (Emerging)
Wind energy project managers oversee all phases of developing and building wind energy farms.
While wind farms and wind energy arrived recently on the American landscape, using the wind for
power dates back to 200 B.C., in Persia. The Mid-East built the first practical windmills in the seventh
century. It’s an old technology that engineers now use to do more work than ever before.
Wind energy project managers oversee the day-to-day functioning of wind energy farms while they are
being built. They also help engineers plan, build, and start new energy farms. However, they focus less
on technical items about the turbines or wind shear. Instead, they focus on how big the farm will be
(scope), assigning tasks, determining schedules and costs, and setting goals and deadlines.
Project managers must have a solid knowledge of wind energy. They need to understand the needs of
engineers and technicians. However, what project managers need most of all are organizational skills
and an eye for details. Scientific knowledge is helpful, but an educational background in planning and
administration is essential.
When constructing a wind energy farm, project managers look at potential sites. They read
environmental studies and civil engineering surveys. This helps them find the best place to build. They
review bids from different contractors to see what companies offer the best services for the best price.
Project managers coordinate all construction activities. They oversee the different contractors who work
to transport and build the turbines and substations. They review contracts and budgets to contain costs.
To ensure the quality of work complies with laws and regulations, they review documents and make
regular inspections. They also make sure the proper permits are obtained.
Project managers also negotiate tax agreements and contracts. Because wind energy farms are usually
located on large amounts of land or in the sea, project managers may have to work with private owners
as well as local and state governments to negotiate the use of land and air.
These managers provide status reports during the building process. If needed, they make changes to
forecasts, budgets and schedules.
Employee Training Specialists
Employee training specialists plan and organize instructional activities.
The first day on the job makes nearly everyone nervous. You depend on the money you make to live,
and you want to do a good job. Thankfully, most companies offer training before you officially start
your job duties. Some companies have employee training specialists, people who make sure you learn
new skills and understand your job so that you can succeed. And, if things change – say, you switch to a
new kind of computer – they can help you learn the new system as well.
Employee training specialists conduct orientation sessions for new employees. They also arrange on-
the-job training for employees. For new employees, they organize courses that will teach them the skills
they need for their jobs. For current employees, they set up courses to help them maintain their skills.
They also set up courses to prepare workers for jobs that require more skill, such as a management
position or even an executive job. They may work for their own firm or under contract with other
Program development is an important part of the job for training specialists. They identify and assess
training needs. They do this by talking to managers and supervisors. Trainings may cover employee
skill improvement, leadership development, or reducing environmental impact at work. Specialists also
periodically evaluate training programs. They assess the training materials developed by course
instructors. In addition, they assess the quality of the teaching done by instructors. Instructors who do
not meet standards take classes to improve their teaching skills.
Because training specialists organize and supervise training programs, they have many administrative
tasks. They hire instructors and assign them to courses. They make sure instructors have all the
materials they need to lead their courses. This includes lecture materials, handouts, and other visual
aids. They also develop activities to help trainees and employees learn, such as group exercises, role-
playing, and discussions. In addition, they schedule when and where classes will be taught. They might
set up online trainings to reduce transportation costs and environmental impact. To help instructors be
consistent in their teaching procedures, specialists develop manuals and guides for them to follow.
Many employee training specialists also teach classes and conduct training themselves.
Another major administrative task is to monitor the effectiveness of the training programs. Thus,
specialists maintain records about which training courses employees take. They write reports about the
effects of training on employees. They also monitor the cost of training. Specialists make sure they stay
within their budget, and write reports about where they spend their money. They may present these
reports to their supervisors or talk to them about training programs.
New training techniques are constantly being developed. Thus, training specialists must keep their
knowledge of these techniques up to date. They attend meetings and seminars to learn about new ideas.
They also read magazines and journals.
Screen, hire, and assign workers to positions.
Learn about new training methods. Use computer-based training to save time and energy.
Assign instructors to courses and help them get training materials.
Create, plan, and conduct orientation and training for new and existing employees.
Develop training programs for workers on skill building, leadership development, recycling, ways to reduce
environmental impact, and other topics.
Schedule training classes.
Evaluate instructor performance. May suggest classes for instructors who need to improve their skills.
Talk to supervisors or conduct surveys to identify training needs. Create alternative training materials if other
methods are unsuccessful.
Monitor training costs and prepare budget reports.
Evaluate the success of training and write reports summarizing findings.
Develop manuals and guides about training procedures.
Meet with clients and managers to discuss training programs and goals. If working for a third party, negotiate
Evaluate training materials prepared by instructors.
Recommend trainees and employees to services, such as job placement assistance, if needed.
Keep skills up to date by reading journals, books, and magazines.
General and Operations Managers
General and operations managers oversee the day-to-day activities of a company or organization.
The word "general" usually makes us think of broad, non-specific things. When we use this word to
describe the world of work, we might think of "general" duties as easier because they are so non-
specific. However, this is usually not the case, and it's definitely not true for general and operations
managers. “General" managers oversee a variety of activities. To name them "Buying, purchasing,
selling, hiring, and financial managers" would be quite a mouthful!
General and operations managers oversee many crucial parts of an organization's activities. Their goal
is to make sure that the company runs efficiently. They also want to make a good profit. To do this,
managers must develop and approve budgets. They must also set goals, deadlines, and prices.
Managers set-up and run programs to decrease the impact of work on the natural environment. This
includes recycling, conserving green space, or creating less pollution.
They manage production by following schedules. Products must also meet standards for quality.
Managers ensure the product goes to the correct warehouse or directly to store shelves. Then, they
monitor to see how well the product (or service) sells. They make decisions about sales and promotions.
This means that they also have a hand in advertising and marketing.
Managers often hire and train employees. They may do this directly themselves or work with human
resources staff. Depending on the organization, they may be directly responsible for setting work
schedules and assigning duties. They may even do some direct selling on the sales floor. Some general
managers may set up store layouts and products displays.
To accomplish all these tasks, general and operations managers work with a variety of employees,
including chief executive officers, department heads, and staff. For example, to set up a budget for a
new product line, they may talk with accountants and chief financial officers. They may work with a
graphic designer and the marketing manager to develop sales flyers or newspaper ads. In addition,
managers also consult with board members about new projects and ideas.
Oversee departments that develop, price, and sell products.
Determine the goods and services the organization will sell. Research to predict what the demand for the product
will be, and how much people will pay for it.
Recommend and implement changes to make an organization more efficient and profitable. This includes
improving production by workers or increasing recycling of waste.
Create and change policies and goals. Work with board members, executives, and employees to gather their
Oversee hiring needs. May interview, hire, and train new employees.
Make sure goods are made and delivered on time.
Manage all the ways an organization provides services or makes products.
Manage staff, including creating schedules and assigning duties.
May do direct sales work, such as greeting customers, stocking shelves, and answering questions.
Oversee marketing of products and services. Approve sales and advertising campaigns.
Review the financial status of the organization. Look at sales, productivity, and costs. Find areas that need
May plan product displays or store layouts.
Regulatory Affairs Managers
Regulatory affairs managers help make sure new products meet government standards. They also make
sure that existing products meet all rules and guidelines.
Whoever said, “Rules are meant to be broken,” clearly never tried to get a new medicine approved by
the Food and Drug Administration. Most rules exist for very good reasons. For example, the FDA
doesn’t want to put medicines into the market without testing them in case the new drugs make people
Many companies cannot sell their products to the public until they go through a government review
process. This protects the safety of the people who buy the product. As our technology and medicine
changes, the rules change too. Regulatory affairs managers help others meet these requirements.
There are two types of regulatory affairs. The first type helps others get products approved. The second
type helps products maintain approval. Managers of both types must be organized and detail oriented.
Every case needs good documentation, lots of planning, and good teamwork. Applications for a new
product or medicine need complete accuracy and timeliness. Managers work with scientists, designers,
managers, directors, technicians, and other staff to make a strong application. For some products, like
new cures for diseases, it takes years to complete the application.
Rules often change. Government offices need to know that companies continue to follow the rules.
Regulatory affairs managers constantly check deadlines and changes. Changes may include new rules
for safety and impact to the environment.
Sometimes a rule is changed and an older product will not meet the new standard. Managers must act
quickly to make the necessary changes and submit the proper reports. Regulatory affairs managers keep
all their reports up-to-date. They often check with government offices to see if a rule has changed or
will change in the future. Some focus on green policy changes like pollution or climate change.
Federal, state, and local agencies routinely conduct audits or inspections of companies to inspect their
files and processes. Managers work to make sure companies pass these government audits. They
update how a company works to make sure it follows the new rules. This way they can predict that the
company will pass an audit. During an audit, they make sure inspectors and auditors have everything
The green sector of the economy is creating many new technologies. Companies that make these new
products need approval for them. Also, they must know about changes in the rules and new rules.
Because of this, the future need for regulatory affairs managers in the green economy should increase.
Help prepare and submit applications, reports, or letters to government offices.
Help submit product applications to the government accurately and on time. Make sure the materials correctly
meet all the right standards.
Use knowledge of rules and regulations to make sure submitted materials meet standards. These include rules
for safety or environmental impact.
Give advice to project teams about design, development, testing, or marketing of products.
Create or use policies and methods to make sure others comply with rules and regulations.
Help others understand rules and regulations. These include standards for safety or impact on the environment.
Oversee audits, inspections, and product recalls made by government offices.
Create ways to make new product applications meet government standards.
Answer questions from government offices about products.
Talk to government offices to learn about future changes in rules and regulations. Check to see how these
changes might affect different companies and products.
Investigate complaints about products. Submit reports about these complaints to the correct government offices.
Track changes in environmental rules to help others take the correct action.
Regulatory Affairs Specialists
Regulatory affairs specialists assist in getting new products approved by regulatory agencies. They also
maintain records on existing products.
In the United States, it can take up to 15 years to take a new medicine from the idea stage to the
pharmacy shelves. During these 15 years, many documents must be kept on all the experiments, testing,
and clinical trials. Then, the drugs take two or three years to pass through the FDA approval process.
But what if the new medicine will also be sold in other countries? Their regulatory agencies have
different applications and requirements. Regulatory affairs specialists help manage these processes.
Regulatory affairs specialists work with regulatory affairs managers to help companies comply with
regulations. They must submit regular reports for existing products. They also help companies follow
rules for new products. This is a very complex task. For example, agencies might require that a product
be made in a certain way and have very specific packaging and information printed on the product label.
Products also need testing to ensure that they meet health, environmental, and safety standards.
Regulations often change, so specialists must stay up-to-date. New rules address issues such as
recycling, toxic waste, climate change, or genetically altered crops. Specialists must help managers,
directors, supervisors, and employees understand these issues and what changes have to be made. They
often communicate changes in memos, reports, manuals, and guides. When a product is changed, these
specialists report to agencies and make sure their companies comply with all the rules, regulations, and
Sometimes making a product creates pollution. In these cases, specialists need to know all the rules
dealing with the storage, transport, or disposal of the pollution. If the product is sold outside the United
States, they need to know the rules for these countries too.
Regulatory affairs specialists must be highly organized, detail-oriented, and good writers. They must be
able to respond to requests for more information from agencies. Keeping complete, updated records is a
key part of this job.
Oversee, write, or review regulatory submissions.
Review applications before they are sent in to ensure scientific rigor, accuracy, and clarity.
Make sure products meet standards. These include packaging, materials, labeling, records, size, or test methods.
This might include toxic waste made during production.
Stay up to date on existing and newly created rules. These may include rules about pollution or bioengineering.
Understand current rules or rule changes and ensure workers understand these rules.
Determine what regulatory paperwork is needed when changing products or labeling.
Advise project teams about pre-market rules. Rules include packaging, export, labeling, and clinical study issues.
Prepare or keep files to earn and hold onto product approval.
Oversee the preparation of regulatory papers.
Fill out forms to answer questions asked by government offices about products.
Shipping and Receiving Clerks
Shipping and receiving clerks keep records, prepare shipments, and accept deliveries of goods.
Thanks to the Internet, many companies sell products only online. This means that they don't need a
"brick and mortar" store. For these companies, shipping and receiving is vital to their business. This
makes shipping and receiving clerks indispensable.
Shipping clerks are responsible for all outgoing shipments. Receiving clerks are in charge of accepting
deliveries. Sometimes clerks perform both tasks. Their duties depend on the size of the company, and
how much the company uses computers and other technology.
Shipping clerks keep track of and maintain the inventory of goods to be shipped. They fill orders, or
make sure orders filled by other workers are correct. They prepare invoices to send with the order.
Clerks pack and label the materials for shipping, weigh the package, and attach postage when required.
They decide what shipping method to use, based on their knowledge of rates for various sizes and
distances and impact on the environment. They also compare different routes to find ways to use less
fuel to transport goods. Clerks may move the goods from the warehouse to the shipping dock. They
move items using a hand truck or forklift.
Receiving clerks contact other companies to order goods and arrange for delivery. When the shipment
arrives, clerks verify the contents against the original order. They also make sure that the contents
match the invoice. Clerks record data about the shipment, such as weight, charges, and any damage. In
many organizations, clerks use hand-held scanners to read bar codes on incoming shipments. This
information can then be transferred to the proper department. Clerks deliver or send goods to other
departments or warehouse sections. If the shipment is damaged or wrong, clerks ensure the shipping
company corrects the problem.
In small companies, receiving clerks may also perform stock clerk duties. For example, they stock
shipped goods and mark them with identifying codes. In larger companies, receiving clerks may also
operate the receiving platform. For example, they schedule when trucks should arrive and record
shipments. Clerks in large companies deal with large amounts of information. They use computers and
other equipment to work quickly and accurately.
Verify contents of shipment against original order and invoice.
Prepare documents such as work orders or invoices.
Decide shipping method, using knowledge of shipping routes and rates. Compare routes or methods to reduce
fuel use, cost, and impact on the environment.
Record shipment data, such as weight, charges, and damages. May use hand-held scanner.
Contact companies to arrange for shipping and delivery of goods, or to correct problems.
Order and store materials to maintain inventory of stock to be shipped.
Pack, seal, label, and affix postage to prepare materials for shipping.
Deliver or route materials to departments.
Fill orders or make sure orders are filled correctly.
Record items taken from inventory.
May move goods from warehouse to shipping dock, using forklift or hand truck.
May perform stock clerk duties, such as stocking and marking shipped goods, in small companies.
May perform receiving platform operations, such as truck scheduling, in large companies.
Use computers and other technical equipment to perform many duties, especially in larger companies.
Supply Chain Managers
Supply chain managers coordinate and plan all the steps necessary to make and sell a product, from
beginning to end.
Have you ever planned a large party? Maybe a homecoming dance, or even a wedding reception?
Parties aren't very complicated for the guests. All they have to worry about is what to wear. They
arrive, have a good time, chat with friends, and go home.
There is a reason the guests have so little to worry about. It's because of all the planning and hard work
you or other people put into the event. The location has to be rented and decorated, food has to be
ordered, and invitations must be sent out. Someone needs to select the music and arrange the seating. It
takes a lot of work for the person planning the event!
Imagine planning the activities of an entire company. This is called logistics, and makes up the majority
of what a supply chain manager does. These workers are involved in nearly every aspect of a business,
including planning, purchasing, transportation, storage, sales, and customer service.
Supply chain managers are excellent planners, analyzers, and communicators. They must be creative
and flexible. For example, if they work for a clothing manufacturer, they have to be able to change
suppliers for fabrics without interrupting manufacturing, distribution, and sales. They have to analyze
inventory, storage, and transportation needs to make sure they have enough stock on hand. Also, if
regulations change, they must alter the work to follow the new rule. Supply chain managers must also
handle new product launches. This means they have to design, test, and adjust supply chains until they
have everything running smoothly.
Good supply chain managers always look at the flow of business processes to make sure they work
efficiently. Product tracking computer systems let them do this more efficiently. They talk with various
workers, from drivers to purchasers to budget analysts, to see what their needs are and how to improve
the operation. They also must forecast future trends for their company to predict changes. For example,
if raw material prices go up, they may create plans to keep costs down by using recycled materials as an
The growing green economy will depend more and more on supply chain managers to look at how
companies make products. For example, some products pollute more when people dispose of them.
Managers may find less toxic materials for these products. Or, they may find ways for stores to take
products back and recycle them. They may also work with storage and transportation companies to help
reduce the environmental impact of storing and shipping products and supplies.
Create and use supply chains that help businesses with changing market conditions, environmental impacts, or
Manage supply chain sales, marketing, costs, production, and quality.
Manage purchasing, material needs, inventory control, warehousing, or receiving.
Help manage product changes or new product launches. Make sure product supply meets demand for the
Pick suppliers based on factors such as performance and environmental impact.
Use new technology to analyze inventory. Use data to check inventory use, reduce waste, or improve customer
Ensure access to materials and products. Talk with supply chain planners to predict demand, create supply plans
or recycle waste.
Make rules for testing supply chain factors such as product cost and impact on the environment.
Create and use plans for tracking and storing materials or products that produce less pollution.
Find new methods to test and choose suppliers.
Test products to check the environmental impact of every part of their creation, use, and disposal.
Create programs to reduce waste connected with product disposal such as computers.
Financial analysts collect, analyze, and interpret financial information.
"Financial analysts expect this stock to drop in the next few weeks due to. . ." "Analysts predict a rise in
this stock as long as inflation stays low. . ." Does any of this sound familiar? Probably. After all,
money and the stock market are on the news nearly every night. But what about the analysts? What
they say certainly is important.
Financial analysts gather information to make investment decisions. They read financial reports,
industry projections, environmental and economic forecasts. They watch for business trends and try to
determine how they will affect investments. This includes green trends in construction and alternative
energy industries. Checking the ways factors like carbon emissions, water supply, and extreme weather
affect investing will take on more importance. In addition to monitoring the economy as a whole,
analysts also monitor specific companies. They attempt to determine if investing in a company is worth
the risk. For example, they may suggest investing in a company based on its commitment to “green”
building. Analysts use statistical methods to analyze the data and predict business conditions.
Once they have analyzed all their information, analysts prepare reports that explain their findings. They
use computers to design and prepare tables, charts, and graphs for these reports. They often deliver
these reports to clients and to other analysts. Analysts also use computers to track and analyze
Based on their analyses, analysts advise clients about when to buy or sell financial products. Advice
may include investments related to energy futures and water rights. They call brokers and ask them to
purchase financial products for their clients. More and more, clients show interest in products with less
impact on the environment.
Analysts also may determine pricing of new stocks and bonds. They also stay up to date about changes
by taking additional training and reading economic journals.
Gather business, industry, environmental, and economic information.
Interpret data on business trends and forecast their effect on investments. This includes “green” trends in
industries like construction, and alternative energy.
Set the price at which to sell new securities.
Use computers to track and analyze information.
Prepare investment plans based on investment information. This includes investors and grants for “green”
industries, impacts of energy and carbon futures, and other “green” business issues.
Use spreadsheet software to draw charts and graphs to illustrate reports.
Advise clients about when to buy and sell investments.
Analyze financial data to make investment decisions. Use environmental data to make long term choices.
Call brokers and purchase investments for clients.
Stay up to date on developments in the field.
Present reports on economic trends.
Construction and Building Inspectors
Construction and building inspectors inspect new or remodeled structures.
Imagine if the Leaning Tower of Pisa had a building inspector. The inspector might have told the Italian
twelfth century architects that the soil underneath couldn't support such a tall building. If that had
happened, most people who visited the Tower of Pisa might think it was pretty, but it wouldn't be nearly
as famous. Or maybe there wouldn't even be a Tower of Pisa at all!
The construction of Italy's famous bell tower began in 1173. And even though the lean was evident by
the time the third story was built, construction continued. (It was finished in 1350.) The Tower stands
189 feet tall and by 1998, was leaning sixteen feet. Since then, restoration efforts have been underway
to reverse some of the lean. Interestingly, architects aren't trying to make the Tower completely straight.
Instead, they want to stabilize it to stop any additional movement. In fact, most people will not be able
to tell the difference with the naked eye.
There are many types of inspectors. Electrical inspectors check electrical installations to be sure they
operate properly and safely. Plumbing inspectors examine pipes, fixtures, water supply, and waste
systems. Public works inspectors inspect sewers, dams, bridges, and highways. Mechanical inspectors
check heating, ventilation, and cooling systems. All inspectors make sure work meets code
requirements. Some conduct tests for environmental hazards like mold, asbestos, or poor air or water
Before construction begins, plans examiners determine if plans comply with codes and regulations.
They approve plans that meet codes and reject those that do not. They also issue building permits for
approved plans. Construction cannot begin until permits have been issued.
Building inspectors visit the work site before workers pour the foundation. They inspect the soil
condition to ensure it can support the foundation. They also check the position and depth of the
footings. Later, they return to the site to check the completed foundation. The number of other visits
depends on the size and type of the structure. In general, inspectors visit to check systems, such as
plumbing and electrical, before they are covered by additional construction. Inspectors make a final
inspection when the project is completed.
Inspectors often do visual inspections to check structures. Their experience enables them to spot
problems. However, they sometimes measure dimensions and compare them to those specified in
building plans. Inspectors also check safety systems for correct installation. Inspectors witness tests of
the smoke control and fire systems along with the fire marshal.
When inspectors find problems, they note the code violation. They notify builders and city building
agencies. Inspectors confer with these groups to explain regulations. If builders do not agree, inspectors
may need to explain their decision to the building codes division. Inspectors review builder complaints
and gather evidence for their opinion.
Inspectors maintain daily logs and inspection records. They also prepare reports.
Inspect structures to ensure they follow plans, codes, and environmental regulations. This includes bridges,
highways, homes, and sewer systems.
Inspect systems inside structures to make sure work meets standards. This includes plumbing, electrical, and
Approve plans that meet codes, environmental regulations, and specifications. Issue building permits.
Test areas for environmental hazards. These include toxic materials, toxic mold, and poor air or water quality.
Examine elevators, escalators, lifts and hoists, and other lifting mechanisms to ensure they meet codes and
Use tape measures, circuit testers, and other tools during inspections.
Issue correction memos when find code violations. Notify builders and authorities of violations.
Confer with owners, builders, and authorities to explain regulations.
Monitor correct installation of plumbing, wiring, equipment, and appliances.
Approve and sign plans that meet specifications.
Maintain daily logs and inspection records. Prepare reports.
May train and supervise other inspectors.
Transportation inspectors enforce safety rules that protect people and cargo. They inspect equipment
and services and investigate accidents.
"Please be careful when opening overhead compartments, as contents may have shifted during the
flight." Sound familiar? This a common in-flight announcement made by flight attendants. They have
to say this to protect your safety, as you (or another traveler) might be surprised if a heavy suitcase
bursts out of the overhead storage.
This is just a small scenario. Now, envision it on a grander scale. What might a full load of cargo look
like after a turbulence-riddled flight? Hopefully, it was packed well and carefully secured. Making sure
this is the case is just one of the tasks performed by transportation inspectors.
Inspectors examine and test a range of transportation vehicles. These include planes, boats, trains, cars
and trucks. Some inspectors make sure vehicles operate properly and safely. Based on the age of a
vehicle, they may use different standards for its inspection. They may use remote scanners or attach
cables to check vehicle emissions. They may even look at a car when it is running to see if smoke
comes out of the wrong places. If a car or truck has new parts, inspectors determine how these might
change engine emissions. Once they have the data, they compare it with t standards for that vehicle.
These inspectors look over vehicles for parts that are broken. They oversee the repair and replacement
of malfunctioning parts. They also watch gauges and meters when engines and other equipment are
running to monitor systems. In addition, inspectors review logs to check that maintenance has occurred
Some inspectors check to see that freight is loaded properly. If freight shifts during transit, it may cause
a truck or boat to turn over. Inspectors advise crews on how to brace freight securely. They may also
use road side scanners to see if trucks need follow up inspections. In addition, inspectors study the
carrying capacity of ships, airplanes, and trucks. They make sure that loads are not too big or heavy.
Transportation inspectors may train and test freight handlers or mechanics. Other inspectors check the
security systems that limit public access to aircraft, ships, and trains. They may report unsafe practices
to the police. Inspectors also evaluate paperwork packages to ensure documentation is complete and
Inspectors keep careful records. Some records are about their inspection results. Other records
document information such as the size and weight of freight. Transportation inspectors prepare reports
of their findings. They give these reports to owners and compliance officers. When they issue
certificates of compliance or citations, inspectors often recommend changes. For example, they may
recommend equipment upgrades or purchases of safety equipment. Inspectors follow up to be sure that
owners and managers carry out their recommendations. Transportation inspectors study safety laws and
rules. They often teach them to company managers.
Inspectors investigate accidents, delays, and complaints. Transportation inspectors often testify in court
and public hearings on safety issues.
Inspectors most often specialize in one type of transportation. For example, aviation inspectors oversee
aircraft maintenance and safety. They check systems and mechanisms in airplanes and investigate
accidents. They may also give pilot licenses to those who have completed all the necessary training.
Marine cargo inspectors make sure that ships are loaded safely. They may also check shipping
containers using x-ray scanners. Rail inspectors look for problems in locomotives, rail cars, tracks, and
roadbeds. Motor vehicle inspectors check cars, trucks, and all their parts to be sure they meet safety
standards. Public transportation inspectors monitor and investigate passenger travel. They look into
delays, complaints, equipment failures, and accidents. Freight inspectors make sure loads are secure.
They check temperatures and humidity to protect fruit and vegetables.
Inspect and test equipment and vehicles using scanners and other tools. Compare test results with the correct
Check and monitor gauges, meters, and instruments in transportation equipment. Check fuel, exhaust, and
emission control systems in cars and trucks.
Review maintenance schedules and logs.
Find after market changes made to cars and trucks. Decide how changes affect emissions.
Direct repairs and replacement of worn or defective equipment and parts. Inspect work of aircraft mechanics.
Recommend equipment upgrades and service improvements.
Determine the need to brace cargo and freight.
Advise crews how to load and unload, secure, and store materials and freight properly.
Analyze weight and volume of shipments so they do not overload vehicles.
Provide training and test workers who load and unload freight or maintain equipment.
Investigate complaints, delays, and accidents.
Document findings and keep records.
Give certificates of compliance or recommend corrective measures.
Follow up to see that owners carry out recommendations.
Prepare reports and submit findings to owners and transportation authorities.
Check on security of restricted access at airports, piers, vehicle storage yards, and rail yards.
Report violations to police and testify in court and at hearings.
Check temperature and humidity to protect fruit and other perishable freight.
Give pilot licenses, if working as an aviation inspector.
Urban and Regional Planners
Urban and regional planners conduct studies and develop proposals. They plan for the overall growth
and improvement of urban, suburban, and rural areas.
The city of Portland, Oregon is often praised as an example of good urban planning. Several years ago,
local officials and planners established an "urban growth boundary." The purpose of this was to prevent
the city from growing too big. This was also to prevent problems with transportation, pollution, and
environmental destruction. As a result, many people say that Portland is an ideal city, with a light rail
system, several public parks, and a happening downtown. However, some analysts feel that Portland's
policies about growth aren't as successful as people say. Many would like the growth boundary to be
expanded to allow for new development.
Despite the differences of opinion, nearly everyone agrees that cities and regions need to be properly
planned. For example, homes and businesses should be located in appropriate areas. Highways should
be maintained and public transportation should be available. Parks should be available to everyone and
maintained. Overall, cities should be pleasant places to live. This is the main goal of urban and regional
Urban and regional planners promote the best use of a community's land and resources. They develop
plans and policies about such things as transportation and environmental conservation. They look at
land and empty buildings to see how they should best be used. Typically, they decide whether parts of a
city should be for residential, commercial, or industrial use. They may propose land be set aside in its
natural state to create parks or protect water quality.
A large part of an urban and regional planner's job is gathering and studying data. They review
environmental impact reports. They also look at economic data and studies about how people live.
They look at land use reports as well as write new ones. In addition, they often consult with architects,
lawyers, developers, and government officials. They also hold public meetings in which citizens can
give their opinions and voice concerns over new projects. For example, a new high speed rail system
may be needed to handle traffic from a growing population. Some citizens might approve of the rail
system while others may be concerned over the location of the tracks. Planners look at both sides and
try to come up with the best solution.
Planners also meet with planning officials and others to discuss projects. They consider many factors
such as cost and sustainability. They use computers to write reports or to record and analyze data.
Because laws and regulations are always changing, they need to stay up to date on changes to building
and zoning codes. They also need to be aware of federal laws that concern public safety, the
environmental issues, and transportation budgets.
Urban and regional planners may serve as mediators in disputes. They may speak at civic meetings and
appear before elected officials to explain their proposals. Planners in management positions may
supervise other planners or planning technicians and technologists. They may promote green projects
like transportation systems that reduce carbon output.
Create and put into use plans and policies for land use, public utilities, community facilities, housing, and
Hold public meetings so the community and others can discuss new policies and plans.
Give advice on the approval or denial of proposals. Factors include cost and impact to the environment.
Gather, sort, and test data on different land use factors.
Test possible urban planning proposals to find areas to improve. Make necessary changes to plans.
Gather data about economic, social, or other issues.
Advise planning officials on projects and possible alternatives.
Write reports on land use data.
Meet with planning officials and talk about land use project issues such as cost, rules, and sustainability.
Read and check environmental impact reports.
Follow changes in building and zoning codes, regulations, and other legal issues.
Resolve disputes over plans and projects. Help create solutions and recommendations.
Write proposals for projects. Seek advice from architects and other experts if needed.
Oversee urban planning staff.
Study areas for urban planning. Find opportunities to create projects that have positive environmental impacts.
Collect data related to land use.
Promote sustainable urban planning and alternative transportation to different groups.
Financial counselors explain funding options to students or teach money management skills to clients.
The average U.S. household owes about $8,000 in credit card debt. At the same time, college tuition
goes up each year by about eight percent. That means that about every nine years, the cost of going to
college doubles. (For some students, a credit card is an easy and fast way to pay if they don't have
cash.) With statistics like these, it's no surprise that so many people turn to financial counselors for help.
There are three types of financial counselors. Financial aid counselors work at colleges and universities
and help students obtain money to help pay for school. A second type of financial counselor helps
people who are in debt or who need help managing their money. They are sometimes called consumer
credit counselors. The third type of financial counselor helps people invest money and plan for their
Regardless of who their clients are, financial counselors interview clients to learn more about their
economic situation. Most counselors use computers to enter and review this data. They use this
information to make decisions about how to help their clients. Financial counselors keep records of
their communication with clients and may fill out forms to move the process forward.
Financial aid counselors talk to students and their parents about what types of aid are available.
Sometimes they talk to people one-on-one and other times they speak to groups. They explain the
different types of aid, such as grants and loans. They discuss both federal and state aid packages.
Counselors review students' applications to determine whether they qualify for aid. Once they decide
who is eligible, they use standards to figure out how much each student will receive. Then they make
the funds available for students to pay for classes, books, or even housing. Financial aid counselors may
work on committees to review scholarship applications. They look at students’ grades and progress
toward their degree to evaluate whether they meet the rules of the award.
Credit counselors interview clients to learn about their spending habits. They look at clients' income and
bills, and figure out how much money clients have to pay their bills and other expenses. Credit
counselors teach their clients money management skills. They help them develop a budget and a plan
for paying off their bills. They coach their clients on how to contact bill collectors and set up a payment
schedule. For some clients, counselors contact the bill collectors. In severe cases, credit counselors may
set up a checking account to pay bills for the client. Some credit counselors set up their own business.
Others work as farm and home management advisors. Advisors may educate people in other topics too.
These topics include housing, nutrition, and community resources.
Investment counselors talk to clients about their goals and dreams. They educate clients about the type
of investments that work best for their needs. For example, investors may be interested in companies
that are environmentally friendly. Counselors may suggest investing in companies that build products
like wind turbines.
Once clients select the types of investments they want to make, counselors help them fill out the
paperwork. Counselors may contact clients periodically to see if they want to make additional
investments or modify what they currently have. These types of financial counselors also recruit new
clients on an ongoing basis. They also monitor financial markets to stay up to date on market
Talk to individuals and groups about types of financial aid available to college and university students.
Interview students and check their applications to see if they are eligible for financial aid.
Assist in selection of candidates for specific awards or aid.
Determine amount of aid to be granted.
Authorize the release of funds to students.
Prepare required records and reports.
Interview clients to learn about their income and expenses and their goals.
Counsel clients on financial problems. Answer client questions.
Calculate amount of debt and funds available.
Establish payment priorities to plan payoff method.
Contact creditors to set up payment plans. May require clients to make these contacts.
May open accounts for clients and disburse funds to creditors for clients..
Look into different investment and savings plans to see if they match certain client needs. Find companies or
funds that make less impact on the natural environment.
Monitor financial markets.
Prepare reports and interpret information for organizations or individual clients. This includes tax rebates for
electric cars or projects to lower the use of electricity in homes.
Build and maintain client base. Recruit new clients on an ongoing basis.
Arbitrators and Mediators
Arbitrators and mediators help prevent and solve disputes between people or organizations.
Have you ever felt that no matter what you say, someone close to you, a parent or a good friend or a
work colleague, just doesn't understand you? Does that person say that they feel he or she cannot do
anything right when they are around you? If so, then you and that person are probably locked into a
cycle of conflict. Unfortunately, it is easy to get stuck in this cycle. Conflicts arise between employees
and employers. Conflicts occur between environmentalists and farmers. They even arise between
neighbors. Once people or organizations are locked into the cycle of conflict it can be hard to get out
without going to court.
Arbitrators and mediators provide an alternative to lawsuits for settling disputes. They interview the
participants in the dispute. They make sure everyone understands the arbitration process. Arbitrators
and mediators gather information and evidence so that they know the issues and possible outcomes.
They study similar disputes to help make decisions. Some specialize in certain kinds of conflicts. For
instance, some arbitrators and mediators focus on labor disputes. Others work to resolve disagreements
on the best ways to use natural resources like rivers or forests.
Arbitrators are usually attorneys or businesspersons with expertise in a particular field. The parties who
hire an arbitrator must agree to follow the arbitrator's final decision. Arbitrators must not favor one
participant over the other. Because they make the final decision, they must be neutral. For this reason,
arbitrators must have strong morals and ethics.
Mediators can represent one or both parties in the dispute. They may represent labor unions, business,
or governments. Mediators may represent people involved in custody battles and divorce. They help
people involved in disputes talk to each other. They make suggestions. However, the two parties make
the final decision.
Arbitrators and mediators may give presentations. They may teach others how to solve disputes. Much
of their job involves coordinating meetings and hearings. They also relay information to people. This
includes final decisions on cases. As a result, they must have very good writing and speaking skills.
Help people and groups communicate using mediation techniques.
Outline the arbitration process and rules for participants.
Talk with participants to understand their concerns, needs, and interests.
Conduct hearings to gather information and evidence about the dispute.
Study procedures, laws, and other cases to make sure arbitration follows current standards.
Set up appointments for participants to meet for mediation.
Study specific areas of conflict. These could include labor, medical, or environmental disagreements.
Decide to allow exceptions and evidence.
Analyze evidence and apply laws, regulations, and policies to reach a decision.
Make recommendations about compromise.
Participate in court proceedings.
Prepare settlement agreements.
Prepare written opinions and decisions about cases.
Notify claimants about the outcomes of decisions.
Airplane assemblers fit and install aircraft skins, frames, controls, and other systems.
Did you know that a Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet has six million parts? What is more amazing is that half
of these parts are fasteners - screws, nuts, and bolts, to name a few.
Airplanes are large, complicated machines. Assemblers align and fit the parts to put planes together.
Most product assemblers perform the same simple tasks over and over. In contrast, airplane assemblers
usually perform a series of more complicated tasks. Some assemblers work on the basic structure or
frame of the airplane. Others work on one of the many subassemblies of the airplane, such as the flaps
or rigging. Other assemblers install wiring and cables. Some oversee robots that assemble aircraft.
Aircraft structure assemblers join and align the pieces of the frame. They also attach the subassemblies
to the frame. Aircraft systems assemblers fit and put together the subassemblies. Aircraft rigging
assemblers fabricate and install the wiring harnesses, cables, and hydraulic lines. These lines and cables
connect the flight controls, navigation systems, and other subassemblies. Assemblers also build
experimental aircraft to display new inventions and ways to reduce pollution.
Before doing any work, airplane assemblers read detailed plans and diagrams. They often refer back to
this information. Assemblers inspect and measure parts prior to assembly. They do this to make sure
the parts are free of defects and the right size. They may cut, grind, or trim parts to fit properly. Waste
from construction is recycled or contained to protect the environment. Next, they lay out, mark, align,
and fit structural metal parts to form the wings, body, and tail of the airplane. They bolt, weld, rivet, or
chemically bond parts together. At the same time, other assemblers are building the subassembly
sections, such as the landing gear and flaps. Joining these sections requires drilling, bolting, and
clamping units together. Assemblers may cut, file, drill, and ream metal, plastic, and rubber sections to
prepare them for fastening. Assemblers use tools such as drills, wrenches, and rivet guns. They clean
airplane parts in ways that reduce pollution.
At each stage, workers test the airplanes to determine if the parts are installed properly. Assemblers
may work with inspectors to run these tests. They make adjustments or replace parts when needed.
They must have up-to-date knowledge of assembly methods to produce safe planes.
Read and interpret blueprints and diagrams. Determine layout, assembly sequence, and relationship of parts.
Align and fit structures by hand or by signaling crane operators.
Install units, parts, equipment, and components in structural assembly.
Examine parts for defects. Cut, trim, and file parts to the correct size.
Assemble parts to make subassemblies, such as flaps or landing gears.
Recycle or contain waste from construction to prevent pollution.
Monitor aircraft construction robots on the assembly line.
Weld, bolt, rivet, or chemically bond parts together.
Inspect and test installed parts and equipment.
Adjust, repair, or replace malfunctioning units or parts.
Use hand tools and power tools.
Clean aircraft parts using methods and products that reduce pollution.
Attend training sessions to update skills and knowledge.
Build experimental aircraft to show new ways to reduce aircraft pollution.
Building Maintenance Workers
Building maintenance workers keep buildings in good shape. They repair plumbing, electrical fixtures,
machinery, and the structure of buildings.
The faucet breaks. The garbage disposal suddenly won't grind food, leaving your sink an ugly sight.
The electrical outlet has only one working plug. The window won't close all the way. If you've ever
lived in an apartment, you may have had one or all these things happen to you. In most cases, you can
call the landlord and they will send someone over to fix it. These people are usually building
Building maintenance workers use carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and masonry skills to keep buildings
in good shape. They plan routine maintenance and schedule their work. Some of the maintenance they
do occurs in almost every building. For example, they repair leaky faucets, clear clogged drains, and
replace light bulbs. To save electricity, they may replace older heating and cooling systems with new
systems. Other tasks are specific to the building they maintain. Those who work in apartment buildings
are more likely to fix walls, roofs, windows, doors, and floors. Those who work in hospitals or factories
install machines, systems, and fixtures. Some workers lay brick to repair foundations, walls, and
When making repairs, workers inspect the structure or equipment and diagnose the causes of problems.
Maintenance workers take apart machines and fix them. This may involve cleaning and lubricating
parts. It may also require the replacement of worn or broken parts. They may install new systems that
use less water and electricity. After making repairs, workers reassemble machines and test them.
Maintenance workers use various hand and power tools. Some tools are basic, such as hammers, levels,
wrenches, and screwdrivers. They may also use welding torches to repair and construct parts.
Maintenance workers install, repair and maintain systems that control the temperature in buildings.
They set and adjust the controls of these systems. In newer buildings, workers maintain computer
systems that control temperature and lights. Maintenance workers also insulate walls, windows, and
pipes to reduce costs for heating and cooling. They install and maintain boilers, and may repair or
replace boiler parts to use less energy.
Building maintenance workers have a few administrative tasks. They keep track of work orders and
completed repairs. They document all purchases and costs. Before buying supplies and parts,
maintenance workers read blueprints, catalogs, and manuals. They check prices with suppliers and
estimate costs of a job.
Those in smaller buildings often do all the repairs except for very difficult or large jobs. In larger
buildings, they may work only in a particular area or do general maintenance.
Plan work and schedule routine maintenance.
Inspect buildings, machines, and equipment to determine what to repair or replace.
Use hand, power, and specialty tools to assemble equipment and to make repairs.
Use cutting torches or welding equipment to cut or join metal parts.
Repair and maintain equipment to use less energy. This includes motors, plumbing, electrical fixtures, and
heating and cooling systems.
Replace old systems with new equipment to use less water and electricity.
Fix roofs, windows, doors, and floors.
Clean and lubricate shafts, bearings, gears, and other parts of machinery.
Install insulation to use less energy for heating and cooling.
Install, monitor, operate, and maintain controls for efficient lighting, heating, and cooling. This includes automatic
light switches and digital temperature controls.
Take apart, fix, and put together machines and equipment.
Do routine maintenance such as oiling equipment, clearing clogged drains, and painting walls.
Read blueprints, repair manuals, and parts catalogs.
Assemble and install building components, such as boilers, insulation, plumbing, machinery, and equipment.
Lay brick to repair and maintain physical structures.
Keep records of maintenance, repairs, purchases, and costs.
Estimate costs of repairs. Buy supplies and parts from distributors or stores.
Geothermal Production Managers (Emerging)
Geothermal production managers oversee work at geothermal power plants. They maintain and monitor
geothermal equipment for efficient and safe plant operations.
In Iceland, a country located right on top -- literally -- of a lot of volcanic activity, the use of geothermal
energy is extensive. In fact, nearly 90% of Icelandic citizens use geothermal energy to heat their homes.
Since geothermal energy is renewable, it is expected that much of the world will try to follow Iceland’s
Building geothermal energy systems takes many steps. Workers must dig deep trenches and wells.
They install pipes, pumps, and controls. While technicians perform much of the work, production
managers oversee operations and employees.
These managers spend a lot of time inspecting installations of new geothermal systems. This means
they travel to different work sites. They make sure work follows the plan, the schedule, and the budget.
They inspect completed work and solve problems. For example, they prevent hot water from corroding
pipes and other equipment.
Once a system is completed, managers oversee daily work at the power plant and off-site locations.
They monitor the systems' performance and examine all the maintenance and repair records. This
includes daily logs and other reports. They ensure the plant meets safety and environmental impact
standards. To maintain efficiency, they check equipment and procedures.
Managers develop budgets, timelines, and schedules. Once they secure funding, managers must
negotiate with landowners, utilities, and local government officials. Whether they plan to install a new
system, or change an older one, geothermal production managers obtain the necessary permits. They
must also write and update reports to show the power plant complies with rules and regulations.
Geothermal production managers supervise and communicate with technicians and power plant
employees. They offer technical assistance where needed. In some cases, they perform or demonstrate
minor repairs themselves.
Managers must also keep records and files for large-scale projects and for daily operations.
Geothermal Technicians (Emerging)
Geothermal technicians install and repair geothermal heating and cooling systems. They test, calibrate,
and maintain geothermal energy systems.
Dirt is hot. Yes, that’s right. To be more specific, heat is found in the earth’s crust -- an additional 5.4
degrees Fahrenheit with every 300 feet of depth. This kind of energy is called geothermal, and
technology that harnesses the earth’s internal warmth is expected to really heat up.
Geothermal technicians install and maintain geothermal systems at power plants or at specific sites.
These systems are used to heat and cool homes and buildings, to generate electricity and to heat water.
Technicians inspect and test a specific site to determine the amount of heat available. They check the
water for flow strength and for toxic materials. They decide on the best system to provide heating and
Technicians and other workers dig trenches and install pipes to channel hot and cool air. They may use
or hire others to use heavy equipment such as backhoes and excavators. They also use tools such as
compactors and saws. Once pipes are installed, they are connected to pumps and compressors. The
technicians weld pipes and equipment to make these connections. Since hot water rusts metal,
technicians work to reduce the damage this causes. They may coat the pipes with a sealant. Or, they
may install filters on pumps and other machines.
Technicians must make sure they everything is installed correctly. They may prepare the system by
filling it with water and then quickly draining it. They must also make sure that they are linked properly
to controls. This is a complex procedure. It involves working with electrical switches, transmitters,
gauges, and other equipment. After installation is complete, technicians must test, troubleshoot, and
maintain instruments and controls. They also must calibrate and repair them when necessary.
Geothermal technicians also evaluate the flow and temperature of air coming from pumps to see if their
initial tests of heating and cooling are correct. They make adjustments where needed. They may
recommend and install back-up systems.
Geothermal systems can also be installed in bodies of water. In these projects, technicians must weigh
down the pipes so they sink into the right places underwater. Also, they place pipes and pumps to avoid
disturbing wildlife and to avoid damage from boats.
Once a geothermal plant is complete, technicians check instruments to be sure the plant works correctly.
They keep logs of maintenance and repairs. If equipment or controls need adjustments, they make the
needed changes. Since the heat emitted from the earth changes, they collect data to spot trends. This
helps maintain consistent power production.
Hydroelectric Plant Technicians (Emerging)
Hydroelectric plant technicians use and maintain the machines used to make hydroelectric power.
The Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State is the largest electric power station in the United States.
Its 33 turbines can generate more than 6800 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough to power two cities
the size of Seattle! Nearly a million cubic feet of water moves through the dam every second to run its
generators. The workers who harness all that raw power are the hydroelectric plant technicians. They
make sure the different parts of the Grand Coulee Dam work together smoothly and safely.
Hydroelectric plant technicians watch and control the different parts of hydroelectric plants. They make
adjustments to ensure the correct amount of water flows through the dam to produce the correct amount
of power. They work with machines such as turbines, pumps, valves, gates, fans, electric control
boards, and battery banks. They maintain and repair this equipment as needed.
To monitor the status of the plant, they read gauges and sensors. They may check the level of water
flowing through a spillway or the power put out by a generator. They report this data to supervisors and
other workers. They adjust controls to produce the correct level of power. They perform regular check-
ups on equipment and make repairs. If plans call for improvements to the plant, they may install new
equipment. They maintain records of how the plant performs, what parts they maintain, and any repairs
Since hydroelectric plants use many different systems to make electricity, these technicians may use
many different skills on the job. They might cut or weld pipe to connect pumps and other equipment. If
electric cables need to be replaced, they work with high voltage systems to install new parts.
Technicians may run forklifts or cranes to lift heavy loads if machinery in the dam needs repair or
replacement. To inspect the outside of the dam and inside the water tunnels, they may use scaffolds,
ropes, or ladders. They may also perform cleanup or containment to prevent pollution.
Most of the sites where large hydroelectric plants can be built, have already been used. But many
governments and companies have plans to build smaller hydroelectric plants to meet the growing need
for renewable power. Hydroelectric plant technicians will be in demand for these smaller power plants.
Hydroelectric Production Managers (Emerging)
Hydroelectric production managers oversee the day to day operations of hydroelectric power plants.
Some of the “greenest” power plants in the world provide electricity to millions of people without
burning any fossil fuels. Large hydroelectric dams like the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State and
the Three Gorges Dam in China make enough power to light up entire cities while producing very little
pollution. Keeping these complicated power plants running smoothly takes a lot of skill. Hydroelectric
production managers oversee all the work needed to maintain the flow of water into the plant and the
flow of electricity out.
Hydroelectric production managers are responsible for operation of plants and power generating
systems. They must make sure the plant operation follows all environmental and safety regulations.
Managers oversee the teams who work in the power plants, and also the workers who maintain and
Hydropower plants sell electricity to cities or power companies. The amount of water that flows into the
dam can change. Managers make adjustments to water flow to ensure customers receive the correct
amount of electricity. They may also make adjustments to keep water levels high enough for wildlife.
Managers inspect all parts of the hydropower plant to make sure it works smoothly. They ensure that
work and safety standards are followed. This includes keeping pollution out of rivers and lakes. They
may inspect the dam, the generators, and the control systems. They follow plans for repairs or in case of
emergencies. They maintain records for all plant operations.
Managers create or review budgets. They may also make contracts and set prices with customers.
Managers plan for improvements. Managers supervise repairs and improvements. They may give
technical advice to planners and workers. Managers respond to questions from customers, government
offices, and researchers.
Machinists use machine tools to produce precision metal parts.
In early January 2004, the NASA rover "Spirit" made a near-perfect landing on Mars. This began the
nation's fascination with the amazing images Spirit sent to earth. Using its complex machinery and
digital cameras, Spirit roved over the Mars landscape, including large craters and smooth rocks. The
color images Spirit sent back soon graced computer monitors from Alaska to Florida. Everything about
Spirit was working flawlessly, and the country joined the scientists' giddiness about the red planet.
So what do Spirit, Mars, and NASA have to do with machinists? Plenty. Machinists played a central
role in building the rover, using materials such as titanium to create parts for the landing gear, motor,
and wheels. Many machinists worked for NASA, cooperating directly with engineers and computer
software, to make the unique space-exploring robot. The small size of the spacecraft made building it a
challenge. Machinists and engineers worked round the clock to make Spirit so successful.
Machinists operate machine tools such as lathes, drill presses, and milling machines. They use their
knowledge of metal and tools to make products that are precise sizes and shapes. For example, they
make parts for industrial machines, aircraft, cars, or other products. Some machinists make large
quantities of one part, especially very precise parts. Others produce small batches or one-of-a-kind
Before they machine a part, machinists must plan and prepare the operation. First, they review
blueprints, drawings, or written directions for a job. Next, they calculate where to cut or bore into the
work piece. They also decide how fast to feed the metal stock and how much metal to remove. Then
they select the tools and materials for the job. They plan the sequence of operations and mark the metal
stock. They set up and adjust machines and specialized tools.
After this layout work, machinists perform the required machining operations. They position the metal
stock on the machine tool, set the controls, and make the cuts. During this process, they monitor the
feed and speed of the machine. They also make sure the work piece is properly lubricated and cooled.
This is because the machining of metal products creates a great deal of heat. They follow company and
government rules for disposing of scrap metal. To reduce costs, they recycle or reuse metals scraps.
Sometimes machinists make a trial run with one work piece. Then they check the completed item to be
sure it meets requirements. In addition, while machines are running, they watch and listen to see if they
should make adjustments or if the machine needs to be repaired.
Today, the machine tools used to produce metal parts are often computer numerically controlled (CNC).
This means they contain computers that direct the machine’s operations. These machines can perform
many functions with only one setup. CNC machine tools enable machinists to produce more parts in
less time. They also enable machinists to produce parts with a very high level of precision. The quality
of the products these machines produce depends on the programs. Skilled machinists may also do CNC
programming. It is becoming more common for machinists to be expected to perform this task.
Machinists work alone or with CNC programmers to check new programs. A problem with the program
could damage costly machinery and cutting tools. Therefore, they often use computer simulations
instead of trial runs to check programs. If they change the program, they re-test it before operating the
Maintenance machinists clean, oil, and maintain the machine tools. They also repair or make new parts
for existing machinery. Most machinists confer with supervisors or engineers when there are problems.
They may also talk to customers about using different materials, depending on the product.
Study blueprints, drawings, or written directions.
Calculate where to cut, how much to remove, and how fast to feed metal into the machine.
Select tools and materials for the job. Set up and adjust machines.
Plan sequence of cutting and finishing operations. Mark metal stock.
Position metal stock and set controls.
Operate machines such as drill presses, lathes, and milling machines.
Monitor feed and speed of machines, lubrication of metal stock, and coolants.
Make trial run and check completed unit for defects.
Clean, lubricate, and maintain machinery.
Sort scrap-metal for reuse, recycling, or disposal. Follow company and environmental rules for scrap and waste.
Advise customers about the materials necessary for different products.
Repair or make new parts for machinery.
May program computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinery.
Check new programs with computer simulations.
Confer with supervisors, CNC programmers, and engineers to exchange technical information.
Manufacturing Production Technicians
Manufacturing production technicians set up, test, and adjust manufacturing machinery and equipment.
In manufacturing, the smallest changes to a machine make the difference between a good product and a
bad one. All parts, materials, and machines must meet precise standards. It is a complex job to make
sure that the machines, equipment, and tools used to build a car engine work just right. That’s the job of
a manufacturing production technician.
Manufacturing production technicians work with engineers and technologists to make sure that
manufacturing goes well. Technicians work close to the production process.
Overseeing production is the main task of manufacturing production technicians. They also make sure
workers meet production quotas. They find and solve problems. Using hand tools such as calipers,
micrometers, height gauges, protractors, and ring gauges, they make adjustments to machines. They
inspect finished products to make sure they meet quality standards. They also ensure the production line
follows the rules for safety and environmental impact.
When needed, technicians move equipment or set up new machines. They test equipment to make sure
it works well. They often plan production schedules. Also, they start up and shut down machines used
to do the work.
The green sector of the economy requires new environmentally-friendly products and more efficient
manufacturing. Technicians prepare scrap for recycling or disposal. They also follow safety standards
when they handle toxic waste. Workers retool older factories to be more energy efficient.
Follow all regulations, policies, and procedures for health, safety, and environmental compliance.
Check finished products for quality and if they match customer specifications.
Set up and use production equipment.
Calibrate and adjust equipment to ensure quality, using tools such as calipers, micrometers, height gauges,
protractors, and ring gauges.
Set up safety equipment, making sure it works properly.
Check and adjust production processes or equipment for quality and productivity.
Check the production line to make sure it meets standards for safety and impact on the environment.
Test products or subassemblies for functionality or quality.
Plan and lay out work to meet production and schedule requirements.
Start up and shut down processing equipment.
Prepare waste for recycling or disposal. Follow rules for safe disposal of toxic waste.
Power Plant Operators
Power plant operators control the machinery that makes electricity. They also control the flow of power
over the lines.
Sometimes, an attractive person is described as having a "mega-watt smile." If this were literally true, it
would mean that person's mouth has one million watts of energy! To compare, remember that most
light bulbs are between 60 and 100 watts. In total, all the power plants in America manage about
600,000 megawatts. That's a VERY bright smile.
Power plant operators control machinery that makes electric power. They control and monitor boilers,
wells, turbines, and generators in power plants. Reactor operators control the reactors in nuclear power
plants. Power distributors and dispatchers control the flow of electricity through the transmission lines.
Power usually flows from the plant to substations that supply customers’ needs. But, some factories
have power plants on site. Operators may work at these places on fuel cells or small generators called
Power plant operators adjust controls to distribute power demands among the generators. They make
sure the plant follows safety rules and minimizes environmental impact. They also monitor the
instruments that regulate the flow of electricity from the plant. When power needs change, they start or
stop the generators. Then they connect or disconnect them from the circuits. Many operators now use
computers to keep records of switching operations. Computers can also track the loads on generators
and lines. In addition, operators often use computers to prepare reports of unusual incidents. They also
write reports of malfunctions or repairs that occur during their shift.
Operators in plants with automated control systems work mainly in a central control room. In older
plants, the controls are not centralized. In these plants, some operators control the flow of power from a
central point. Other operators work throughout the plant, checking valves, switches, and gauges.
In nuclear power plants, operators control equipment that affects the nuclear reactor. A licensed senior
reactor operator acts as the supervisor of the plant. This person oversees the operation of all the controls
in the control room. They direct workers to make adjustments so the plant runs correctly. Overseers
may test for different amounts or types of radiation. If there is an accident, they put the right clean-up
methods to use.
For newer power plants that change coal to gas or liquid, operators perform different tasks. They may
use equipment to remove carbon dioxide or recover sulfur. They may operate the gasification
equipment that changes the coal to a liquid fuel. This may include checking thermal barriers or cooling
Power distributors and dispatchers operate equipment that controls the flow of power. They operate
converters, transformers, and circuit breakers. Dispatchers monitor the equipment and record readings
at a pilot board. A pilot board is a map of the transmission grid system. It shows the status of circuits.
It also shows the connections with substations and industrial plants.
Dispatchers also anticipate power needs, such as those caused by changes in the weather. They call
control room operators to start or stop boilers and generators. They also handle emergencies such as line
failures. They route current around the affected areas. In addition, dispatchers operate and monitor the
equipment in substations. They step up or step down voltage and operate switchboard levers. These
actions control the flow of power in and out of the substations.
Power plant operators may repair and maintain the equipment.
Oversee power plant operations. Follow rules for efficiency, safety and impact on the environment.
Check gauges that show the flow of electricity from the power plant.
Start or stop generators, and connect or disconnect them from circuits.
Use computers to keep records of switching operations, or loads on generators, lines, and transformers. Give
others permission to make adjustments to different equipment.
Prepare reports of incidents, break downs, or maintenance during a shift. May use computers to write reports.
Work in central control room in automated plants. Work throughout the plant in older plants. Work on-site with
smaller generators at factories.
Operate equipment that controls the reactor in nuclear power plants.
May supervise the operation of all controls as senior reactor operator.
Operate converters, voltage transformers, and circuit breakers that control the flow of power to substations. May
run the systems to remove carbon dioxide or to change coal into gas.
Monitor equipment and record readings at a pilot board (map of the power line grid system). Test for types and
amounts of radiation to ensure correct containment.
Predict changes in power needs. Call control room operators to start or stop boilers or generators.
Handle emergencies by routing current around affected areas.
Operate and monitor equipment in substations to control the flow of power in and out.
May test and maintain plant equipment like thermal coatings and cooling systems.
Identify the correct methods used to clean up different problems at the power plant.
Quality Control Inspectors
Quality control inspectors examine products to make sure they meet standards.
When you think about it, purchasing products for yourself and perhaps your family requires a lot of
trust. For example, you expect that if you buy a bottle of aspirin, the pills will help you, not hurt you.
The same goes for food at a restaurant, and even clothes. You hope that the zippers won't snag, the
hems won’t wear out, or the buttons fall off. The main reason that we can have such a high level of trust
is because of the work of quality control. Without inspectors testing goods and services before they hit
the shelves, the quality of items for sale might not be what we expect.
Quality control inspectors monitor quality standards for products. They make sure companies follow
product manufacturing rules. Inspectors work at all stages of production. Some inspect the materials
that go into products. Others check products when they are partially complete. Another group of
inspectors tests completed products.
Quality control inspectors read blueprints or work orders to learn about products. They analyze the
information to learn how to measure or test products. Next, they collect product samples for testing.
Inspectors take measurements, look for visible defects, or perform tests. They may use testing
equipment such as thermometers, voltmeters, or moisture meters. Some inspectors use their senses
while testing products. For example, fabric testers use touch to determine the grade of fabrics. After
measuring samples, inspectors compare their findings against government or company standards. When
there is a problem, inspectors suggest changes in production methods. They keep records of their
findings. They compile the information and write reports for their supervisors.
Some jobs involve a quick visual check, while others may require a longer inspection. Quality control
inspectors may need to put together a product before they can test it. They may attach an instrument to
the part or to the production line. They read gauges and dials to determine if the equipment is running
properly. Inspectors may mark an item to show whether it has been accepted or rejected. When
something has been rejected, they may take it apart or throw it away. After testing is complete,
inspectors clean and repair equipment.
There are many types of quality control inspectors. Their titles reflect what they inspect. Mechanical
inspectors check to see if parts move correctly or are greased properly. Electrical and electronics
inspectors test the flow of electricity. Others may inspect precision devices or materials that make up
other products. Some may check green products or raw materials to see if they meet standards for low
ecological impact. Quality control inspectors may work by themselves. They may also work in teams,
or under a more experienced inspector. Some quality control inspectors supervise other testers. Others
write or install computer programs that do the testing for them.
Read work orders, manuals, or blueprints to learn what the products are and how to inspect them.
Collect samples for testing.
Check products and decide if they meet standards for quality or impact to the environment.
Position or connect parts or instruments for testing or operation.
Use tools or equipment.
Read dials and meters to see if equipment is running properly.
Classify and sort products by size, weight, or color.
Mark items for acceptance or rejection. Record test results.
Talk to staff and supervisors about inspection results and suggest ways to fix problems.
Take apart or discard products that do not meet standards for quality or impact to the environment.
Prepare test and inspection reports.
Clean and repair test equipment and machines.
Supervise testing staff or inspection teams.
Wind Energy Operations Managers (Emerging)
Wind energy operations managers oversee wind farm operations. They manage employees,
maintenance activities, financial activities, and planning.
What is the difference between a windmill and a wind turbine? Aren’t they the same thing? A windmill
(which has been around for about 1500 years) is a device that uses wind to perform a mechanical job. A
windmill can saw wood or grind grain, for example. A wind turbine is a tower that can look similar to a
windmill but transforms wind power into energy, which can be used to heat and provide lighting to
homes and businesses.
Even though human beings have used wind power and windmills for hundreds of years, wind energy
farms are a new crop in the green economy. Engineers and project managers design and build wind
energy farms. Wind energy operations managers set goals and oversee the day-to-day work of wind
energy farms. They make sure they meet production goals and keep the turbines running well.
One of the main tasks of a wind energy operations manager is to oversee the maintenance of wind farm
equipment. For example, they determine if towers or transformers need cleaning or repair. Wind
energy farms are located in rural areas, or even in the ocean. So, managers make sure roadways and
boats have access to the turbines. This ensures that workers, engineers, and technicians can reach them
Operations managers often must estimate costs for fixing or improving equipment. They also order
parts and tools needed for maintenance and upgrades.
As new farms begin to produce energy, operations managers work with engineers and project managers.
They use their communication skills with the wind farm’s customers, site managers, landowners, and
residents. Operations managers also work with local utilities and governments. They must be organized
and detail-oriented to prepare budgets and keep records. They may also prepare and approve contracts.
A big part of running a wind energy farm is managing employees. Managers supervise employees and
subcontractors. They make sure employees do good work and follow safety regulations. They oversee
budgets and costs, schedules, and timelines. Like any manager, they resolve any conflicts that may
arise, whether it is over a budget item or a deadline. They may also recruit and hire employees and
contractors. They often help train new employees, help them learn day-to-day tasks and ensure workers
comply with regulations and codes.
Wind Turbine Technicians
Wind turbine technicians assemble, maintain, and repair wind turbines used in energy generation.
Remember the old saying "Where there's smoke, there's fire?" Well the same goes for wind and energy.
Where there's wind, there's energy. Today, chances are that where there's wind energy, there's a wind
farm. Wind farms have several wind turbines clustered together. Wind turbines capture wind energy
and convert it to electricity for use by homeowners and businesses. While nature provides the wind, it's
humans that install and maintain the turbines.
Growing demand for wind energy creates the need for skilled workers who build and keep giant wind
turbine machines running. These workers are called wind turbine technicians. They play a key role in
ensuring the safety and service of wind turbine units. Technicians perform preventative maintenance.
When there is a problem, they do mechanical and electrical troubleshooting and repairs.
Each turbine tower undergoes maintenance periodically. During this checkup, technicians check
moving parts and repair and replace malfunctioning parts and equipment. Some tasks are simple, such
as changing filters and analyzing oil. Others are more complex, such as maintaining electrical motors,
hydraulics, transmissions, and drives.
Maintaining the turbines also involves checking computers. Each turbine has two computers, one at the
base and one at the top. Technicians climb a series of ladders to reach the top of the tower. Wind
turbine towers reach heights of 200 feet or more and technicians must carry their equipment up with
them. You must be in good shape and be comfortable working at heights to perform this job. At the
top, the technicians use the computers and other equipment to test for problems. Based on the results of
the tests, they may start, restart or repair the wind turbine.
Then, technicians inspect both the outside and inside of the turbine. Technicians get the inside of the
turbine by entering the nacelle, which is the box that holds the gears, motor, and generator. Much of the
regular maintenance that technicians perform requires them to squeeze down into the "hole" or bottom
of the nacelle. They use rags and cleanser to clean up oil and grease that has dripped off of the
Even though the parts used to operate the turbine are very large, they are also very delicate and could
fail if not kept very clean. While in the nacelle, technicians also change fluid filters in the gearbox,
which is the part that spins the generator. If there is a problem with the blades, technicians must climb
out of the nacelle, over the blades, and into the cone.
Technicians also inspect the outside of the turbine by climbing on top of it. They make sure all of the
instruments are secure and the fiberglass top is in working order and not damaged. Teamwork is
important for technicians since usually two or more work together and safety and a smooth-running
work environment are critical. Maintaining tools and safety equipment is also important.
There are currently an estimated 25,000 wind turbines in use throughout the world. Due to the rapidly
growing number of wind farms, many technicians travel throughout the U.S to work at these farms.
Some positions require international travel. Some even train others to build or repair these giant
Buyers and Purchasing Agents
Buyers and purchasing agents try to buy the best products at the lowest possible prices.
Take an ordinary bottle of shower gel. You bought it because it smells nice, is affordable, and has
special ingredients for dry skin. Have you ever thought how that shower gel was made? Maybe you
picture large vats of bubbly liquid being stirred. But what about the different ingredients that go into the
vats? Maybe now you are picturing a scientist in a white lab coat, testing the latest recipe. Yet, that
scientist is not the only person involved in creating the perfect shower gel. Someone is needed to buy
the glycerin, preservatives, and lathering agents. These products all come from different vendors and
suppliers. Some of these products might affect the natural environment less than other products.
Buyers and purchasing agents buy goods and services for their companies. These goods and services are
then resold. Those who buy finished goods, such as clothes or furniture, are called buyers. Those who
buy the parts and materials that help make goods are called purchasing agents or purchasers. These two
types of workers have similar duties.
Before buying any goods, buyers and purchasers research suppliers. Suppliers are the people who sell
the goods and services. Buyers and purchasing agents review the history and quality of the suppliers.
They go to trade shows and examine the goods that are on display. They may travel to factories to
examine products. Buyers and purchasing agents review suppliers’ products for prices, quality,
availability, environmental impact, and selection.
Once buyers and purchasing agents find a few good suppliers, they solicit bids. This means they give
suppliers a list of what they want. Suppliers then give buyers and purchasing agents a written statement
of the cost for all those goods. Buyers and purchasing agents try to bargain for a lower price on the
goods. They may take a higher priced product if it is better for the environment. Once they are happy
with the price, buyers or purchasers sign a contract with the supplier. Buyers and purchasing agents
continue to monitor the contract to ensure the agreements are met. If there are any problems, they work
with suppliers to resolve them.
Purchasing agents must know how their products are created. They must know what types of material
work best for manufacturing. They also look at which materials have less of an environmental impact.
They must order parts to be there when production needs them. If the parts are missing, many
businesses have to stop production. If purchasing agents don’t plan well, companies lose money.
Buyers are rarely told what to buy. Instead, they buy what they think appeals to customers. Thus,
buyers must be aware of the latest fashion trends. Buyers also watch their competitors and see what
they are buying. Many customers want to buy products that are environmentally friendly. Buyers and
purchasing agents look for green products to sell. They decide when and how to introduce green
products to their customers.
Buyers and purchasing agents often specialize in what they buy. For example, a buyer for a department
store may buy only shoes. A purchasing agent may buy one type of commodity, such as steel, cotton, or
wheat. However, in small companies, one buyer may buy all the products. Buyers and purchasers keep
track of economic information that relates to their product. Thus, they track market conditions, price
trends, environmental issues, or the futures market. Many buyers and purchasing agents use computers
to track this data. They also use computers to monitor inventory and sales.
Some buyers and purchasing agents are supervised by managers. These managers handle the more
difficult purchases. Other buyers and purchasing agents direct staff. For example, they may teach staff
about the qualities of new products. They may also approve advertising campaigns and recommend
In some companies, buyers and purchasing agents are involved in product development. Their
knowledge of a part’s cost, availability, and suitability to the job can help with the design. Another
recent change is team buying. Buyers and purchasing agents work closely with other staff when
deciding what to buy. They may talk with engineers and quality control staff about the best parts to
order. They may consider the environmental impact of shipping products. Buyers or purchase agents
might choose a product that is made nearby to reduce the energy needed to ship it.
Purchasing staff who work for the federal government may be called contract specialists. They usually
use sealed bids. Different suppliers submit their product prices on an anonymous bid. The specialist
chooses the bid that is the lowest. Contract specialists must follow many laws. Since the laws change
occasionally, contract specialists must stay informed.
Farm product buyers work closely with farmers. They may negotiate contracts for farmers to produce
certain goods, such as milk, soybeans, or Christmas trees. They may arrange for the purchase of seeds
for the farmer to grow. Farm product buyers spend a lot of time outside surveying the land. They may
advise farm workers or growers how to increase their production. They may also help farmers learn to
grow produce that meets organic standards. They also may write their suggestions in publications that
reach larger audiences.
Choose products to sell. Consider quality, size or environmental soundness.
Locate and arrange for purchase of goods.
Compare transportation choices to lower energy use for moving products.
Direct and coordinate workers' activities.
Analyze product information. This may include what is a good price to pay or which product has less effect on the
Negotiate lowest price with suppliers and vendors.
Formulate policies and rules for placing bids for goods or services. Consider impact on the environment.
Award contracts to suppliers.
Evaluate and monitor contracts to ensure promises are met.
Confer with vendors to discuss new products, green products, or problems with orders.
Use computer software to manage sales records and inventory.
Identify customer and store needs. This includes customers’ efforts to buy green products.
Determine the best way to introduce new green products.
Set or recommend prices on products. This includes green products.
Develop and approve advertising materials.
Advertize green products based on customer wants and needs.
Teach staff about new products.
Monitor competitor's sales activities.
Research environmental trends and economic conditions to predict buying patterns.
Arrange purchase of equipment, fertilizer, or feed.
Marketing managers develop marketing plans to sell products or services.
If you heard that a company planned to use a set of computer-generated polar bears to sell its soda, you
would probably think the idea was pretty ridiculous. What do animals - especially polar bears - have to
do with a soft drink? They need hot cocoa, not a cold drink! But the Coca-Cola bears are still well-
known today, even though their ads are not as common as they were when they first came out in 1993.
In fact, the polar bears became a product themselves in addition to a marketing idea.
Several people are involved in the marketing process, but the manager is usually the center of it all.
Marketing managers begin the marketing process by gathering information. First, they analyze the
product or service they want to sell. Then, they create a budget for the marketing process, or campaign.
Next, they may do research to find out who wants the product. They also check to see if a certain group
of people or a demographic like the product more than another group of people. For example, some
products appeal more to a certain age group or more to girls than to boys. Managers also talk to
merchandise buyers to find out what is selling in stores. Finally, they research what people think of the
product. They analyze the results and use the data to make their marketing plan.
They work with product development researchers and market research managers to develop potential
markets for products and services. Once they test the product, managers select the markets most likely
to buy it. Managers set prices by checking which price will make the most profit, but still appeal to
customers. They create an advertising plan to introduce the product to the market. They work with the
packaging designers. They may negotiate contracts with vendors and distributors. Coworkers, such as
sales managers and executives, receive reports on these plans and their results.
By reading trade journals and attending trade shows, marketing managers look for trends in buying and
selling. When managers find new trends, they think of ideas for new products. If a new product is
created, marketing managers oversee its development. They also work with advertising managers to
decide how to make the product appealing to buyers.
In the green economy, marketing managers may work with companies to adopt green business methods.
For example, they might find that customers want products with less packaging. Managers would then
work with manufacturers to make products with less packaging. They may also study other companies
to learn about their successful green marketing strategies.
Marketing managers handle conflicts, such as copyright infringement, which has to do with preventing
competitors from copying merchandise. They also handle matters of royalty sharing, which has to do
with sharing profits with people outside the company who may have helped to invent products or
Marketing managers use computers to write marketing plans and analyze research. They may also hire,
train, and supervise marketing and sales staff.
Develop strategies to sell products and services. Look at factors like cost or impact on the natural environment.
Analyze markets for products and services. Study popular trends and sales forecasts. This includes demand for
new technology and green products.
Review product development. Include factors such as the ecological impact of the product or how much money it
Publicize products and services. Use different factors to attract customers. Use environmental information to
market green products.
Coordinate promotional activities for marketing products and services.
Negotiate contracts with vendors and distributors.
Keep track of market trends through EPA reports, trade journals, and shows.
Consult with buyers about products or services. Look at factors like the demand for products or which products
have the smallest impact on the environment.
Solve problems, such as copyright infringement and royalty sharing, with those outside the company.
Hire, train, and supervise marketing and sales staff.
Oversee market research studies. Analyze their findings.
Prepare reports of marketing activities.
Promote product sustainability by reducing packaging.
Public Relations Specialists
Public relations specialists help build a positive public image for organizations.
Sometimes, a publicity campaign becomes so well-known that slogans become catchphrases. The
phrase "got milk?" has become so familiar that other companies have parodied it. ("Goat milk?" was
one popular variation.) The National Milk Mustache Campaign, which asked if we'd had some milk
lately, was designed to increase milk consumption and teach people about the benefits of drinking milk.
The campaign is an example of successful public relations.
Public relations (PR) specialists design ways to educate the public about a client's products,
accomplishments, or goals. To do this, they study what an organization is all about. They ask questions
about the product and how it compares with the competition. PR specialists also may research public
opinion. They learn who the customers are, and what image they have of the company and its products.
Once they gather this information, PR specialists put together a plan for the best way to meet their
client's goals. A common goal is to build a relationship with the community. PR specialists create
events where the public can meet the company or individual. They may organize fund-raising events,
speaking engagements, or trade shows. They usually attend the events to make sure everything goes as
planned. Prior to an event, PR specialists may counsel staff about how to answer the public’s questions
about tough issues. Public relations specialists may also represent the company at government, social,
or business gatherings. They may write speeches for their employers to give at events, or they may
make the presentation themselves.
Public relations specialists spend much of their time writing. They prepare and write internal and
external newsletters. For example, a PR specialist at a hospital may write one newsletter for employees
and another for patients. They also write and edit annual reports to inform shareholders about the health
of the company. PR specialists also develop press kits. These may include articles, photographs, or
tapes that give the press facts about an upcoming event or an important social issue. Many times PR
specialists work within a small budget. If a reporter prints or broadcasts the story, an agency gets free
Web and social media skills are becoming more necessary for PR specialists. Many are creating and
managing blogs about their clients. In addition, tracking what is being written about clients on the
internet is a growing part of the job.
Public relations workers in the government are called press secretaries, information officers, public
affairs specialists, or communications specialists. These PR workers keep the public informed about the
activities of government agencies and officials. For example, the President’s press secretary meets with
the press almost every day and gives a summary of the President’s activities.
PR specialists may also work to promote a company's product. They may work with an advertising firm
to arrange a promotional campaign on radio, television, the internet, or through the press. For example,
they might arrange to give away samples of a new green product at a farmers’ market. PR specialists
work closely with advertising firms to ensure the advertisement meets a company’s goals. In some
cases, PR specialists decide how much advertising space to buy, and how long the ad will run to make
the biggest impact on the public.
Organizations that work for social or environmental issues may employ PR specialists. They might craft
a response to a particular incident, such as an oil spill or ground water pollution. They may also create
plans, brochures, or events to promote an important issue.
In small businesses, PR workers may deal with all aspects of the job. They contact people, plan and do
research, and prepare materials to send out. They may also handle advertising and marketing. In large
businesses, PR workers often specialize in one of these areas.
Prepare and edit newsletters or annual reports to send to employees, the public, or stockholders.
Establish and maintain relationships with the public.
Prepare and distribute press kits to the media. May include press releases, photographs, or tape recordings.
Design ways to inform the public about clients' products, goals, or long term plans.
Confer with graphic artists and support staff to coordinate production of ads and promotions..
Arrange events for the public to meet clients or organizations.
Study organizations or individuals. Learn their objectives and needs to be able to promote them.
Consult with advertising agencies or staff to arrange promotional campaigns.
Provide advice to clients about business decisions.
Counsel clients about effective ways to communicate with the public.
Buy advertising space and time to promote goods such as green products or new technology.
Represent clients, such as businesses or groups working for social justice, at events.
Research the public's opinion before introducing new products.
Work with the public in response to ecological accidents or conflicts.
Aerospace engineers design, construct, and test parts for aircraft, spacecraft, and weapons.
In the desert of Afghanistan, the CIA made changes in the field to a remote-controlled spy plane named
Predator. The Predator was originally designed to take photos of enemy targets. The CIA added bombs
to the wings of the Predator and sent it out on its first mission to take out Taliban targets. Meanwhile,
back in the United States, aerospace engineers were, and are still, working hard to develop their own
unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). The idea and use of UCAVs is not new. However,
engineers now have the computer and construction technology to make smart combat robots possible.
Aerospace engineers design parts and equipment for aircraft, satellites, weapons, and spacecraft. Those
who work with aircraft are called aeronautical engineers. Those who work with spacecraft are called
astronautical engineers. Both types do similar tasks. The primary difference between these workers is
they design products for use in different environments.
Some engineers create new products or systems to reduce the impact of aircraft use on the environment.
For example, they test biofuels for use in aircraft engines. They may also invent new materials to reduce
weight and fuel use.
These engineers use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to design, evaluate, and modify products.
When the design is complete, engineers develop a model of their design. They estimate cost,
environmental impact, and time needed to complete the project. They also schedule testing. They write
reports with this information and present them to managers and customers for approval.
To test new equipment, aerospace engineers plan and conduct research. Tests include environmental,
operational, or stress tests. They look at results from these tests. Engineers compare the results with
industry rules, environmental laws, and customer needs. They may change designs to improve speed or
reduce pollution. They record the results to help with future testing.
After testing, they pick companies to build the product. They compare companies and look at previous
work. If their company builds the product, engineers manage the work. They write handbooks to
explain the equipment and troubleshoot equipment problems. They also work to meet environmental
standards or improve production time.
Aerospace engineers often work on one aircraft system. This could include wing design, or the systems
for guidance and navigation. Other areas are instrumentation, communication, and production methods.
They may also specialize in one type of aerospace product. Their focus may be on rockets, satellites,
jets, or helicopters.
Design aeronautical or aerospace products or systems.
Direct and coordinate activities of the teams that design and make aerospace products.
Plan and coordinate research of customers' problems with aircraft or aerospace vehicles.
Plan and conduct tests on models of aircraft and aerospace systems and equipment.
Test new aircraft building materials for quality and environmental impact.
Develop design plans for products or systems. This includes ways to reduce pollution, determine testing methods
and meet quality standards.
Create new designs and products to meet environmental standards and laws.
Evaluate product inspections and reports.
Review performance reports and test documents. Inspect products for damage, mechanical problems, and
Design filters to reduce aircraft engine pollution.
Test biofuels for use in aircraft.
Use computers to create, test, and change designs.
Write technical reports and memos for staff, customers, and management.
Analyze project plans and engineering data to decide if building a project is possible. They look at the cost, the
environmental impact, and the time needed to build the project.
Direct programs that reduce pollution, improve production methods and technology.
Evaluate and approve the companies that will make the products or systems.
Maintain records of performance reports for future reference.
Civil engineers plan and design roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and water systems.
They may also supervise the construction.
The profession of civil engineering dates back to ancient times. For example, the Great Wall of China is
considered a civil engineering gem. The 2,300-year-old wall stretches over 6,000 miles! It guarded
against invaders from the north. More recently, workers completed the "Chunnel" in 1993. Also called
the Channel Tunnel, the Chunnel connects England and France. Most of the Chunnel is underwater,
making it the longest undersea tunnel ever built. It lets people travel quickly between England and
Civil engineers plan and design roads, water systems, or structures. First, they collect information and
analyze a large amount of data. For example, they test the soil from project sites. The soil must hold the
weight of the structure. They test proposed materials for strength. They make plans to reduce pollution.
They also survey project sites. In addition, civil engineers study traffic patterns or environmental
conditions to identify possible problems. They analyze reports, maps, and blueprints. They compute
energy use, water flow rates, or load and grade requirements. They also estimate costs, materials,
equipment, environmental risk, and labor to determine if the project is possible.
Millions of people depend on projects created by civil engineers. In today's green economy, project
goals always include using less water, less electricity, and creating less pollution. These projects reduce
the impact of all these people on the environment. They also manage projects to clean up polluted areas.
All projects must follow safety and environmental regulations.
Civil engineers use computers for most of their work. For example, they produce and analyze designs
on computers. They also use computers to test how completed projects work. Engineers use computers
to write many kinds of reports. For example, they write bid proposals and environmental impact
Throughout the building process, civil engineers work with other engineers. They often work on teams,
especially for large or complex projects. Some civil engineers direct construction at the project site.
During construction, they inspect the site to monitor work progress. They also make sure that the
project follows the design and meets environmental and safety standards.
Some civil engineers specialize in one area. Specialties include environmental engineering, structural
engineering, water resources, and transportation. They may also supervise other engineers or manage
Plan and design structures, transportation or water systems.
Create plans and designs so projects use less water and energy.
Provide advice to other workers. This includes design, construction, repairs, or changes.
Analyze reports, maps, geological data, and other information to plan projects.
Identify how projects could avoid risks to the environment.
Analyze industrial processes so factories make products with less pollution.
Design and manage projects to clean up polluted areas.
Inspect project sites to monitor progress. Ensure construction follows the design.
Ensure projects follow safety and environmental regulations.
Manage work at project sites.
Survey project sites.
Estimate quantities and costs of materials, equipment, or labor needed to complete projects.
Prepare or present reports. These include bid proposals or environmental impact statements.
Test soils and materials for strength.
Consult with other engineers on engineering teams, especially for complex projects.
Conduct studies of traffic patterns or environmental conditions to identify engineering problems.
Use computers for writing, designing, and analyzing.
May specialize in one area, such as structural or environmental engineering.
May supervise other engineers or manage departments.
Climate Change Analysts (Emerging)
Climate change analysts study weather patterns to see how and why our modern climate is different
from the climate of the past.
Human beings have always experienced extreme weather. Hurricanes, floods, and droughts have
happened for thousands of years. Weather is difficult to predict. Places that normally receive enough
rain might receive too much or too little. Glacier National Park in Montana may soon have no glaciers.
Understanding changing weather patterns is vital in helping people adapt. Climate change analysts work
to understand how and why these changes happen.
Climate change analysts usually work in either public policy or scientific research. Those with a science
focus create mathematical models of climate change. They work with others who gather the data. They
try to understand the patterns shown by the data and report on what the data means. Climate change
analysts who focus on policy use scientific findings to help lawmakers, corporations, and the general
public make climate-related decisions.
Most climate change analysts work inside offices or laboratories. A typical workweek runs from
Monday through Friday, but those who work in public policy or education may also work during
evenings or on weekends. It is important that these analysts have strong math skills. They use
computers to analyze data. They write reports or speeches. They need excellent communication skills.
They may talk about climate change and public policy at meetings or hearings.
To prepare for meetings, they gather a wide variety of data. They study research from other climate
change scientists. They might report this information to politicians, government offices, or business
leaders. Schools might invite them to come and speak to students. Government leaders may ask them to
explain how certain laws affect climate change. They may also help write new laws that promote
renewable energy or fuels that give off fewer greenhouse gasses.
Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Electrical and electronics engineers design, develop, test, and maintain electrical and electronic
Electrical and electronics engineers do important work. They design, develop, and test devices people
use every day. These devices create power, help people talk to one another, and provide lighting for
homes and businesses. Engineers often focus their work in one area. They might specialize in cell
phones or electric cars.
Electrical and electronics engineers talk to clients about the product they want built. Clients may want
systems for commercial, industrial, or residential use. Engineers design systems and equipment.
Engineers almost always use computer-aided design (CAD) and engineering software to make
calculations and blueprints. They factor in the environmental impact of the product or system. This
includes the energy efficiency of the system and the choice of materials to build it. Their designs must
follow rules for safety and environmental impact.
These engineers play an important role in companies that build new technologies. If they work for green
technology companies, they may develop electronics that use less power. For example, the car industry
needs electrical engineers to build very efficient parts for electric cars. This includes the batteries,
brakes, motors, or sound systems.
Next, engineers work with a team to put the system together. It takes many steps to build these
products. Engineers may build smaller components for large systems, such as power inverters for solar
energy systems. They make sure the workers install the parts of the system correctly. During
construction, they identify problems and solve them. After construction, engineers do tests and
maintenance. They work with others to make systems work more efficiently.
Create designs by looking at what the systems need to do, environmental impact, costs, and customer needs.
Design electrical devices like music players, lighting, or wind turbines.
Make calculations and create blueprints for equipment and systems.
Use CAD (computer-aided design) and other building software.
Fine tune engineering designs. Consider cost, service, or impact on the natural environment.
Plan the layout of electrical systems. Use natural lighting and other options to use less electricity.
Oversee work on electric devices and systems. Build, test, adjust, and install the devices and systems.
Build smaller components of larger systems. This includes inverters for solar panels and controls for lighting.
Inspect systems to make sure the work meets standards for quality, safety, and environmental impact.
Discuss equipment and systems with coworkers and clients.
Evaluate operation of equipment and systems.
Test ways to improve energy efficiency for electronics. These include cell phones, computers, and televisions.
Build equipment and systems that do work more efficiently. Select parts that work together the best or adjust how
the devices work at different times.
Fix problems with electrical equipment and systems. This may include finding the problem, making a repair plan,
and fixing the problem.
Research and invent new technologies that use less energy.
Create systems for use in electric cars. This includes motors, batteries, and charging systems.
Develop budgets that show the full costs of construction.
Electronics Engineering Technologists
Electronics engineering technologists help engineers design, test, and use new electronics systems or
The word electronic describes anything that has to do with the flow of electrons. Electrons are atomic
particles with a negative charge. Electronic technology works by controlling the flow of electrons. The
growing demand for electronic devices means a growing demand for electronics engineering careers.
Electronic engineering technologists apply electrical theory to building products. Technologists use
their knowledge of math and science to design and test circuits, systems, devices, and networks.
The field of electronics is very broad. Technologists work in many settings. They may work for
research laboratories, government agencies, or for electronics factories. They can apply their knowledge
to alternative energy, medicine and biology, or computer science. They use their skills and knowledge
to create anything from robots to new ways to manage energy utilities. In the field of manufacturing,
electronics engineering technologists may develop green technology or ways to make factories more
They may build systems that make cell phones and TVs use less electricity. Technologists may make it
easier to power homes with energy from the sun, using photovoltaic panels.
The job duties of a technologist depend on their specific field. But each job has some of the same tasks.
They research and analyze a system, process, or new design. Technologists also design and test new
ideas and prototypes of new devices. They may decide to fix or adjust a piece of equipment. They may
supervise and inspect a newly installed computer network and suggest minor changes.
Electronics engineering technologists use specialized hand tools to repair, adjust, or maintain equipment.
They also use computer-aided-design (CAD) software to make digital designs and images.
Technologists must be computer savvy. They also need to understand all parts of the devices and
systems they work with.
Test and use engineering designs to make electronic devices, systems, and microchips.
Test and implement digital signal processing, network analysis, and computer engineering.
Manage putting together and use of electronic equipment and systems.
Test machine and process control requirements. Create device and controller specifications to work in different
Supervise the building and testing of new technology. This includes solar power equipment such as inverters or
power management systems.
Check new equipment to adjust or fix problems.
Match software and hardware so they work together.
Use design software to make drawings of controls, instruments, sensors, and networks.
Fix equipment using hand tools and precision instruments.
Choose the correct equipment, components, and systems for projects.
Test systems to increase energy efficiency. Use new power sources and systems.
Set up and operate test equipment to diagnose, test, and check how well it works. This includes smaller
components and whole systems.
Energy engineers design, develop, and evaluate energy-related projects and programs. They study ways
to reduce energy costs or improve energy efficiency.
Do the lights turn on automatically when you enter a room? Does your work or school building stay at
the right temperature? Not too hot, not too cold? Is the fan in your bathroom on a timer? All this is the
result of work done by energy engineers. They find better ways to use energy. You will probably never
see energy engineers. But, you benefit from their work every day.
Energy engineers find ways to use energy efficiently. For example, an energy engineer may help a
business set up a good daylighting system. This uses natural light rather than electric light. Or, an
energy engineer can design a better, more efficient heating and cooling system for an office building or a
Energy engineers use math and science skills. Attention to detail is very important. They test plans,
systems, and operations to check energy use. They may focus on an existing system to identify ways to
change and improve it. Energy engineers also design, test, and use new designs and systems. They
create energy management plans to run different systems in the buildings. These systems include
heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and lighting.
Engineers review many factors to conserve or reduce energy use. They may visit job and construction
sites to inspect systems. While working on a new design or building, they may work as part of a team.
The team may monitor budgets, specifications, and legal requirements. They may work with others to
decide on the final design or system.
Find ways to save energy. Recommend methods that use energy to do work more efficiently.
Manage energy conservation projects from start to finish. Monitor costs, timelines, and laws. Ensure the high
quality of work on the project.
Conduct energy audits to check energy use, costs, or conservation measures.
Monitor and analyze energy use.
Perform energy modeling, measurement, and verification.
Oversee design or construction aspects related to energy such as energy engineering, energy management, and
Make jobsite observations, field inspections, or sub-metering to collect data for energy conservation tests.
Review plans and specifications to check energy efficiency. Determine feasibility of designs.
Inspect energy systems. This includes the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). Check lighting for
energy use or savings.
Create schedules for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and other automatic systems.
Check construction design such as detail and assembly drawings, calculations, system layouts, or specifications.
Engineering managers plan and design new products and systems.
Engineers are very creative people whose ideas gave us things such as Scotch tape, Post-It Notes, and
even Silly Putty. Not to mention things like bridges, cars, computers, and motors. Engineering
managers are just as creative. However, they also make sure that projects get done.
Engineering managers use advanced technical skills to oversee many types of projects. Projects may
include building a new highway, designing a production line, or installing a water system. Engineering
managers oversee the planning and building of new factories and plants. They oversee the design of
new products. Sometimes they improve the way products are made. Engineering managers set goals
and establish policies and work procedures for meeting those goals.
Engineering managers review plans and contracts and approve proposals. They propose budgets and
timelines for completing projects. They also keep projects running on schedule by working to meet
deadlines. Managers identify problems when they occur, and work to find solutions to them.
Engineering managers make decisions about the money and staff needed to complete projects. They
hire and assign tasks to engineers, computer specialists, and other employees. They review work and set
policies for employees. Managers oversee the purchase of new equipment and the redesign of old
equipment. They may also design programs to reduce the impact of the projects on the environment.
Engineering managers need good communication skills. They meet with other managers to coordinate
work on projects. They talk and negotiate with suppliers. They meet with contractors. Managers
sometimes speak in public to gain support or funding for a project. They look at projects from many
points of view to help set goals. These points of view include the social, environmental, or legal impacts
Engineering managers coordinate maintenance of equipment. They monitor and test the quality of
equipment. They may test the environmental impact of new technology. Research teams work with
them to produce new products.
Plan, manage, and lead projects for civil, environmental, or industrial services.
Work with others to create project specifications, goals, and procedures. This includes managers, contractors,
Prepare budgets, proposals, and contracts.
Assign project tasks, such as design and field work, to employees.
Estimate costs and propose budgets for meeting goals.
Direct the production of new products, services, or processes.
Assess projects from many points of view to see if construction should go forward.
Create and implement better methods to perform services. This may include raising the quality of work or
lowering the impact on the natural environment.
Review, recommend, and approve contracts and cost estimates.
Administer projects. This includes the review and writing of reports, tracking costs, and billing.
Give presentations to clients. Explain proposals, reports, or findings.
Prepare reports and speak to the public to get support for public projects.
Help set goals for the knowledge, technology, and other factors needed to do a project. Other factors may include
the impacts of projects on people, the law, and the natural environment.
Stay up to date on new research, technology, and practices. This includes how the changes affect architecture or
the natural environment.
Environmental Engineering Technicians (Emerging)
Environmental engineering technicians survey effects of pollution on the environment. They report their
findings using charts and graphs.
Pollution in the air is reaching unhealthy levels. Currently, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Bakersfield,
California are among the most polluted U.S. cities. Pollution is a major problem in today's world;
however, we can all breathe a little easier with environmental engineering technicians on the job.
Environmental engineering technicians assist environmental engineers and scientists. They help to
prevent, control, and eliminate pollution. Some technicians check facilities to ensure they follow
environmental laws. Others do field tests to check the air we breathe and the water we drink.
In industry, environmental engineering technicians perform work like disposing of company waste.
They make sure companies follow federal, state, and local environmental regulations. This includes
rules dealing with toxic materials. They inspect work sites, complete paperwork, collect samples, and
work with different contractors to dispose of the toxic waste in a safe way.
When a company buys land, or plans changes in its facilities or processes, they may ask an
environmental technician for help. Technicians may create models of pollution treatment systems to
show how they work. They may make models to show the ways pollution impacts the surrounding area.
Some environmental engineering technicians search for polluted areas. To do this, they may collect
samples of air, water, or soil. This involves setting up and using lab equipment. If the tests show
pollution, these technicians determine the type and source of the pollution. They may take photos to
document their findings.
Once they find the source, technicians consult with engineers to decide how to clean up the pollution.
Technicians may help pick the right technology to clean up an area. They test equipment used to restore
water, soil, or air. Once work is complete, the technicians may clean the toxins off the equipment.
Environmental engineering technicians use work plans to schedule activities. They also update
computer files, and read documents. Technicians work in laboratories testing samples. They record
data and test results. They also prepare samples for shipping. If needed, they order supplies and lab
equipment. Sometimes, they may assist an engineer in creating tools to clean up pollution. Technicians
also operate, maintain, clean, and repair tools.
As environmental engineering technicians gain experience, they can assist on larger and more important
projects. They can also oversee other technicians on large-scale projects.
Some environmental engineering technicians work in offices. Specialist technicians work outdoors in
all types of weather with hazardous materials or solid waste. Those who work at industrial sites may
work whenever the plant is operating, including nights and weekends. Emergencies, like toxic spills,
may require work beyond a regular full-time schedule.
Environmental engineers create solutions to environmental problems affecting the welfare of humans
When most people hear the word "farm," they think of fields of corn or rows of beans. What do you
think of when you hear the term "land farm?" A land farm is a contained area of dirt that doesn't grow
plants. Instead it grows "bugs" or rather, tiny bacteria and other organisms. Fertilizers are applied and
the soil is tilled to help make growing conditions great for these organisms so they will eat. But what
are they eating? They are eating petroleum products in the soil.
Petroleum products include gasoline and oils. They get into soil when storage tanks leak or when there
is an oil spill. Land farming is just one technique environmental engineers use to clean the soil.
Cleaning soil, air, or water is called remediation. Chemicals and other substances found in the
environment where they should not be are called contaminants.
Environmental engineers find or analyze contaminants in soil, air, and water. There may have been a
reported leak of a substance. They may prepare permit applications for industrial facilities to emit
pollutants to the air or water. They may evaluate property conditions for a company looking to purchase
property. Their first step is to conduct a visit to the property to investigate. They obtain samples of soil
and water for testing. Once they have collected information, they write a report that summarizes their
When contamination is found, environmental engineers help their clients find the best ways to solve the
problem. They present options and costs. They help their clients understand the environmental rules
that apply to them. Next, they write a proposal for the work to be done. The proposal includes cost
estimates and a projected time line.
Environmental engineers coordinate the work done on environmental projects. They hire subcontractors
and obtain required permits. They also arrange with landfills to haul and dispose of contaminated soil.
Another part of their job is to make sure work is completed safely. They create health and safety plans
for each project. The plan outlines procedures in the event of an emergency. It may also require
workers to test the air at the site to make sure harmful vapors are not present. Energy engineers explore
better ways to use energy resources.
Environmental engineers often design new equipment to clean up a site. They create systems or develop
techniques to clean air, soil, or water. Engineers may write articles for the Internet that address these
Environmental engineers also evaluate the impact an activity will have on the environment. For
example, if a large shopping mall is to be built on farmland, they will write an environmental impact
report. They look at how the new shopping mall will affect traffic. They consider how the construction
and placement of the mall will affect the area's water and air. Some engineers may inform others of
these findings by giving public reports.
Write and review environmental reports.
Work with scientists, government regulators, and clients to solve environmental problems.
Manage and coordinate environmental projects and programs.
Create project budgets and track costs.
Develop site health and safety plans that workers follow.
Design equipment or methods used to improve environmental conditions of soil, air, or water.
Perform field work, such as sample collection, surveying, and monitoring.
Help organizations find ways to clean up contaminated sites and protect people and the environment. Give public
reports on the status of these projects.
Inspect industrial and government facilities. Check that facilities operate efficiently and follow environmental
Monitor progress of environmental improvement programs. Set up remote controlled equipment to collect data.
Obtain and update plans, permits, and operating procedures. Prepare required paperwork for waste disposal.
Read and understand environmental rules. Help organizations understand the impact and the importance of the
Assess the environmental impact of activities on air, water, and land. Write articles for the web about these
Attend conferences and seminars to stay current on methods and technology.
Fuel Cell Engineers (Emerging)
Fuel cell engineers design and test fuel cell technology to generate power. They use this technology to
power everyday items as well as large buildings.
To most people, the word “fuel” is the same thing as “gas”. However, in a fuel cell, there is no need to
use gas or diesel (which comes from oil). Instead, by combining hydrogen and oxygen in an
electrochemical process -- very different from an engine -- energy is created. This energy has almost no
emissions and it’s very efficient. There is high hope for fuel cells as a clean, efficient energy
Fuel cell engineers develop fuel cell technology and methods for storing hydrogen. While many people
have heard of automobiles run by fuel cells, most of us don’t know that things such as cell phones or
space heaters can also use fuel cells.
When designing fuel cells for a new application, engineers usually work in teams to come up with an
overall concept. Some engineers focus only on one part of a fuel cell, such as the assembly, stacks, or
other components. They develop prototypes of the technology, often using complicated software.
Engineers determine the features of the fuel cell. These include its purpose, where it needs to function,
or how long it should last. They must determine the best materials for the fuel cell. If needed, they
develop new materials. Finally, they decide the best methods to test the fuel cell's performance and
Testing and analysis is a large part of developing a fuel cell project. Engineers use sophisticated
instruments and diagnostics to see how well a fuel cell works. Often they use computer models to
simulate how a fuel cell works before they test a prototype. In all testing, engineers look to see how
much energy a fuel cell puts out, how emissions can be lowered even further, and how to make the fuel
cell even more efficient. In the early stages of testing, it is common for prototypes to fail or perform
poorly. Engineers analyze several factors to see why the fuel cell didn’t perform. They make
adjustments and repeat the testing process.
In some cases, engineers work to integrate fuel cells with hybrid engines and motors. This means they
must have knowledge of combustion engines as well as fuel cell technology.
Fuel cell engineers must have advanced skills in higher-level math and science. They must be proficient
in using complicated computer software. They must also be both detail-minded and creative. It is
expected that this career will grow quickly as the focus on renewable energy grows. Engineers in this
field must constantly read literature and attend conferences to keep up with developments in the field.
Fuel Cell Technicians (Emerging)
Fuel cell technicians install, operate, and maintain fuel cell systems.
Can you imagine one day driving up to a service station and filling up with water instead of gas? That
could very well be the future as fuel cell technology grows. In fact, fuel cells can be used to power not
just cars, but entire buildings, reducing our reliance on coal and oil. Fuel cell technology is going to be
a big part of the “green” economy. Fuel cells might replace the fossil fuel engines we now use in cars
Fuel cell technicians play a key part in this growing field. Where engineers spend a lot of time
designing fuel cell technology, technicians are more hands-on. They often work with engineers to build
fuel cell prototypes. Technicians may also work on gasoline engines during tests.
Using sophisticated equipment, technicians follow plans to build the fuel cell. For testing, they install,
adjust, and use a variety of tools and devices. They check to make sure fuel cells meet requirements for
energy output and long service life. Since the cells work best at certain temperatures, technicians also
check the system that heats and cools the fuel cell. They monitor the fuel system and emissions. Fuel
cells should make low to zero emissions.
If tests show something is wrong, they report this to engineers and may make suggestions for
modifications. An important part of the testing process is documenting every step and every result.
Therefore, technicians must have an eye for detail. They must also be proficient using computers.
Fuel cell technicians work in the field by installing fuel cells in vehicles and structures. As in testing,
they follow plans and specifications. They make adjustments where necessary. They also perform
repairs where needed. Technicians often build and test cells in electrical and power plant systems.
Technicians maintain testing equipment to keep it functioning well. They troubleshoot equipment when
it is malfunctioning.
Geographic Information System Specialists (Emerging)
Geographic information systems (GIS) specialists use computers to analyze and present information.
They often make maps that combine information from many sources.
People have been drawing maps for thousands of years. Maps provide information about our
surroundings. A city map, for example, may show man-made features such as roads, bridges, and
buildings. Other types of maps show the locations of natural features, such as rivers, mountains, and
lakes. Maps can show much more than the features of the natural world. They can be used to show
data. Think about commercials you've seen for cell phone companies. Remember the maps that show
where their company has cell phone coverage? That is a map that shows data.
A geographic information system (GIS) uses computers and software to capture, manage, analyze, and
display data. GIS specialists use the software to interpret data. Their goal is to understand, interpret, and
visualize data in ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends. GIS is best known for maps but
specialists also use it to create reports and charts.
GIS maps often are used to relate social trends to places. For example, a map could show the traffic
patterns of streets and highways. Lines of different colors would be layered on top of major streets.
Each color would indicate a level of traffic: low, medium, or high. People who need to know about
traffic can understand patterns more easily from a map like this than from a spreadsheet. A map of
traffic patterns has many uses. For example, planners can map emergency travel routes, estimate the
environmental impact of traffic, or set up bus routes.
GIS specialists may work with scientists to locate wildlife feeding areas or migration paths. Some of
these paths are hundreds of miles long. The data helps planners determine the impact of building roads
near populations of wild animals. Specialists may also use GIS to show how pollution travels across
large areas. This may include tracking the movement of pollution across the ocean to other parts of the
GIS specialists can add varying levels of geographic information. Some maps require basic physical
information, such as roads, rivers, and boundaries. Other maps require detailed utility information, such
as the location of sewer, gas, and power lines. Examples of social information GIS can map include
population density, income levels, and buying patterns.
GIS specialists work in three main areas: analysis, programming, and digitizing. Some specialize in one
area and others work in all three.
Analysts interview users to determine what information is needed. They select the types of data and
maps that will meet user needs. For example, city planners may use GIS data to lower gasoline
consumption by building roads in the right places. GIS could help planners lower a projects’ impact on
wetlands. Others use GIS data to find the best locations for solar or wind energy sites. They also design
programs and procedures to make maps and may train people to use GIS maps and databases.
Programmers write computer programs that carry out the analysts' designs. Programmers create menus
and commands to help users.
Digitizers change existing map coordinates into computer-readable form. They put existing maps onto
digitizer tables and place a cursor over various points to enter data into computers. They may also type
coordinates using computer keyboards. Digitizers also code data that will appear in layers over the basic
map of the earth's surface.
GIS specialists work for government agencies, utility companies, and surveying firms. Some work for
land developers, real estate agents, and banks. Others work for GIS consulting firms.
Geologists and Geophysicists
Geologists and geophysicists study the earth's interior and exterior.
Geoscience is a term that in the broadest sense, is the study of the Earth. Because Earth is the only
planet known to support life, it can actually be considered a very unique field (in the planetary sciences,
Geologists and geophysicists are sometimes called geoscientists. These two occupations are closely
related, but have some differences. Geologists study how rocks were formed and how they have
changed since they were created. They also study the evolution of life by studying plant and animal
fossils. Geophysicists study not only the earth's surface, but also its interior. In addition, they study
forces that affect the earth, such as magnetism and gravity. Some geophysicists study oceans,
underground water, and the atmosphere.
Regardless of their specific topics, geologists and geophysicists share many duties. They gather and
analyze information. Then they interpret their results. To show their data, they often prepare maps,
charts, and diagrams to help explain the results. In addition, they frequently write reports or give
presentations about their findings.
Governments and companies hire geoscientists to answer specific questions. They make
recommendations based on their findings. For example, governments hire them to predict atmospheric
conditions or earthquakes. Governments may also hire them to increase oil production or find minerals
needed for national defense. These include uranium and rare earth metals.
Companies hire geologists to determine the best locations for important projects. These include nuclear
power plants and storage sites for carbon or nuclear waste. They may also help find sources of heat in
the earth. Geothermal energy plants use this heat to make electricity. Health researchers also work with
geologists. For example, they may look at how dust from mining or minerals in ground water affects
Geoscientists have a variety of methods for gathering information. They use aerial photographs to get a
sense of what an area looks like and might contain. They use machines to measure physical aspects of
the earth, such as temperature and earthquake activity. For example, they may use tools to take samples
from rocks and ice sheets. This helps them look at climate conditions from long ago. They compare
this with climate data from the present day to understand how the climate is changing.
In the lab, geologists analyze the makeup of rocks. Some geophysicists use computers to create models
of what they are studying. That way they can take the same situation and vary the factors one at a time.
For example, they may study how water flows through different layers of rock. On the computer, they
can vary the type of rock, the amount of water, and other relevant factors. This information helps them
understand how pollution affects the ground water.
There are many specialties within geology and geophysics. For example, petroleum geologists help find
better ways to drill for fossil fuels. They even look for new sources of fossil fuels. Engineering
geologists give advice on ways to lower the natural impacts of major projects. Volcanologists study
volcanoes to predict eruptions. Seismologists study data about earthquakes. Geochemists study the
nature and distribution of chemical elements in the earth and water. Or, they may use their data to find
new sources of energy.
Study and analyze the structure of the earth.
Measure characteristics of the earth using a variety of instruments. Set up and operate these machines.
Analyze and interpret research data.
Prepare maps, charts, and diagrams to help explain their findings.
Write reports or give presentations about their findings.
Investigate questions for clients and make recommendations based on their findings. This includes questions
about health, climate change, and pollution.
Help locate the best sites for projects such as nuclear power plants, carbon storage, and nuclear waste.
Create computer models of research topics. Change factors and monitor the effect on results.
Give advice on the natural impact of large-scale projects. These include cities, dams, and roads.
Explore for oil, geothermal, mineral, and gas resources. Find ways to reduce the impact of mining on health and
Investigate volcanoes to try to predict future eruptions and locate sources of energy.
Study data about earthquakes.
Study the nature and distribution of chemical elements in the earth and water. Use the data to help others locate
important resources, and reduce pollution.
Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists
Geospatial information scientists and technologists use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and
other software. They study how to best use physical space.
Geospatial information scientists and technologists measure and analyze space. Not the black space of
astronauts and moon landings. But the space around you. For example, the space between your city or
town and the next. Or the space between neighborhoods. They may even study the space between one
street and the next.
Geospatial information scientists and technologists measure and study how people use the space around
them. They also study how this use of space changes over time. This relates to geography -- the study
of the earth’s features, climate, resources, and population. For many people, the field of geography
equals the study of maps. Maps are an important form of geospatial information, but there are many
other types of data that have nothing to do with getting from point A to point B.
For example, they might examine the best place to build a new school. They think about the current
number of school-age children, estimate future births, and predict how many families with children may
move into an area. Or, they might analyze the flow of traffic to see where to build a new bridge.
GIS technology allows these scientists to produce and analyze data. They also use Global Positioning
Systems (GPS) and aerial and remote sensing technology. In addition to being knowledgeable in
science, they must be good at using sophisticated computer software, including programming and data
analysis. They must also be good at reporting the results of GIS maps and studies in a way that is clear
to non-technical people.
Many fields benefit from the work of geospatial information scientists. Examples include agriculture,
construction, conservation, energy, natural resources, and regional planning.
This occupation is an important part of the growing green economy. It can help many different
industries find sustainable and efficient ways to use and protect the earth’s natural resources. Their
research data helps others preserve farmland, measure pollution, or manage water and electric lines.
Geospatial information scientists and technologists often work with other groups. They must follow
budgets and schedules and communicate effectively in meetings.
Produce data, maps, tables, or reports using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. Show
information by its current location and by changes over time.
Coordinate GIS projects by creating reports, schedules, or budgets and meeting with clients.
Provide technical expertise in GIS technology to clients or users.
Create, analyze, report, or transfer data using special software.
Maintain existing systems. Research future changes to GIS systems.
Provide technical support for GIS mapping software.
Perform computer programming, data analysis, or software development for GIS.
Lead, train, or supervise technicians or related staff in GIS.
Collect or integrate GIS data, such as remote sensing and cartographic data, for inclusion in maps. This includes
green space in cities, sources of pollution, and locations of utilities.
Meet with clients to discuss topics such as technical specifications, solutions, and operational problems.
Manufacturing Engineering Technologists
Manufacturing engineering technologists help to develop tools, create designs, and improve equipment
for manufacturing processes.
Large products, such as cars, have thousands of parts. Putting those parts together is a complicated
process. The machines and tools used must work properly in the right order. On top of all that, the
entire process must work efficiently and on time to produce a top-quality product.
Manufacturing engineering technologists work with engineers to make manufacturing processes run
smoothly. People, machines, and computers must work in harmony. These technologists need many
skills. These include a command of engineering, science, computers, and machines. In many industries
they need to know how to program computed-numerically-controlled (CNC) machines. They need to
know how to set up factories, and the how much it costs to make products.
Technologists often work as project managers or supervisors. They receive the designs. They
determine how to build the product. They set up tools and equipment to manufacture products.
Manufacturing engineering technologists analyze plans, and prepare images, layouts, and sample
blueprints and sketches. To do this, they often use CAD (computer-aided drafting software).
Once plans are in place, technologists study them to identify ways to make them more efficient and
productive. They find and fix problems. They also make adjustments to equipment, tools, or
operations. Technologists also plan schedules, order equipment, and ensure workers follow safety rules.
They also look for ways to cut waste, costs, or energy use.
The green sector of the economy is growing. It needs products that use less electricity and make smaller
impacts on the environment. To do this, older factories will need adjustments to use less electricity and
reduce harmful pollution. This creates more need for manufacturing engineering technologists.
Green sector technologists will perform many jobs. They will find more sustainable ways to buy
materials. They will also look at new ways to make products and to lower energy use. They may also
create brand new systems to reduce the impact of work on the natural environment.
Recommend changes to assure or improve product quality or reliability.
Prepare layouts, drawings, or sketches of machinery and equipment, such as shop tooling, scale layouts, and
new equipment design.
Use drafting equipment or computer-aided design software.
Find and use new technologies, processes, or equipment. Make changes to lower the impact of work on the
Identify opportunities to improve quality, cost, or efficiency of automated equipment.
Find ways to reduce losses, decrease time requirements, or improve quality. This includes recycling waste to
lower costs and creating “green” processes to perform work.
Ensure safety rules and practices are followed.
Coordinate equipment purchases, installations, or transfers.
Plan, estimate, or schedule production work.
Develop or maintain programs associated with automated production equipment.
Make the most of material efficiency. Decide where, how much, and how to process material.
Manufacturing engineers design and improve manufacturing systems or related processes to increase
production and decrease costs.
Look around. Can you spot anything that wasn't manufactured? Unless you're sitting outside or near a
window, it's very likely that everything you see was manufactured or processed in a factory. That
includes your computer screen, your clothes, and even much of the food you eat! Manufacturing
engineers design and oversee the manufacturing process, from beginning to end, for nearly everything
we use in our lives.
Manufacturing engineers use math and science to test ways to make products. They help decide the best
steps to make high quality products on time. They also make sure that the system uses the least amount
of energy and raw materials.
Manufacturing is beginning to change. The green sector of the economy requires new environmentally-
friendly products and more efficient manufacturing. These engineers compare the costs of making
sustainable products to other kinds of products. With older factories, they find ways to reduce
emissions. They look for ways to build new factories that have less impact on the environment.
Using logic and attention to detail, these engineers find better ways to make products. They look at
current systems or they may design new ones. They also test new designs and systems to identify
problems. With training to update their skills, they apply new ideas about manufacturing. To do the
job, they learn about making parts, tooling, production, assembly, logistics, and quality control. They
also need a good sense of materials, parts, and design.
Manufacturing engineers work with supply chain managers and validation engineers. They also talk
with supervisors, directors, and other engineers involved in production.
Find better ways to make products. This includes reducing the energy, materials, and pollution involved with
production. Compare the costs of using sustainable methods with other methods.
Advise others on how to improve the ways they make products. This includes finding ways to improve quality,
lower costs, or make less pollution.
Use new methods and processes to improve current systems. This includes creating new technology to reduce
costs, energy use, pollution, and waste.
Oversee technicians, technologists, analysts, administrative staff, or other engineers.
Test new and existing product problems involving designs, materials, or processes.
Check product designs for completeness, ease of use, and impact on the environment.
Train workers in new or existing methods.
Report on how well a factory makes products. This includes the speed of production, the production schedule,
and other information.
Find ways to use fewer materials in making or packaging products.
Mechanical engineers oversee the design, construction, and testing of mechanical products and systems.
The first roller coaster was a far cry from today's hair-raising rides. Built by LaMarcus Thompson, it
was named the "Gravity Pleasure Switchback Railway." Made of steel and wood, its speed topped all of
six miles per hour. Riders on the Railway actually had to get out midway through the ride, climb a set
of stairs, and reboard the train to finish the trip. Still, the Railway was a marvel of engineering at the
time. It also started the craze for smoother, faster, wilder, yet safer, roller coasters. Engineers figured
out ways for coasters to climb higher hills, go upside down, and descend steeper drops - all while
keeping riders in the cars and the cars on the tracks. Today, mechanical engineers are responsible for
rides such as Cedar Point's "Top Thrill Dragster." This coaster reaches a top speed of 120 mph just four
seconds after takeoff and has a vertical drop of 400 feet.
Mechanical engineers design mechanical products and systems. Some mechanical engineers design
renewable energy systems that provide electricity for factories. Others design and test machines that are
more energy efficient. Products and systems vary by industry. Mechanical engineers develop designs
based on how products or systems will be used. They talk to customers to learn more about their needs.
Engineers draw their designs using drafting tools and computer-assisted design (CAD) software. They
also study blueprints, schematics, and technical drawings. They work with clients and other designers to
Mechanical engineers test the mechanical products and systems they design. They adjust the design and
construction so the products function properly. They may also oversee the construction and assembly of
these products and systems. They calculate the cost and get bids from different companies for materials
and production. Some may assess the system’s impact on the natural environment.
In addition, engineers continue to fine-tune the products and systems as they are being built to improve
their function. They develop a maintenance schedule for products and systems. If there are problems
with the products or systems, mechanical engineers evaluate the problem. They tell mechanics which
repairs to make and test the fixed system.
Mechanical engineers may work in a company with many departments. They may be responsible for all
mechanical products and systems for each department. They provide technical advice and consultation
to others. They also manage groups of people who may do the actual construction and installation of
products and systems.
Design, install, and test mechanical equipment and systems. This includes systems that reduce costs by using
less energy or making less pollution.
Talk to clients about their system needs.
Study blueprints, drawings, and schematics.
Draft and draw designs, using drafting tools or computer software.
Develop and oversee the production of the final product. Research and estimate all costs.
Work with engineers and other employees during all aspects of the project.
Develop and test new ways to use machines and equipment. Match equipment together to use the least amount
of energy, do the most work, or make the least pollution.
Test the performance of designs. Check data for examples of energy waste and other areas to improve.
Change the design of equipment and machinery to meet certain standards. This includes performing certain
tasks, using less energy or making less pollution.
Inspect mechanical equipment and systems for energy use, failures or problems.
Set maintenance schedule for machines and equipment. Reduce costs for owners by reducing energy use.
Manage people who build, assemble, install, and maintain machines and equipment.
Give technical and environmental information to people who install or repair machines and equipment.
Meteorologists study the earth's atmosphere and the ways it affects our environment. Many of them
forecast the weather.
Have you ever wondered why hurricanes receive names? The reason is actually quite simple: there is
often more than one at a time. Hurricanes can also take days to travel over the ocean, gaining or losing
strength. By naming them, meteorologists can track them without confusion. They don't waste time
coming up with new names, however. Instead, meteorologists use a list of pre-selected names. Only
when a storm is particularly big do they retire a name. Thus, there will never be another Hurricane
Andrew or Hurricane Fifi, although there may be more hurricanes just as powerful.
The atmosphere consists of all the air that covers the earth. It also contains the water vapor that turns
into rain and snow. Meteorologists study what the atmosphere is made of and how it works. They also
see how it affects the rest of our environment.
Meteorologists usually specialize in one area. Weather forecasting is the best known of these.
Meteorologists who forecast the weather are called operational meteorologists. They identify and
interpret weather patterns to predict the weather. They try to predict what the weather will be like for a
week, a month, or several years. In order to predict the weather, meteorologists analyze information.
They get data from weather satellites, photographs, and computers. In addition, they read reports that
summarize data from several sources. Meteorologists use computers to analyze information. They also
use computers to make models of climate change, write reports and create weather maps. Some
meteorologists broadcast their forecasts on radio or TV. They usually manage and direct other
forecasting workers at the stations where they work. Other meteorologists create forecasts for specific
groups. For example, farmers, airplane pilots, and fishers need specific information about the weather.
Some Meteorologists create weather models using complex mathematical equations and computer
programs. Others still use weather balloons to collect information. They measure wind, temperature,
and humidity in the upper atmosphere. However, they also use more-sophisticated weather equipment
that transmits data every few minutes. Doppler radar is an example of this kind of equipment. It can
find patterns in violent storm systems. This allows forecasters to better predict thunderstorms,
tornadoes, and flash floods. It also allows them to determine which direction the storm is coming from
and how strong it will be.
Some meteorologists conduct research. Climatologists study past records of weather. This includes
wind, rainfall, sunshine, and temperatures over land or even oceans. They try to figure out what changes
will occur over a long period of time. Many study the impact of pollution on climate and air quality.
Also, they may use paleoclimate data taken from ancient ice sheets. Others may use Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) to look at these impacts.
Meteorologists' predictions are used to plan heating and cooling systems, land use, and agricultural
production. Physical meteorologists study the chemical and physical properties of the atmosphere.
They also study factors that affect how clouds, rain, snow, and storms are formed.
Conduct research about weather patterns and other aspects of the weather.
Measure wind, temperature, and humidity for present conditions and to check other data.
Analyze climate data sets gathered by weather balloons, radar, and satellites.
Direct weather forecasting services for radio, TV, or weather stations.
Operate computer graphic programs. Make weather reports and maps for analysis and TV broadcasts. Create
media to show climate from the past or the future.
Develop weather and climate forecasting tools.
Study reports that summarize data gathered from many sources. Prove or disprove information taken from
Broadcast weather forecasts on TV or radio.
Analyze the impact of industrial pollutants on climate and air quality.
Issue severe weather warnings.
Predict short- and long-range weather and climate conditions for certain areas. Use varied data sets to make
Make forecasts for specific groups of people or agencies.
Nanotechnologists study how to move atoms and molecules. Their goal is to create new materials and
Nanotechnologists work with very tiny things. Things so small they measure them in nanometers. How
small is a nanometer? One nanometer is one billionth of a meter. That's a hard concept for most of us to
grasp. Here are some other ways to think about how small a nanometer is:
There are more than 25 million nanometers in an inch.
A new one cent coin is 1.5 million nanometers thick.
Printer paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick.
If you have black hair, it is somewhere between 50,000 and 180,000 nanometers thick.
Blond hair is usually 15,000 to 50,000 nanometers thick.
A typical flu virus is 100 nanometers from one side to the other.
The strands of your DNA are 2.5 nanometers wide.
What if you could move individual atoms and molecules? You could build things with amazing
precision. Nanotechnologists can pick up and move individual atoms of silicon and other materials.
They do this with a special machine that has an extremely sharp tip.
At the nanoscale, many rules of physics and chemistry do not work. Materials behave differently when
they are very small. A material might become better at creating electricity or heat. Some gain great
strength. Others reflect more light or change colors.
Nanotechnologists try to discover new properties of materials at the nanoscale. They use this knowledge
to create new tools, products, and technologies. Nanotech products will be smaller, cheaper, and lighter.
They will be more functional. They will also require less energy and fewer raw materials to
manufacture. Since the impact of these new materials is mostly unknown, scientists test nanomaterials.
They want to see the impacts they may have on human health and the environment. Finding ways to
collect nanoparticle waste is part of this research. Nanotechnologists follow toxic waste procedures.
For example, nanotechnologists hope to create tiny computer chips. Right now, chips are created from
chunks of silicon. Researchers would like to build a processor by putting together molecules of silicon
to create a tiny chip. If they're successful, you could end up with a supercomputer the size of your cell
Nanotechnologists spend most of their time doing laboratory research. Nanotechnologists work with
specialized equipment. This equipment allows them to look at very small matter. They produce images
and measurements using special tools and techniques. These include machines that use ultraviolet
radiation or microwaves to create images. Using these, scientists can see work up close. Scientists have
no room for error when making nanoproducts. They must be made using very precise measurements.
An important part of this job is working with other scientists, and engineers. Nanotechnologists often
work as part of a team in order to design and test their ideas. They must be able to speak and write
clearly when communicating with others.
Nuclear engineers design and operate nuclear power plants. They also conduct research on nuclear
Nuclear engineers perform many tasks in addition to controlling nuclear power. It may not seem
apparent, but nuclear engineering has quite a bit to do with food. Scientists used nuclear technology to
develop what is now called "food irradiation." This is a process used to make foods safe by killing
bacteria and pathogens. So, just as your milk is pasteurized, your ground beef and chicken breasts may
be irradiated, clearing it of germs that can make you sick.
Some nuclear engineers work at nuclear power plants. They monitor plant operations to identify
problems and ensure safety. They inspect the reactor vessels, equipment, instruments, nuclear fuel, and
waste. If engineers find potential problems, they recommend ways to prevent them from occurring.
Engineers plan and carry out emergency procedures, if necessary. For example, they may order the
plant to shut down. They examine accidents to prevent them from happening again. They also prepare
technical reports and instructions.
Many nuclear engineers conduct and evaluate research. Some focus on nuclear theories or nuclear
fission. Others study new ways to use radioactive material to make more energy with less waste. They
may experiment to find safer ways to use, reclaim, and dispose of nuclear material. Some engineers
look at how nuclear fuel acts and how equipment performs. Once they have collected their data,
engineers analyze it and write reports about their findings. They may also consult with other scientists.
Some nuclear engineers design and develop equipment and systems that use or dispose of nuclear
material. They may oversee the construction and operation of systems that reprocess nuclear fuels.
They estimate the cost of constructing new nuclear power plants or nuclear-related projects. Others
create plans to help clean up areas that became polluted with radiation. They prepare reports and
proposals about these projects. They may discuss these issues with others or show that the projects meet
safety and environmental standards.
Perform experiments to find acceptable ways to use, reclaim, and dispose of nuclear material.
Design and oversee the construction and operation of systems that reprocess nuclear fuels.
Design and develop nuclear machinery and equipment.
Plan and carry out emergency procedures when necessary.
Examine accidents to find ways to prevent them from occurring.
Create plans to clean up areas impacted by nuclear accidents.
Inspect and monitor nuclear operations and equipment.
Write reports about the different aspects of running a nuclear power plant. Prepare statements to show how
nuclear plants follow laws and meet safety standards.
Conduct research on how nuclear fuel acts and how equipment performs. Create ways to use nuclear fuel with
Direct the operation and maintenance of nuclear plants.
Identify potential problems and recommend ways to ensure safety.
Estimate the cost of construction projects. Prepare proposals and discuss them with others.
Analyze data, write reports, and consult with other scientists.
Conduct research on nuclear theories, nuclear fission, and new applications.
Photonics engineers use their knowledge of engineering and mathematics to design laser and fiber optic
"Photography" and "photonics" both use the ancient Greek word for light, "photo." They also both use
light for practical purposes. Photography is used to record light in an image. Photonics, on the other
hand, is used to control and transmit light. This is often accomplished by using laser or fiber optic
Lasers and fiber optics have many uses. In medicine, surgeons use lasers for delicate operations.
Manufacturing uses powerful lasers for sensing, marking, cutting, and shaping materials. The military
uses lasers to aim weapons with pinpoint accuracy. Telecommunications systems use fiber optics in
computer networks like the Internet. If you are reading this on a computer, it is likely the data spent
some time on a fiber optic path on its way to your screen.
The tasks of a photonics engineer vary. Most engineers create new products and systems that use optics
and photonics. In factory, a photonics engineer may create a new laser device to cut plastic. Or, an
engineer may work on refining optical cables to reduce energy loss. Some may test crystals to increase
the energy efficiency of solar panels or TV screens. They often develop prototypes first to see if their
ideas can be used on a day to day basis.
Engineers in this field spend a lot of time testing system performance to see if it’s working efficiently.
They might replace a fiber optic line with a new one to reduce energy loss. They also conduct tests to
see if a system or product functions well. Engineers make recommendations and write reports. Because
this is a growing field, photonics engineers also spend a lot of time keeping up-to-date with new
developments in optics and laser technology.
Design, build, or test photonic systems and parts.
Create optical or imaging systems. This includes optical imaging products, components, processes, and photonic
Test system performance or requirements.
Write reports or research proposals.
Make experimental photonics ready for day to day use.
Develop and test photonic systems that perform faster or use less energy.
Perform tests to find the capabilities of systems or parts.
Design solar energy photonics, optical sensing or imaging systems.
Read new reports, talk with colleagues, train, or go to conferences to learn about changes in the field.
Reduce power use in factories by testing new photonic sensors for use in making products.
Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists
Remote sensing scientists and technologists use aerial photography, satellite images, Global Positioning
Systems (GPS), and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to analyze data and solve problems.
In the past, people climbed trees or mountains to get a good view of their surroundings. Now, remote
sensing scientists and technologists can get an even better view from airplanes -- or from satellites in
orbit around the Earth.
By using pictures taken from airplanes and satellites, remote sensing scientists and technologists gather
information. They do this to find the features of an area, to see its resources, or to measure its size and
shape. They review the data with GIS software. Remote sensing is important. It can give a very
accurate picture of an area. It can collect data from places that humans cannot go to, like space or the
bottom of the ocean. It can also collect hidden data, such as surface temperatures.
There are many uses for this data including mapping and surveying. Remote sensing scientists and
technologists also work in agriculture and environmental science. Some might create computer models
that show the movement of pollution in lakes and rivers. Others might test how forests show the effects
of climate change. Because remote sensing technology is so complex and sophisticated, employers need
workers who specialize in this field.
Remote sensing scientists and technologists must have good skills in math, science (including physics),
and computer programming. They use math and science skills to analyze data. They use their
computing skills to gather, test and sort data. Then, they must input data, retrieve it, and determine the
results. Then, they may write a report about the results or make recommendations on what action to
The green sector of the economy is making more use of remote sensing. For example, consulting firms
and research institutions use remote sensing in renewable energy projects and to develop new green
technology. The demand for workers with these skills will most likely increase in the future.
Test data acquired from aircraft, satellites, or sensors on the ground using computers.
Test and sort data obtained from remote sensing systems.
Work with aerial and satellite pictures to create products such as maps that show the effects of climate change on
Develop and build databases for remote sensing and related geospatial project information.
Decide if changes are needed by checking the quality of remote sensing data.
Attend meetings or seminars and read current literature to maintain knowledge of developments in the field of
Write and present reports that show data gathered from projects.
Create and study ways to make better use of remote sensing technology.
Talk about project goals, equipment, and methods with colleagues and team members.
Integrate other geospatial data sources into projects.
Renewable Energy Engineers (Emerging)
Renewable energy engineers develop, promote, and implement sustainable energy technologies.
Did you know that the earth receives more energy from the sun in just one hour than the world uses in
an entire year? That's a lot of energy! Imagine if more of that energy from the sun, called solar energy,
could be used as an energy source for the world. Solar and other natural sources of energy could help
power your car, lights, and computer as well as heat your home. This is exactly what renewable energy
engineers are trying to accomplish.
The United States currently relies heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas for its energy. These fossil fuels
are nonrenewable and draw on resources that are running out. In contrast, renewable energy resources,
such as sunlight and wind, are constantly replenished and will never run out.
Renewable energy engineers create the technology that can harness natural energy resources. For
example, some renewable energy engineers design wind turbines to capture energy from the wind.
Others create solar panels to convert sunshine into energy. Renewable energy engineers talk to their
clients to learn how the products or systems they design will be used. With this knowledge, engineers
design systems and equipment. They make technical drawings of their designs using computer-assisted
design (CAD) software. Whether they are creating a new product or refining an old one, engineers meet
many times with clients to refine the design.
Renewable energy engineers also test the products and systems they design. Based on the test results,
they adjust the design and construction so the products function properly. Some engineers oversee the
construction and assembly of products and systems. They may research costs and get bids from different
companies for materials and production. Some engineers develop a maintenance schedule for products
and systems. If there are problems with the products or systems, engineers evaluate them. They tell
mechanics which repairs to make and test the system to make sure it is fixed.
Several renewable energy engineers may work on the same project. Some engineers may supervise the
work of other engineers as well as technicians.
Implementing renewable energy requires workers in many industries. Thus, engineers have many job
options. Some work as field engineers and focus on the installation, maintenance, and repair of
equipment. Some become energy auditors and monitor how homes and businesses use energy. Others
work as renewable energy inspectors or planners. The list of possible jobs is large and growing.
Robotics engineers research, design, develop, and test robotic applications.
For decades, the idea of robots has fascinated human beings. TV and movies show robots like
WALL*E and the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica. In real life, robots have great potential and robotic
engineers work to make good use of this technology.
Robots and robotic systems come in many shapes and sizes. Honda’s humanoid ASIMO robot can
walk, bend, and dance. It can even walk up and down stairs! Large robotics systems can assemble cars
or wind turbines. Other robotic systems test DNA in a medical laboratory. Some doctors use a robotic
arm to perform surgery.
The field of robotics engineering is complex. Robotics engineers research new ideas and designs and
test them on robotic prototypes or models. They analyze different functions and make adjustments.
Depending on the field they work in, engineers may study the human body to copy human movement.
Or, they may study automotive systems to make a robotic vehicle. Some create robots to do dangerous
jobs like toxic waste clean-up or bomb disposal.
Since most of the design and research work on robots uses computers, these engineers must be very
good at computer science. Often, they write the software program that tells the robot what to do and
how to do it. These engineers fix or “debug” the program if there is a problem. They may “teach” the
robot or robotic system to do a new task by writing a different software program.
This occupation has a bright future in the emerging green economy, especially in the manufacturing and
research industries. Robotics engineers help develop greener manufacturing processes that work faster
and leave less waste.
Build, configure, and test robots.
Design robotic systems for different jobs like toxic waste clean-up or bomb disposal. Design systems such as
controls, sensors, and robotic bodies.
Design software to control robotic systems for applications such as military defense and manufacturing.
Create robotic systems to increase production and precision in factories. Products may include medicine,
renewable energy systems, or electric cars.
Test and review robotic systems or prototypes.
Analyze and survey laboratory robotics.
Conduct research into the design, operation, or performance of robotic parts and systems. These include rovers,
multiple mobile robots, robots that can be reconfigured, and robots that can interact with humans.
Conduct research on robotic technology to create new robotic systems or system capabilities.
Debug robotics programs.
Design tools to be used as part of the robot’s “arm.”
Science technicians conduct tests and experiments to assist scientists.
In the James Bond film series, the man called “Q” supplies James Bond with the tools he needs. Much
of Bond’s on-screen success comes from the devices and gadgets he uses in tough situations. Without
Q’s ability to use scientific theories to make useful devices, Mr. Bond would have to work much harder
to make his escapes and thrill audiences. In the real world, Q’s skills would make him an excellent
Science technicians use scientific theories to solve problems in research and development. They also
help invent and improve products and processes in manufacturing. Technicians have duties specific to
their work setting. They also have many duties in common.
Science technicians who work in research conduct experiments and lab tests. As they work, they refer
to instructions for the experiment. They also consult with the scientists who supervise them. They
collect data for testing. Depending on the project, they may use remote sensors to look deep
underground. Other technicians might take cuttings from plants or draw blood from animals. They
prepare the samples for testing in the lab. They enter their information in a computer. Or, they may
create cultures, chemical solutions, or slides. Next, technicians analyze these samples. They set up and
operate computer simulations, lab instruments, and adjust settings and controls. They also monitor the
experiments and make observations. Finally, they calculate and record the results.
Science technicians who work in production jobs monitor manufacturing processes. They may also test
products for quality. For example, food technicians might test bottles or cans to ensure hardness. They
also might analyze food samples to ensure the food is safe to eat.
The role of science technicians in research has expanded in recent years. In addition to routine tasks,
many technicians also improve lab procedures to get the best results. They may also interpret data and
find ways to solve problems. Technicians work under the scientists in charge of the research.
Technicians use computers and equipment that interacts with computers.
Science technicians also clean and maintain their lab instruments. If equipment breaks down, they alert
supervisors and may oversee its repair. They may decontaminate people, areas, or tools exposed to toxic
materials. Some technicians order supplies to maintain inventory in the lab. All technicians keep
detailed logs of their work activities, as well as write technical reports.
Agricultural technicians work in food, fiber, and animal research or production. They collect data and
soil samples to test farming techniques. Biological technicians study living organisms. Many assist
scientists with medical research and help find cures for diseases. Some work for drug companies and
help develop new drugs.
Chemical technicians work with chemists. They might produce new compounds by combining
chemicals. Environmental technicians check sensors, and perform lab and field tests to find the
contaminants present in pollution. They make sure emission control sensors work well and follow state
and federal rules. They may create programs to lower the amount of pollution at a site.
Nuclear technicians work at nuclear power plants. They also assist nuclear physicists in research. They
operate nuclear test equipment and monitor radiation levels. They may use various methods to remove
radiation. They may then report on how well those methods worked. Petroleum technicians measure
and record conditions in oil or gas wells.
Geological sample test technicians test water, soil, rock, and other samples. They help find oil, gas, and
mineral deposits. They may also test samples from underground areas to use for geothermal energy or
carbon storage. Geophysical data technicians survey the land and underground areas using sensors and
Follow instructions for experiments or consult with scientists.
Monitor sensors and collect data at industrial sites such as nuclear power plants. Use the data to make sure
industry follows the rules for safety and impact on the environment.
Collect data or samples for testing. Prepare computer models, cultures, chemical solutions, or slides.
Set up, operate, and adjust settings on lab instruments or field equipment.
Monitor remote sensors, tests and experiments and make observations.
Calculate, record, and report results.
Monitor manufacturing processes.
Test products for proper proportions, purity, or strength and durability.
May develop and adapt lab procedures to achieve best results.
May identify areas suited for building power plants, mining, or drilling for fossil fuels.
May interpret data and find solutions to problems, under the direction of scientists.
Use computers and equipment such as radiation sensors or seismic imaging systems.
Clean and maintain lab instruments. May decontaminate rooms, people, lab tools, and samples.
Keep detailed logs of work activities and write reports.
Sustainability Specialists (Emerging)
Sustainability specialists work to find ways to keep a high quality of life and cut costs by finding ways
to make better use of limited resources like water and energy.
The number of people in the world increases every day. But, the size of the Earth stays the same. This
means we have to find ways to use what we have to serve more people. Sustainability specialists work
to find ways to use resources so our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have enough food,
clean water and fresh air.
Sustainability specialists look at how businesses, schools, or other organizations use resources like water
and energy. They work with others to create plans to use resources better. They might design plans to
improve energy efficiency or lower pollution. They might also find ways to use fewer materials for
constructing a new building.
Specialists begin by meeting with stakeholders to learn about their concerns. They may meet with
leaders from businesses or schools. They assess the organization's social or environmental impact. For
example, they may look at how a company impacts its community. Once information is collected,
specialists study the data using software. They might study how much electricity is used by a college
campus or how much waste is produced by a business.
Specialists develop sustainability plans based on their research. To implement plans, they train and
educate employees or students. If plans require certain workers or materials, specialists find out what is
needed. When funding is required, they may write proposals to funding agencies or other investors.
Specialists communicate sustainability plans by writing reports, giving talks, or producing websites to
show how the plans are working. They might use digital cameras and computers to make presentations,
posters, and brochures. They teach workshops and may give public speeches. They also work with
leaders from different organizations to improve cooperation. Since the field of sustainability is
changing, they study new information and find other ways to make improvements.
They check the progress made towards the goals of the plan. They measure use of energy, the rate of
recycling, or an increased use of public transportation. They keep records of these plans.
Future job prospects look good for sustainability specialists. Many leaders in business and government
use sustainability plans to lower costs and increase profits. Employment for sustainability specialists
should increase in the near future.
Validation engineers design, plan, and test equipment and procedures. They make sure equipment
works precisely so that manufacturers can make high quality products.
The word valid means logical, effective, and correct. Validation engineers make sure that machinery
and processes work accurately and precisely. They also install and adjust new equipment. They train
new workers to use it. The work of validation engineers helps others meet high quality standards.
Validation engineers work with equipment where precision is very important. They need to be very
detail-oriented and have good math, science, and computer science skills. Their work goes beyond
testing to see if a machine or process works. They need to make sure processes and machines work to
precise standards. They need to understand everything about a process or a particular machine. They
often troubleshoot equipment as well. Validation engineers often need to make adjustments to what they
are testing. In some cases, validation engineers select and purchase equipment.
Validation engineers often work in biotechnology and medical fields. The green sector of the economy
also requires these specialists to make manufacturing more efficient and to fine tune equipment. For
example, they test alternative jet fuels for use in passenger planes. Also, they may help find new ways
to test nuclear bombs electronically. This allows the military to test nuclear bombs without setting them
off. They can also help design and test new green technology. As a result, there will likely be increased
demand in the green sector of the economy for validation engineers in the future.
Check test data to see if systems or processes have met set goals. Use data to find the causes of production
Make tests to validate production methods, systems, or equipment.
Coordinate validation testing with affected departments and personnel.
Study products or customer requirements. Talk with companies to set validation goals and standards.
Use computers to track validation activities, data, or outcomes.
Write, maintain, or read papers such as production change notices, diagrams, and protocols.
Fix problems by changing testing methods or adjusting test goals and standards.
Write reports on validation tests or reviews of processes and methods.
Find differences between product designs and actual products. Give advice on ways to correct problems.
Help create new validation tests or processes.
Wind Energy Engineers (Emerging)
Wind energy engineers design wind farm collector systems. They prepare and develop wind farms for
Here’s a fundamental truth: energy is something that was discovered, not created. Think about wind, for
example. Wind is something that has always been there. It’s not something you probably spend much
time thinking about (except when it messes your hair or is part of a destructive storm). But because
something as elemental as wind can produce a lot of energy, it has economic value and is the source of a
major new industry.
While wind as a source of power is not really very new, wind energy engineering is a new profession.
To develop a wind farm, engineers must bring together the right technology (wind turbines) in the right
places (open spaces with lots of wind), with good transportation, and a connection to the electrical grid.
When identifying sites for wind farms, engineers calculate wind power density (WPD) to make sure
farms will be productive. There are many other considerations; it is not easy to find perfect locations
that have high WPD but can also be easily reached by engineers, technicians, and other workers. Some
wind farms are even located at sea.
Wind energy engineers use complex computer software to lay out wind farms and to test and operate
turbines and other systems. They create models that show the layout of turbines, roads, and electric
lines. The layout is important in creating just the right balance so the wind farm makes the required
amount of power.
All the turbines on a wind farm need to work together in different weather. So engineers write computer
programs or build equipment to control the wind turbines. They develop and test all the components
that make up an energy farm, including gearboxes, generators, and converters.
Engineers also oversee the construction phase when workers deliver and install turbines, towers, and
substations. They make sure the plant follows rules for safety and environmental impact. Also, they
collect and organize all the documents needed to run the wind project.
A big part of a wind energy engineer’s job is to test turbines and systems. New wind turbines and parts
require testing for strength, energy output and noise levels. Engineers may develop and test the turbines
using mechanical and electronic equipment. After testing, they troubleshoot problems, and recommend
adjustments. Using these test results, engineers write and present reports.
Automobile mechanics inspect, maintain, and repair cars and light trucks.
Cars, just like people, need check-ups. Some people even describe the car's oil as functioning like a
person's blood. Without proper maintenance and fixes, cars will not do what we want them to do. Just
like human bodies - if we do not keep ourselves healthy, it will become harder for us to do what we need
to do. In the case of cars, the brakes will squeak, the engine will stutter, and the whole thing might pull
to one side of the road. Worse yet, it might not even start.
Auto mechanics perform routine service on cars and light trucks to keep them running well. They are
also called service technicians. They inspect and lubricate engines and parts. They tune engines to use
less fuel. They often follow a checklist to be sure they examine potential trouble spots. Belts, hoses,
plugs, brakes, and fuel systems are items mechanics watch closely. In addition, mechanics may install
or repair accessories, such as heaters and windshield wipers.
When cars are not working properly, auto mechanics talk to owners about the symptoms of the problem.
Then they examine cars, trying to eliminate simple things that could cause the problem. Sometimes auto
mechanics test drive cars to observe their performance. They also use a variety of testing equipment,
such as hand-held diagnostic computers and compression gauges. Once they find a problem, mechanics
make adjustments or repairs. They often review work orders and create a plan of action, with some help
from supervisors. Sometimes they replace or rebuild damaged parts. For large repairs, mechanics
estimate the cost and get the customer's approval before doing any work.
Because of recent changes in technology, auto mechanics work on many new types of cars. They may
work on the brakes, batteries, or engines in hybrid electric vehicles. Auto mechanics might adjust
engine sensors on flexible fuel vehicles. They do safety checks on the fuel systems for cars using
They also make changes to older cars. Auto mechanics may install systems that improve fuel efficiency.
They may convert cars that use regular gasoline to use bio-diesel, ethanol, methane, or other fuels. Also,
they might replace older parts with more efficient electric systems.
Auto mechanics use a variety of tools in their work. They use power tools such as pneumatic wrenches
to remove bolts quickly. They use machine tools such as lathes and grinding machines to rebuild
brakes. They use welding and flame-cutting equipment to remove and repair exhaust systems. They
also use jacks and hoists to lift cars and engines. In addition, mechanics use common hand tools, such
as screwdrivers and pliers, to work on small parts. Some mechanics use electronic equipment. For
example, they may use infrared engine analyzers and computerized diagnostic devices. These devices
diagnose problems and make precise adjustments. Car technology changes quickly, so mechanics must
learn how to use new tools and methods to work on new types of cars.
Auto mechanics who work in large shops may specialize in one or more areas. For example, automatic
transmission technicians work on gear trains, hydraulic pumps, and other parts of a transmission. Bio-
diesel technicians may remove old fuel tanks to install new fuel systems. Tune-up technicians adjust
timing and valves, and adjust or replace spark plugs and fuel systems. Front-end mechanics align and
balance wheels and repair steering and suspension systems. Brake repairers adjust brakes and replace
brake linings and pads. They also service regenerative braking systems in hybrid vehicles. In small
shops, mechanics must know about all areas of car repair.
Inspect and lubricate engines and parts during routine service. Tune engines to use less fuel.
Follow checklist of potential trouble spots. This includes belts, hoses, spark plugs, brakes, and fuel systems.
Review work orders and discuss work with supervisors. Plan work procedures, using manuals and charts.
May install or repair accessories, such as heaters, wipers, and stereo systems.
Get descriptions of cars' symptoms from customers or service estimators.
Examine cars, using a systematic approach to diagnose problems. May also test drive cars.
Estimate repair costs and obtain customer approval to make repairs.
Adjust, repair, rebuild, or replace inefficient, damaged or poorly working parts or units.
Use power tools, machine tools, and hand tools. Use jacks, hoists, and welding and flame-cutting equipment.
Use electronic service equipment to test and diagnose parts and cars.
May specialize in one or more areas. This includes alternative fuel engines, transmissions, tune-ups, brakes, or
Service alternative fuel vehicles. Fuels may include ethanol, methane, or bio-diesel.
Service engines, brakes, and batteries in hybrid vehicles.
Convert gasoline engines to alternative fuels.
Install new or more efficient systems on cars to use less gas.
Inspect natural gas fuel systems for damage.
Heavy Truck Drivers
Heavy truck drivers drive large trucks or tractor-trailers to transport goods and materials.
There aren't many things heavier than the Leibherr T 282B. This truck, designed in 2004, weighs in at
203 tons. And this is when it's empty. The truck's capacity is 365 tons, putting the cargo and truck
together at well over 500 tons. The diesel-electric engine alone weighs 10 tons. The tires are over 6
meters tall (that's nearly 20 feet)! Can you imagine driving this machine? To do so, you have to climb
stairs to get to the cab. Fortunately, most trucks are not this big!
Heavy truck drivers begin their job by reading bills of lading and other instructions to determine how to
transport cargo. They also read and interpret maps to determine the best route. Computers and
Geographical Positioning Systems (GPS) help drivers map the most efficient routes to save fuel. An
important consideration is safety. Heavy truck drivers must follow strict safety regulations, both when
handling dangerous cargo and when driving.
Heavy truck drivers park their trucks so they can be loaded easily. Parking trucks may require following
hand signals from coworkers who direct them to the proper location. Once trucks are in the proper spot,
truck drivers load items. They may help wrap large items before they are loaded, or cover the entire
load if it is on a flatbed. Truck drivers secure some items with straps, ropes, or chains. Once trucks are
loaded, drivers carefully inspect them to insure that they can be driven safely.
On the road, drivers concentrate on their driving and other drivers to prevent accidents. Many truck
drivers have two-way radios. They use these to contact their supervisors and give updates on their
position. Truck drivers must also keep their trucks filled with gasoline, oil, and other fluids. Trucks
may run on electricity or alternative fuels, like biodiesel. Some trucks use different systems to power
truck equipment when the truck is not moving. Truck drivers must know how to operate and maintain
all of the truck systems.
Drivers keep several types of records and fill out forms. Some forms are used to prove that goods were
picked up and delivered. Drivers have customers sign these forms when they receive deliveries. Other
forms prove that trucks are being driven safely. Drivers also keep logs of what items they delivered,
how much the items weighed, and when deliveries were made.
Drive large trucks or tractor-trailer combinations to transport goods. Trucks may run on diesel, electricity or other
Follow safety procedures when transporting dangerous cargo.
Read bills of lading to determine assignment details.
Read and interpret maps to determine routes. Use computers and GPS to map routes that use less fuel.
Load and unload goods from trucks.
Wrap goods using pads, packing paper, and containers.
Secure goods in trucks with straps, ropes, or chains.
Maneuver trucks into loading or unloading position.
Maintain truck logs according to state and federal regulations.
Keep accurate records of goods transported.
Clean, inspect, and service vehicles.
Obtain signature from customers when delivering goods.
Maintain radio contact with base or supervisors.
Use other power sources to run truck equipment and reduce fuel costs.
Storage and Transportation Managers
Storage and transportation managers direct the pickup, transport, and storage of goods.
Which state produces the best cheese, California or Wisconsin? Those from the Dairy State (Wisconsin)
feel pretty strongly about their creamy cheddars, but the Sunshine State (California) is a formidable
opponent in the "cheese wars." And what about Vermont's cheddar? It is said to rival even the best
English version. (Cheddar originated in England.)
The debate over the most delectable cheese will continue for some time. And really, it doesn't matter
where you are, since it's quite easy to get the kind you prefer. Often, you can buy your favorite at your
grocery store. However, it's still a lot of work to transport goods across state lines and even across the
world. It's the job of storage and transportation managers to keep goods moving.
Transportation managers work for airlines, trucking companies, railroads, and other shipping
organizations. They decide which routes their company will cover. They select routes based on
different factors such as customer needs and fuel costs. Storage managers coordinate the activities in
Storage and transportation managers interview, select, and train staff. They also supervise the activities
of workers. For example, transportation managers supervise workers who dispatch, route, and track
vehicles. Storage managers oversee workers who receive, store, and ship products. Many workers in
this industry belong to a union. Thus, managers must make sure their companies follow union rules.
For example, managers review transportation schedules to make sure drivers will not be overworked.
They also work with unions to negotiate contracts or solve complaints.
Managers must be sure their workers are safe. Thus, they develop procedures for workers to follow to
accomplish their jobs. Managers consider job duties, government and union rules, and other information
when creating these procedures. As part of the process, they may develop manuals for workers. In
addition, they plan, develop, and apply programs to lower pollution and improve safety. When
accidents occur, managers work with the government agencies that inspect them.
Managers are responsible for their buildings, equipment, and vehicles. They inspect vehicles and
buildings to make sure they are safe. They order repairs, develop plans for security, warehouse
expansions, and purchase new equipment when it is needed. To purchase large items, managers may
research equipment and negotiate contracts with suppliers. Storage managers negotiate contracts with
shippers in other areas of the country.
At the end of each month, managers analyze their financial reports. They use the reports to decide how
to improve their services and increase profits. For example, they might change how goods are stored or
shipped. Managers may consult with their supervisors to develop new ways of operating.
Transportation companies may need approval from government commissions before making some
changes, such as increasing prices. Managers represent their companies at hearings or meetings with
these commissions. If their changes are approved, managers do all the planning needed to apply the
Managers have a mix of administrative duties. They bill clients, resolve customer complaints, and write
reports. Some managers review invoices, work orders, and estimate how many workers they will need
in the future. Others schedule the pickup, delivery, or distribution of products or materials.
In a green economy, transportation managers improve service to lower pollution. They can plan shorter
routes or buy trucks that use less fuel. Storage managers may use warehouses closer to customers. They
may also use eco-friendly containers, or create plans to reduce air pollution and recycle waste.
Coordinate or oversee operations.
Supervise employees at work.
Resolve customer complaints.
Plan and use programs for central control, safety, and security.
Watch over spending and budgets.
Review orders and predict how many workers are needed.
Direct central control centers to schedule deliveries or distribution of materials.
Create policies and procedures with management.
Improve employee and public health by reducing work-related accidents and pollution.
Check invoices to make sure they follow tariff and customs rules.
Write reports, letters, or safety manuals.
Create contracts with unions, suppliers, and shippers.
Make sure companies follow rules for safety, environmental impact, and labor unions.
Put management suggestions to use.
Inspect equipment and buildings. Ensure buildings follow plans for security, repair, and environmental impact
Interview, select, and train staff.
Represent companies at hearings about future changes.
Research warehouse locations and new equipment based on fuel cost and impact on the environment.
Report transportation charges to other departments. Coordinate plans to reduce fuel costs.
Track and trace shipments or products.