Energy engineer

renewable energy engineer alternative energy engineer

Career outlook for energy engineer

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would design and construct sites to generate energy from the wind, sun and water. You could also drill for and extract gas and oil.

You would research, design and oversee construction of power generation plants that use renewable and sustainable natural resources, such as:

  • Water to generate hydro power
  • Sunlight to produce solar power
  • Plants or plant materials to generate biomass power
  • Wind power

You could also be involved in drilling for gas and oil.

You would use mathematical and computer models to research and design new generating sites.

Depending on the type of project you work on, you could decide on the best locations for installations like wind farms, solar panels or hydropower plants. Or you might plan and oversee a production programme for sites like drilling platforms or hydroelectric plants.

You would:

  • Manage and coordinate teams of technicians or site workers
  • Design and select the equipment needed at the site
  • Make sure the site meets environmental standards such as carbon reduction targets
  • Analyse the costs of running the site and improve its efficiency
  • Assess new and current processes to make the site as productive as possible
  • Do laboratory experiments to develop large-scale industrial processes

You would work with other professionals such as geologists, geophysicists and specialist contractors.

Working conditions


Your working hours and patterns could vary depending on the kind of work you do. In office-based design or research jobs you could work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. If you worked on a site such as an offshore wind farm or drilling platform you could work on a shift basis which could include nights and weekends.


You could work on a site such as an offshore wind farm or drilling platform. Onshore work is mainly in offices and laboratories, with some time spent out visiting sites.


Some jobs may involve international travel and long stays away from home.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Designing
  • Problem solving
  • Working with numbers
  • Researching
  • Developing a plan
  • Managing resources
  • Analysing

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


You would need a degree (SCQF Level 9/10) in an engineering or a scientific subject.

Some employers may also expect you to have a relevant postgraduate qualification (SCQF Level 11).

Relevant subjects could include:

  • Energy engineering
  • Renewable energy technologies
  • Sustainable energy
  • Petroleum engineering,
  • Environmental science
  • Electrical engineering
  • Chemical engineering

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers or a relevant HNC/HND. To enter a postgraduate course (SCQF Level 11) you will usually require an honours degree in a relevant subject.

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by many courses and employers)
  • Science subjects, in particular physics (required by many courses and employers)
  • English
  • Technologies subjects such as engineering science

Helpful to have

Qualifications that demonstrate understanding and experience of the industry such as Skills for Work Engineering Skills (SCQF Level 5).

Employers value work experience so finding courses with work placements or an internship, or working for a year in industry can be especially useful.

A foreign language can be helpful if you want to work for an international company.

Once qualified, applying for chartered status can improve your career prospects. Depending on your qualifications you may decide to apply for Chartered Engineer (CEng), Chartered Scientist (CSci) or Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) status with the Energy Institute.