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Careers in Geothermal Energy

The geothermal energy industry directly employed 11,460 people in 2004 in the United States. This includes direct, indirect, and induced employment. The following profiles describe commonly held positions in the geothermal industry, including those involved in research, exploration, and power production.

Geophysical Modeler - This job involves developing models in 2 to 4 dimensions of geothermal heat sources. Modelers have a strong mathematical interest and are good at visualizing patterns of subsurface geology and geologic structures. The modeler uses data collected from the reservoir as well as from the geothermal waters.

Geothermal Plant Engineer - This job is responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of a geothermal plant. They oversee the mechanical systems in the plant. Another part of the job is the assessment of operating systems. They collect data about the plant and the well. Strong diagnostic skills are essential. Geothermal plant engineers often have an engineering specialism and work in teams.

Geothermal Drilling Manager - This engineering job involves overseeing drilling projects for exploration of geothermal resources and their subsequent use. Skills are often developed in the petroleum industry which has similar demands. The drilling manager interprets the geological materials of the drill site and determines the best method of drilling. The manager oversees the operation of drill teams.

Geological Engineer - One of the many roles of a geological engineer is to ensure that geothermal sites are not threatened by geologic hazards such as landslide, rockfalls and other slope movements. The geological engineer performs a hazard assessment and makes a risk reduction plan. They oversee the installation of engineering solutions e.g. the construction of slope stabilization wells, to geological problems.

Geothermal Installer - This job requires a Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning certificate. The role of the installer is to help clients understand their geothermal options in businesses and homes, commonly involving the use of ground heat pumps. The installer is often a small business owner who works closely with a geothermal driller and technician.

Lobbyist Geothermal Energy- A lobbyist is someone who works on behalf of an organization or group to try and influence the political decisions of policymakers. Lobbyists require a detailed knowledge of their field and act as an advocate for the industry. An advocate for geothermal energy for example might point of the environmental benefits to politicians or bring new technologies to the attention of the government.