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Wind Turbine Service Technician in Kansas City, Wind Energy Training Programs In Kansas City

Wind Turbine Service Technician - Kansas City

The demand for alternative energy sources has never been higher in the United States – a demand which has led to the installation of wind turbines across the country. Kansas in particular is well suited for wind energy development, which explains why it was recently ranked 8th in states with installed wind energy capacity by the American Wind Energy Association. This is good news for those considering a career as a wind turbine service technician in Kansas City.

Job Outlook and Salary for Wind Turbine Service Technicians

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does its best to stay on top of various careers across the U.S. Gathering data from cities and towns in every state, it then makes predictions on the growth of various careers – including the fairly new career of wind turbine technicians. According to the BLS:

  • Employment of wind turbine technicians is expected to increase by 24% from 2012 through 2022.
  • This is considered much faster than average compared to other jobs in the U.S.
  • The 2013 mean annual pay for wind turbine technicians in the U.S. was $53,050 and the mean hourly pay was $25.51.
  • The annual mean pay for Kansas wind turbine technicians in 2013 was $57,910 and the mean hourly wage was $27.84.

It is also worth noting that Kansas is one of the slower states to start developing its wind energy. Considered the 2nd best state in the country for potential wind energy generation, the state is only now beginning to develop this capacity. This could mean plentiful job opportunities in the future for well-trained wind energy technicians in Kansas. 

Outline of Career Path

The wind turbine technician career path is still fairly new, so it has yet to establish a common career path like many other trades. However, the actual duties performed do not vary too much from other service technician jobs that involve mechanical and electrical work. This is why the current training standards follow a basic learning phase. This includes:

  • Training in wind energy maintenance – Some workers come into this field from other trades, like electricians, but they still need to learn about the specifics of wind turbines. Others are new to the trades overall and need basic training in electrical work and mechanical processes.
  • Apprenticeship – This is one popular path for people new to the industry. Like other apprenticeships, one is required to work under the supervision of an experienced technician, completing at least 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours of training while working the job.
  • Full technician – Once the training or apprenticeship is complete, one can work independently on wind turbines.

Education and Training for Wind Turbine Service Technicians

According to the BLS, the majority of wind turbine technicians, also referred to as windtechs, learn their trade by completing an associate’s degree program. Job prospects for those with the proper training are expected to be excellent.
There are several types of wind turbine service training one can go through in this industry, including:

  • Technical school – Technical school can teach one the basics of working on wind turbines. An associate's degree usually takes around 2 years to complete in this field. Some of the skills learned in technical school include electrical maintenance, braking systems, safety and first aid, hydraulic maintenance, computers and mechanical systems.
  • Manufacturer-specific training – Wind turbine technicians will usually go through training specifically related to the type of turbine they will be working on. This typically takes around 12 months to complete.
  • Contractor training – The contractor company one works for will also have its own training requirements for working with the company. This is usually taught alongside the manufacturer training, in the field as one works the job day-to-day.
  • Apprenticeship – As mentioned above, it is also possible to go through a wind energy apprenticeship. Apprenticeships can often be combined with other training, such as vocational school training and prior job experience as an electrician or in other relevant field.

Resources for Wind Turbine Service Technicians

  • BLS site for Wind Turbine Technicians
  • BLS site for state-by-state information concerning wind turbines – including Kansas
  • AWEA – American Wind Energy Association