Wind Turbine Technician

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Job Outlook:
Much faster than average
Education: Postsecondary nondegree award
Salary
High: $80,170.00
Average: $59,880.00
Hourly
Average: $28.79

What they do:

Inspect, diagnose, adjust, or repair wind turbines. Perform maintenance on wind turbine equipment including resolving electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic malfunctions.

On the job, you would:

  • Troubleshoot or repair mechanical, hydraulic, or electrical malfunctions related to variable pitch systems, variable speed control systems, converter systems, or related components.
  • Perform routine maintenance on wind turbine equipment, underground transmission systems, wind fields substations, or fiber optic sensing and control systems.
  • Diagnose problems involving wind turbine generators or control systems.

Important Qualities

Ability to work at heights. Windtechs must be comfortable working at heights to maintain or repair turbines. Tower ladders are usually at least 200 feet high.

Communication skills. Windtechs must exchange information with windtechs or specialists, such as electricians, in order to work safely and effectively.

Detail oriented. Windtechs must maintain records of all of the services they perform. Turbine maintenance requires precise measurements, a strict order of operations, and numerous safety procedures.

Mechanical skills. Windtechs must understand and be able to maintain and repair a turbine’s various technical systems.

Physical stamina. Windtechs must be able to climb turbine towers, often with tools and equipment.

Physical strength. Windtechs must lift heavy equipment, parts, and tools, some of which weigh 50 pounds or more.

Problem-solving skills. Windtechs must diagnose and repair turbine problems. When a malfunction or other issue arises, technicians must determine the cause and make the necessary repairs.

Personality

A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

82% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
80% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
80% Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
79% Concern for Others  -  Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
78% Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
77% Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
75% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
75% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
74% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
73% Stress Tolerance  -  Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
71% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
71% Leadership  -  Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
70% Independence  -  Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
68% Achievement/Effort  -  Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Strengths

95% Realistic  -  Work involves designing, building, or repairing of equipment, materials, or structures, engaging in physical activity, or working outdoors. Realistic occupations are often associated with engineering, mechanics and electronics, construction, woodworking, transportation, machine operation, agriculture, animal services, physical or manual labor, athletics, or protective services.

Aptitude

A3 Your Strengths Importance

Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

75% Problem Sensitivity  -  The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
69% Finger Dexterity  -  The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
69% Near Vision  -  The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
69% Oral Comprehension  -  The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
66% Arm-Hand Steadiness  -  The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
66% Deductive Reasoning  -  The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
66% Manual Dexterity  -  The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.

Job Details

Responsibilities
Inspect mechanical equipment to locate damage, defects, or wear.
Repair green energy equipment or systems.
Troubleshoot equipment or systems operation problems.
Repair green energy equipment or systems.
Climb equipment or structures to access work areas.
Repair green energy equipment or systems.
Maintain work equipment or machinery.
Test mechanical equipment to ensure proper functioning.
Test electrical circuits or components for proper functioning.
Test electrical equipment or systems to ensure proper functioning.
Test mechanical systems to ensure proper functioning.
Assemble structural components.
Measure equipment outputs.
Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
Fabricate parts or components.
Train others in operational procedures.
Train customers in the use of products.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent

100% Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets  -  How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
100% Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection  -  How much does this job require wearing specialized protective or safety equipment such as breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suits, or radiation protection?
99% Exposed to High Places  -  How often does this job require exposure to high places?
98% Exposed to Hazardous Conditions  -  How often does this job require exposure to hazardous conditions?
97% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
96% Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls  -  How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
95% Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions  -  How often does this job require working in cramped work spaces that requires getting into awkward positions?
94% Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled  -  How often does this job require working indoors in non-controlled environmental conditions (e.g., warehouse without heat)?
94% Consequence of Error  -  How serious would the result usually be if the worker made a mistake that was not readily correctable?
94% Outdoors, Exposed to Weather  -  How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
94% Electronic Mail  -  How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
92% Contact With Others  -  How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
91% Very Hot or Cold Temperatures  -  How often does this job require working in very hot (above 90 F degrees) or very cold (below 32 F degrees) temperatures?
91% Responsible for Others' Health and Safety  -  How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
90% Exposed to Hazardous Equipment  -  How often does this job require exposure to hazardous equipment?
89% Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body  -  How much does this job require bending or twisting your body?
89% Exposed to Contaminants  -  How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?
89% In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment  -  How often does this job require working in a closed vehicle or equipment (e.g., car)?
88% Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable  -  How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
88% Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
87% Physical Proximity  -  To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
86% Outdoors, Under Cover  -  How often does this job require working outdoors, under cover (e.g., structure with roof but no walls)?
86% Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions  -  How much does this job require making repetitive motions?
85% Coordinate or Lead Others  -  How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
84% Frequency of Decision Making  -  How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
82% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
82% Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting  -  How often does this job require working in extremely bright or inadequate lighting conditions?
80% Time Pressure  -  How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
80% Freedom to Make Decisions  -  How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
80% Importance of Repeating Same Tasks  -  How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?
78% Spend Time Standing  -  How much does this job require standing?
78% Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results  -  What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
76% Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
75% Responsibility for Outcomes and Results  -  How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
69% Spend Time Climbing Ladders, Scaffolds, or Poles  -  How much does this job require climbing ladders, scaffolds, or poles?
68% Spend Time Keeping or Regaining Balance  -  How much does this job require keeping or regaining your balance?
67% Structured versus Unstructured Work  -  To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
66% Spend Time Kneeling, Crouching, Stooping, or Crawling  -  How much does this job require kneeling, crouching, stooping or crawling?
80% Duration of Typical Work Week  -  Number of hours typically worked in one week.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

97% Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment  -  Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
95% Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment  -  Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
92% Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials  -  Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
91% Controlling Machines and Processes  -  Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
87% Handling and Moving Objects  -  Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
87% Performing General Physical Activities  -  Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
83% Making Decisions and Solving Problems  -  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
82% Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment  -  Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
80% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
79% Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
78% Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards  -  Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
78% Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work  -  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
75% Training and Teaching Others  -  Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
75% Processing Information  -  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
75% Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events  -  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
75% Documenting/Recording Information  -  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
73% Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge  -  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
72% Working with Computers  -  Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
72% Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings  -  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
71% Analyzing Data or Information  -  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

What Wind Turbine Technicians Do

wind turbine technicians image
Wind turbine technicians often monitor turbines from the ground.

Wind turbine service technicians, also known as windtechs, maintain and repair wind turbines.

Duties

Wind turbine service technicians typically do the following:

  • Assist engineers and ironworkers in installing new wind turbines 
  • Inspect the exterior and physical integrity of wind turbine towers
  • Climb wind turbine towers to inspect or repair wind turbine equipment
  • Perform routine maintenance on wind turbines
  • Test and troubleshoot electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic components and systems
  • Replace worn or malfunctioning components
  • Collect turbine data for testing or research and analysis
  • Service underground transmission systems, wind field substations, or fiber optic sensing and control systems

Windtechs maintain and fix the components of wind turbines, large mechanical structures that convert wind energy into electricity. The three major components of each turbine are a tower; a nacelle, which contains the equipment that generates electricity; and three blades attached to the nacelle. Most of a windtech’s work focuses on maintaining the nacelle.

Windtechs typically maintain turbines by inspecting components and lubricating parts. Maintenance schedules are largely determined by the hours a turbine operates but also may vary by manufacturer. For turbines that operate year round, windtechs may do routine maintenance one to three times a year.

Turbines have electronic monitoring equipment, usually located in the nacelle, that provides an alert when a problem is detected. Although windtechs may access monitoring equipment both onsite and off, they must travel to the worksite to make repairs to turbine components.

Windtechs use a safety harness when climbing the tower, which may be 200 feet or higher, to reach the nacelle. They use a variety of handtools and power tools to make adjustments or repairs, and they use computers to diagnose electrical malfunctions.

Work Environment

Wind turbine technicians held about 11,200 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of wind turbine technicians were as follows:

Wind electric power generation 29%
Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment (except automotive and electronic) repair and maintenance 25
Power and communication line and related structures construction 16
Self-employed workers 11
Machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers 2

Wind turbine service technicians, also known as windtechs, generally work outdoors, including in extreme temperatures, on rural or offshore wind farms. They must be physically able to work at great heights. For example, workers must climb ladders to reach the nacelle—which is mounted on towers that are more than 200 feet tall—while wearing a fall-protection harness and carrying tools. When repairing blades, windtechs rappel, or descend by sliding down a rope, from the nacelle to the section of the blade that needs servicing.

When maintaining mechanical systems, windtechs work in the confined space of the nacelle.

Windtechs sometimes work with another windtech or with other specialists, such as electricians, when doing major service or repairs.

Injuries and Illnesses

Wind turbine service technicians have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations.

To reduce their risk of falls, windtechs follow safety protocols such as using a harness and other safety equipment during climbs. To guard against injury, they wear hard hats, gloves, and other protective gear.

Work Schedules

Most windtechs work full time, and they also may be on call in the evening or on weekends.

Windtechs may travel to wind farms in rural areas or on offshore wind farms. Working on offshore farms may require being away from home for several days or weeks at a time.

Getting Started

Education:
34%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)
29%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)

How to Become a Wind Turbine Technician

wind turbine technicians image
Wind turbine technicians receive on-the-job training from experienced workers.

Wind turbine service technicians, also known as windtechs, typically need a postsecondary nondegree award to enter the occupation. They also typically receive on-the-job training from their employer.

Education

Windtechs typically attend technical schools or community colleges, where they may complete a postsecondary certificate in wind energy technology or choose to earn an associate’s degree.

Many technical schools have onsite wind turbines that students service as part of their studies. In addition to hands-on learning, windtech coursework includes maintenance instruction for electrical and hydraulic systems, braking and mechanical systems, and programmable logic control systems. Students also receive instruction in tower climbing, along with training for rescues, safety, first aid, and CPR.

Training

Once hired, windtechs typically receive employer- or manufacturer-provided on-the-job training that is related to the specific wind turbines they will maintain and repair.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not mandatory, professional certification allows workers to demonstrate a certain level of knowledge and competence. Certification subjects for windtechs include workplace electrical safety, tower climbing, and self-rescue. Employers often direct workers to the certifications they need.

Job Outlook

Employment of wind turbine technicians is projected to grow 45 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 1,800 openings for wind turbine technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Development of taller towers with larger blades has reduced the cost of wind power generation, making it more competitive with coal, natural gas, and other forms of power generation. As additional wind turbines are erected, more windtechs will be needed to install and maintain turbines.

Contacts for More Information

For more information about educational opportunities and career paths, visit

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

For more information about education and training opportunities, visit

WindExchange

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Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.