The top 3 things you want to know when you consider becoming a wind turbine technician:
1. What would your work day look like?
Fred Sellers, who worked as a wind turbine technician for 4 years, sums it up well in an article, “A Day in the Life of a Wind Turbine Technician.”
When asked what his job as a tech included, he said, “I worked on a troubleshooting team, which involved spending my days as an ‘industrial detective’ solving unknown turbine issues. I would be dispatched to a turbine that was having an issue and spend my time trying to solve the problem of why the turbine wasn’t running. It involved a lot of climbing and a fair amount of traveling. The work was challenging but incredibly rewarding and enjoyable.”
Sellers explained that the hardest part of the job was the demand it put on his body: lots of hours, climbing, and sometimes extreme weather conditions.
He says, “…we talk a lot about being an industrial athlete which means that you need to take care of your physical health, well-being, and train your body for the work.”
Sellers also described the people he works with as being the most rewarding part of the job: “The wind industry attracts a breed of people that are hardworking, passionate, helpful, and in general, enjoyable to be around. While working as a troubleshooting technician, I was lucky enough to have a great partner that I worked with for three years. We worked together as a team tackling tough challenges in the field and looking out for one another, in what can inherently be a dangerous industry.”
“What’s more, solving difficult challenges in the field was incredibly satisfying as well. Working hard to uncover a problem and then figuring out how to solve it is rewarding. And in the wind industry, you are solving those puzzles outdoors, in the countryside, working with your hands – it is a great feeling.”
2. What are common wind turbine technician job requirements?
Here we have summed up a job description of a current job opening with NGC.
They are offering $18-$32/hr ($34,560-$61,440 annually) based on experience.
Responsibilities and Duties:
- Remove, install, troubleshoot and repair wind turbine mechanical, electrical and hydraulic
- Learn advanced troubleshooting and repair on products.
- Read and interpret documents (safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, work procedures, etc.)
- Read and interpret mechanical drawings and schematics.
- Deal with problems involving several concrete variables in standardized situations.
- Work with minimal supervision, given proper instructions.
- Write routine reports and other paperwork by hand or computer.
- Maintain company policies, safety standards, and good housekeeping practices.
- Maintain proper care of company tools and vehicles.
Physical Requirements & Working Environment:
- Be of sound body and mind.
- Capable of lifting and/or moving up to 100 pounds.
- Pass a physical exam and drug/alcohol screening.
- The job regularly requires you to stand; use hands to finger, handle, or feel; reach with hands and arms; climb or balance; stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; and talk or hear.
- Climb and work a top freestanding wind turbine towers 300+ feet high.
- Capable of rescuing team mate anywhere in tower in the event of emergency with proper
- Able to work in extreme weather conditions (hot and cold).
- While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly exposed to moving mechanical
parts; high, precarious places; particulate matter and outside weather conditions.
- You can be exposed to risks of electrical and mechanical hazards.
- The noise level in the work environment is usually loud.
3. What training would you need?
To become a wind turbine tech, you will need to attend a training program to become certified as a Wind Turbine Technician. Most programs or online trade schools in this field take as little as 6 months to complete. Here is an example of our program at Northwest Renewable Energy Institute. It is broken into 6 phases.
- Introduction to wind and telecom
- Electronics/Machine Controllers
- Rigging, Torque and Tensioning
Our program trains students through professionalism, integrating work-day schedules, uniforms and protective equipment, teamwork, safety training, and realistic outdoor elements throughout the entire program. We prepare students to become wind techs and efficiently work on wind farms.
When choosing, you may want to make sure the training program you choose can help you obtain scholarships, financial aid, and housing. You’ll also want to make sure the program has close connections with employers. For example, our training program at NW-REI in most cases is able to connect our graduates with employers right away. Companies know they can trust us. They know we have trained our graduates proficiently in safety, teamwork, and technical skills.