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What Are Green Careers?

With all the talk about green jobs, has anyone stopped to ask for a definition?

green jobs

There's been a lot of talk about "green jobs" during the past few years, but what exactly is a green career?


Green jobs are those that have a direct or essential impact on a product, service, or process that results in environmental benefits.

A "direct or essential impact" means that the job duties are very closely related to the product, service, or process itself.

  • Green workers help make the product or provide the service.
  • Workers who support the business (like an administrative assistant) or "go green" at work (like recycling office paper) do not have a green career.

The second part of the definition means that the duties of that job must provide an "environmental benefit." This can come from a product, service, or process that:

  • helps improve energy efficiency
  • creates a renewable fuel or energy
  • reuses or recycles materials
  • prevents or improves the effects of pollution
  • helps protect and conserve the environment

Here are a few examples:

  • An energy-efficient window is considered a green product because it helps save energy.
  • Water quality tests are considered green services because they help identify pollution in lakes and streams.
  • Green processes involve creating more efficient ways of doing things through supply chain analysis or other techniques.

Information for Job Seekers

Green job are found in most career clusters. Many are in the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, Architecture and Construction, Manufacturing, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) clusters.

Many green jobs in Minnesota are expected to have a lot of openings in the coming years. That means that employers want to hire people with the skills to do green jobs.

You can enter a green job with as little as a few weeks of training. Other green jobs require advanced degrees. Search for programs and apprenticeship programs that match your goals.

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