The current job market is tough to navigate and deciding on a promising career path is no easy task. Ever-changing technologies are causing some of the most popular career paths to become obsolete.
The solar industry is one of the fastest-growing fields and comes with a great salary and career outlook. With just a high school diploma and a little bit of training, a solar installer can earn up to around $80,000 per year or more.
Steps to becoming a solar installer
Below is a breakdown of what it takes to become a solar installer.
Step 1: Earn a high school diploma or equivalent
Many states require a high school diploma or GED to work as a solar installer. It may be beneficial to take some technical courses in high school including, but not limited to:
- Advanced Mathematics
- Computer Science
Step 2: Develop skills necessary for the job
Some HV installers decide to take classes at community colleges and/or trade schools to learn more about the trade. The course topics usually have a broad variety and can range from basic safety to system design.
Unfortunately, there are not currently any solar panel installer apprenticeship programs.
Learn more about solar installer education and training options here.
Step 3: Gain practical experience
After obtaining sufficient skills, the next step is to gain practical experience doing actual solar work. Some photovoltaic installers learn purely through on-the-job training, which lasts between one month and one year.
Many companies offer training to new employees, where they will start with basic safety and slowly be given more complex tasks.
Step 4: Get licenses (usually optional)
It is usually not mandatory for solar panel installers to have a license, but some choose to get a certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Being certified can demonstrate competence and help you get a job.
To obtain this certification, candidates must complete at least 58 hours of advanced training at an accredited school or organization. They must also complete a 10-hour Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) construction safety course. There are many other certifications available for solar panel installers.
FAQs for becoming a solar installer
Is it hard to become a solar installer?
No, it is not hard at all to become a solar installer. All it takes is basic education and training, and you are set!
How long does it take to become a solar installer?
The time it takes to become a solar installer depends on the path that you decide to take. If you decide to attend community college or trade school, it can anywhere from one to two years. If you decide to bypass this step, you can be working as a solar installer in just a few months.
How much does solar installer training cost?
As mentioned above, if you decide to get advanced schooling to learn to be a solar installer, it can cost anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to over $10,000. If you decide to bypass this step, it can cost you nothing at all. Although, you may start at a lower position and salary if you decide to skip schooling.
Do you need to be licensed to be a solar installer?
No, most states and employers do not require a license to work as a solar installer.
How long does it take to become a master solar installer?
For skilled workers and quick learners, it can take as little as five years to become a master solar installer.
Learn more about a career in solar: