Editor's note 2018: this article was written in 2010. So accuracy is not guaranteed.

According to the American Solar Energy Society, there are currently 8.5 million U.S. jobs in renewable energy, and the tally is only growing. By 2030, that number is expected to be closer to 30 million. There has never been a better time to join the environmentally conscious employment sector known as green jobs.

We have put together a list of some of the best green job boards, green career ideas, tips on the green job search, and companies that deserve a pat on the back for their commitment to the environment. Use these resources to go out and find a great job that's good for the earth as well!

Green Careers

  • Arborist: An arborist, also known as a tree surgeon, maintains trees in public spaces as well as near private residences. In a given day, an arborist might be called upon to transplant a pine tree, investigate termites or lop off a tree limb that hangs over a property line.
  • Bicycle Mechanic: As more and more city-dwellers swap out their carbon-emitting cars for bicycles on their work commutes, the demand for skilled bike mechanics is only going up. Consult your local bike shop for an apprenticeship.
  • Electric Vehicle Maintenance: With the increased appearance of electric cars on the road comes increased demand for skilled electricians, as well as traditional auto mechanics, to build and maintain them. The most successful candidates would have aptitude in both areas.
  • Environmental Lawyer: Practitioners of this branch of law can make a green difference while drawing a lawyer's salary. They work to ensure that corporations and government entities follow environmental regulations regarding issues such as climate change, wildlife protection and protection of natural resources. Environmental lawyers might represent the defendants in class action lawsuits against polluters, or work on the corporate side in the department of environmental compliance.
  • Environmental Lobbyist: Work for the Sierra Club or another lobbying group that advocates political action to protect the environment. A strong interest in grassroots politics and some media savvy is essential for this job.
  • Geoengineer: One of the coolest green jobs imaginable, geoengineers try to alter the Earth's climate in order to counter the effects of global warming. For instance, they might increase iron levels in the ocean in order to prevent carbon from escaping, or increase the reflectivity of clouds using sea water spray.
  • Organic Farmer: This is a huge growth industry, as more and more consumers request organically farmed produce. There are opportunities to sign on with a farm as a food production worker, or start your own organic farm if you are knowledgeable about the industry.
  • Plumber Retrofitter: Become a plumber who improves the pipe systems in homes and office buildings to conserve more water. There are also more minor water-conservation tasks you may be called upon to perform, such as installing a more efficient showerhead or a low-flush toilet.
  • Solar Panel Installer: With solar panels to provide alternative energy becoming more and more common in people's homes, there is increasing demand for contractors to install them. Experience with construction work will help in landing this job.
  • Urban Planner: These people are in charge of urban and regional planning, so things like mass transit, recycling programs, bicycle paths and contingency planning for emergencies. According to FastCompany, jobs in this sector are projected to grow 15% by 2016.
  • Wind Energy Technician: The vast windmills necessary to harness wind energy require a sector of trained technicians on hand for maintenance. If you are an electrician or just mechanically inclined, you may want to look into careers in this field.

10 Awesomely Green Companies

  • First Solar: This company is a leader in the field of solar power. Its revenue in the fourth quarter of 2009 was $641.3 million, according to Wikipedia.
  • Hewlett-Packard: The computer company is an industry leader in keeping its technology green. Its computers are completely recyclable, and it operates recycling plants for e-waste created by older machines.
  • Hydrogenics: This company is hopeful about a growing demand for hydrogen power in automobiles. Major car company GM, which owns part of Hydrogenics, is optimistic about its future success.
  • Kohl's: This clothing retailer has the largest solar power program of any retailer in the world, according to Newsweek. It maintains solar panels at over 78 of its locations.
  • Nike: The apparel company, which has faced criticism in the past for child labor in its overseas factories, now requires all of its factories worldwide to adhere to written environmental policies. In 2008 it introduced the Nike Trash Talk shoe made of recycled materials.
  • Organic Valley: This organic farming cooperative, which gives ownership directly to the farmers, is the largest in the U.S. The long lists of awards it has received for its butter, cheese and business practices is available here at Wikipedia.
  • Pacific Gas and Electric: Among major American utility companies, PG&E is one of the greenest. 56 percent of its retail electricity sales come from non-greenhouse-gas emitting sources, according to CNN Money.
  • Proporta: This manufacturer of screen protectors for gadgets such as the iPod and iPhone has recently introduced cases made of bamboo and recycled leather. The company also ships by land and sea, rather than air, whenever possible to reduce fuel consumption.
  • Seattle Biodiesel: This recently founded company aims to produce biodiesel, a fuel alternative made from crops, on a mass scale.
  • Starbucks: The coffee giant is committed to having all new stores meet green building standards, as well as using recycled paper for its cups.

Resources on How to Land a Green Job

  • The 5 Best Cities for Green Jobs: This extensive article from the Daily Green tells you where to relocate for green jobs. New York and San Francisco top the list.
  • Green Jobs 101 (from Grist): Before you go dashing off to look for a green job, make sure you're clear on what kinds of job you're looking for! This article provides some useful facts and definitions.
  • Finding Green Jobs: A Three-Part Series: This series takes you through all the steps necessary to land a green job, from job boards to which green industries are up and coming. The section that tells you how to network for green jobs is particularly valuable.
  • Green Jobs Quiz: Take this fun quiz to find out your green jobs I.Q. The first question is easy, but some of the later ones may stump you!
  • How to Get Green Jobs (from Treehugger.com): This in-depth blog post will fill you in on how to begin your green jobs search. It has tips from how to cash in on the stimulus and become a green entrepreneur, to which graduate programs will help you get that green degree in chemistry or engineering.
  • How to Land a Green-Collar Job: This article outlines many ways to start your search, including narrowing down what sector of the green economy you want to work in and learning the appropriate lingo for interviews.
  • Six Ways to Beat the Green Job Board Paradox and Stop Wasting Time: The "green job board paradox," in a nutshell, is that there are more green job boards than necessary to show all the available green jobs. Read this article to find out how to maximize your efficiency when job searching.
  • Sustainability Recruiting: Jobs recruiter Ellen Weinreb maintains this massive site for those hopeful about getting a green job. Rather than being a job board, this site collects and reviews green job boards so users can investigate the ones that are most useful for them.
  • Switching to Green-Collar Jobs: This article from BusinessWeek will tell you how to transition your existing skills into the green economy. Experience in construction, finance and marketing is especially in demand.
  • Top Green Job Search Tips: These tips from the website PlanetGreen include some extensive advice on greening the job you already have. You could go paperless whenever possible, telecommute or buy your business suits at the thrift store.

Green Job Boards & Listings

  • Alternative Energy Job Board: This board is operated by Alternative Energy.com and CareerBuilder.com, so it has access to many green jobs as well as general ones.
  • American Solar Energy Society GreenStart Job Board: This isn't strictly a job board that updates with new positions, but a useful set of links to the human resource pages of green companies all across the U.S.
  • Bright Green Talent: This is a recruiting firm, located in San Francisco, that specializes in green jobs. All employees are encouraged to take public transportation or bike to work.
  • Earthworks Jobs: This job site has tons of sponsors, from universities to major companies interested in the green revolution. Search by specific fields such as geodynamics or acoustic pollution.
  • EcoEmploy: This site doesn't have quite as many new jobs daily as some other green job boards, but its simple layout makes it easy to search quickly. Recent jobs include intern for a wildlife rehabilitation program and Arctic program director for the Wilderness Society.
  • EcoFirms: Search for companies that follow green environmental practices. At the right company, any job can be a green job!
  • ECO Jobs: This job board allows you to search for your ideal green job by subject (natural resources, environmental law, international, etc.) or by state. They have over 500 current jobs, and there are options to get the whole list e-mailed to you every 2 weeks, or get customized e-mails with jobs based on your preferences.
  • Environmental Career.com: This efficient job board regularly updates its featured jobs. Become a marine fisheries observer or a forest restoration program director.
  • EnviroEducation: This is a massive resource to learn about all aspects of the green economy. Its links cover everything from how to write an environmental cover letter to how to find an environmental internship for the summer.
  • Great Green Careers: This board allows job seekers to post their resumes and be contacted by green employers. It also ranks the availability of green jobs by state. California is first, but Illinois is a surprising second.
  • GreenBiz.com: This is the jobs section of a larger site that deals with all aspects of doing business in an environmentally sustainable way.
  • Green Careers Guide: This is a great resource for finding green jobs, with informational articles explaining different types of green careers as well as different categories of environmental entrepreneurship opportunities.
  • Green Dream Jobs: The jobs on this site are immediately searchable, no registration necessary. Approximately ten jobs are updated daily and tagged with the appropriate skill level for candidates.
  • Green Energy Jobs: This slickly designed site staffs the renewable energy industry. In addition to the U.S., the site shows jobs in Denmark and South Africa.
  • GreenJobs.com: This site specializes in clean energy jobs, with hundreds posted every month.
  • Green Jobs Network: This board has searchable jobs in every state, and also divides jobs by city and category. Keep in mind that the availability of green jobs varies in different areas.
  • Grist Jobs: This is the job board of Grist, a well-regarded online environmental publication. It features jobs from geologists all the way down to summer interns.
  • StopDodo: If you are looking for an environmental adventure outside the U.S., this may be the job board for you. It lists green jobs in 190 countries.
  • Treehugger Jobs Board: This no-nonsense job board updates daily and will show you all the green job opportunities that have recently come up. Users can search by job function, location or experience level.
  • Green Gestures is an initiative of our online consumer portal, Retale, and part of our goal to create an environmentally sustainable future for the United States.