Best American Cities for Green-Collar Jobs and Top 25 Green Job Titles

Updated on November 12, 2018
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is a successful Employment &Training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

What Is "Green Collar"?

A green-collar job is understood as one that is connected to eco-friendly or sustainable products and services. Examples include recycling operations, alternate/renewable/sustainable energy sources and products, clean technologies, construction via green building (LEED), organic farming, solar panel production and installation, bicycle repair, green algae oil production, and many other emerging endeavors.

There exits an abundance of economic opportunity in green industries. From 2010 - 2020, the green industry cluster has comprised the fifth largest market sector in America and looks to be moving up the ranks of the top five industries.

US agencies and contractors, citizens, large corporations, and small businesses have all begun to implement initiatives for "going green" toward sustainable energy to conserve resources.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Roof gardens are sustainable and keep buildings cooler in summer.
Roof gardens are sustainable and keep buildings cooler in summer.
Roof gardens are sustainable and keep buildings cooler in summer. | Source

Green Collar Industry

The green industry cluster comprises the fifth largest market sector in the United States of America.

Clean energy rooted in  the past 1888 -- Charles F. Brush's 60 ft, 80,000 lb turbine supplied 12kW power to 350 incandescent lights, 2 arc lights, and a number of motors at his home for 20 years.
Clean energy rooted in the past 1888 -- Charles F. Brush's 60 ft, 80,000 lb turbine supplied 12kW power to 350 incandescent lights, 2 arc lights, and a number of motors at his home for 20 years. | Source

Going Green for a Growing Economy

For-profit and non-profit companies are implementing recycling and community effort programs to clean up their cities and metropolitan areas. Employers are offering reimbursements for purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles or finding other means of commuting. Recyclable materials are more frequently used in business. Finding eco-friendly employment should become easier and easier at this movement continues.

By definition and nature, green jobs are local market area positions and because of this, these jobs can create employment opportunities for previously unemployed or underemployed people. They boost local economies by keeping dollars spent at home, rather than shipping jobs overseas and placing Americans on public assistance.

Green Enterprise Zones are proposed for a local and federal government efforts in targeting economic growth in specified neighborhoods. This concept will put thousands of Jobs Corps and vocational school graduates to work and remove citizens from the public assistance rolls.

Some Successful Green Enterprise Zones

The Buckeye State has formed GEZs in Wilmington in the Ohio Space Corridor, and Vancouver BC transformed a large downtown industrial zone into the GEZ. The Green Metropolis Opportunity Project is creating these zones in the port cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and Richmond, California. The GEZ is becoming a well known character in cities across North America.

 A new green rooftop in Oakland, California.
A new green rooftop in Oakland, California. | Source

America's First Green Job Corps Began in Oakland

The Oakland, California Green Platform

In September 2006, city leaders initiated the "Apollo Challenge," to encourage the public and private sectors to adopt a green jobs platform across the board.

The first signers of this petition were an eclectic group that included an electrician, a poet, a city council member, an activist, and a job counselor. They were successful with their petition.

Oakland, California's Model "Global Green City"

Oakland's constituency asked retired Congressman Ron Dellums to run for mayor and he agreed to run on the platform of making Oakland a "model city" with a green vision, universal health care aims, and better education. He decreed that Oakland would become the "Silicon Valley of Green Capitals" because:

  • Oakland is a sunny, windy city, able to lead the industry in solar and wind power.
  • The "green wave" of investment is active and alive in the Bay Area in the 2010s.
  • An advantageous court settlement in an energy lawsuit provided millions of dollars for the city to spend on sustainability. Further, a recent bond issue provided community colleges with investment dollars for green collar job programming and the greening of campus operations.

The Oakland Apollo Alliance Chapter of the National Apollo Alliance met to create 3,000,000 clean-energy jobs through 2016, offering hope to low-income people and persons of color in green industries. This included:

  • People's Grocery deliveries of fresh organic food to low-income families.
  • California Youth Energy Services training and paying youth to complete energy audits.
  • Developers via Apollo Alliance are still building Red Star Homes, a system of green buildings constructed by individuals released form prison. The system is transforming a previously toxic brown-field (polluted area) into a clean, green living space.

Three Overall Goals of the Model:

  1. Creating the nation's first "Green Jobs Corps" for a new green economy. In fact, Oakland successfully transformed an area into this first corps, followed by GEZs.
  2. Creating "Green Enterprise Zones" (GEZs) in Oakland and other cities where green businesses and green-collar employers receive incentives and tax benefits to build green buildings and to hire locals. This Green Economic Development Plan identifies ways to enable sustainable enterprises that hire locals, bring in money, and keep it at home.
  3. Pursuing the "Green the Port" movement inspired by Los Angeles, city leaders help to refit the Oakland port to biodiesel to reduce toxic emissions. An infamous public health threat will be defeated by this green model for sustainability.

Oakland, California Port:
Port of Oakland, 530 Water St, Oakland, CA 94607, USA

get directions

Sanfrancisco Port:
Port Of San Francisco, Pier 1 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA

get directions

Richmond CA:
Richmond, CA, USA

get directions

Washington DC

Global Green City: The District of Columbia's Green Job Corps helped the nation's capital to enter the sustainability industry sector strongly.

Washington DC is one of many American cities to implement a "Green Jobs Corps" effort. This project puts older teens and young twenty-somethings to work in creating urban green infrastructures for healthier environments and healthier economies.

Good urban ecosystem management will create tens of thousands of new jobs nationally and save billions of dollars by 2025. Green collar training provides skills in urban landscape management and a reliable, well-educated labor force to make that possible.

The new urban-based Green Collar Job Training and Job Placement Program you are likely to hear about soon will:

  1. Provide employment;
  2. Build clean and green communities and prioritize the need for green collar jobs;
  3. Teach fundamental, marketable skills in a hands-on, inquiry-based manner (the most effective way to learn);
  4. Nurture confidence, social skills, and respect for eco-stewardship;
  5. Support green businesses in their development;
  6. Promote green job placement via partnerships with local businesses, green employers, and employment agencies;
  7. Create partnerships with job-readiness, job placement, AmeriCorps, and many other workforce development efforts; and
  8. Supply green services and beautification to local facilities of green training courses.
  9. Graduate apprentices in green our training will be placed in jobs in landscaping, park maintenance, and nurseries. Partners in the DC area include Earth Conservation Corps, the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, Covenant House Washington (see map below), The Coalition for the Homeless, along with other humanitarian and green entities.

Covenant House® Washington DC:
2001 Mississippi Ave SE, Washington, DC 20020, USA

get directions

Earth Conservation Corps:
2000 Half St SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

get directions

Coalition for the Homeless DC:
1234 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA

get directions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Green roofing is used n Oakland CA, New York City, Washington DC, and other cities already.Green roofing in a suburban area.
Green roofing is used n Oakland CA, New York City, Washington DC, and other cities already.
Green roofing is used n Oakland CA, New York City, Washington DC, and other cities already.
Green roofing in a suburban area.
Green roofing in a suburban area. | Source

Top 25 Green Jobs and Average Salaries Through 2025

These 25 positions will increase most in numbers available, from highest to lowest increases (Salary data for 2010 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics):

  1. Hydrologist: The median annual income is $51,080.
  2. Environmental Engineer: The median annual income is $50,000.
  3. Pest Control Technician: The median annual income is $30,500.
  4. Conservation Biologist: The median annual income is $52,480.
  5. Science Teacher: The median annual income of kindergarten, elementary, middle and secondary school teachers ranges from $41,400 to $45,920.

6. Toxicologist: The median annual income is $79,500.

7. Pollution Control Technician: The median annual income is $32,000.

8. Fund-raising Director: The median annual income is $45,000.

9. Ecologist: The median annual income is $68,950.

10. Camp Counselor: The median annual income is $19,320.

11. Business Manager: The median annual income is $50,000.

12. Economist: The median annual income is $72,780.

13. Forester: The median annual income is $48,230.

14. Environmental Attorney: The median annual income for attorneys specializing in construction, real estate, and land use is $70,000.

15. Community Affairs Manager: The median annual income is $56,000.

16. Environmental Health and Safety Technician: The median annual income is $35,500.

17. Landscape Architect: The median annual income is $53,120. For landscape architects in nonsupervisory, supervisory and managerial positions for the federal government, the average annual income was $74,508.

18. Waste Disposal Manager: The median annual income is $35,000.

19. Environmental Chemist: The median annual income is $51,080.

20. Corporate Waste Compliance Coordinator: The median annual income is $39,000.

21. Urban and Regional Planner: The median annual income is $45,250.

22. Agricultural Inspector: The median annual income is $35,000.

23. Wastewater Water Operator: The median annual income is $35,000.

24. Wildlife Biologist: The median annual income is $42,000.

25. Pollution Control Engineer: The median annual income is $66,000.

Green furniture is made of recycled-timbers and is sturdy, attractive, and environmentally responsible.
Green furniture is made of recycled-timbers and is sturdy, attractive, and environmentally responsible. | Source

Best Practical Green Job Resources

  • 1% for The Great source of companies making the pledge to environmental practices.
  • Co-op America Green Pages:
  • Eco-Employ. Find environmental job listings.
  • ECO JOBS. Subscription based service, but may help you find the green job of your dreams. It features jobs, degree programs, and internships.
  • Environmental Career.
  • Enviro-Yellow Pages, The Yellow Pages for Sustainability and Jobs:
  • Green Business. This site requires a small monthly fee to participate, but the information, sources, and contacts are priceless.
  • Simply Hired job search engine at Type in keywords such as "green, organic, sustainable, renewable" and you can find jobs available in your area.


  • Business Incentives in Wilmington, Ohio: Retrieved May 6, 2017
  • Cranes' Detroit: Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  • Green Metropolis Opportunity Project | César E. Chávez Institute: Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  • Kaufman, A.C. Democrats Increasingly Support The Idea Of A Green Jobs Plan: Poll. HuffPost; October 23, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  • US Bureau of Labor, US Census, and US Bureau of Statistics, Retrieved April 13, 2015 and May 5, 2017.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

    © 2007 Patty Inglish MS

    Comments & Addtions

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      • antigravity profile image


        4 years ago

        Lots of useful & informative content in one article. Global warming can be controlled by some simple steps.

      • kazeemjames01 profile image


        9 years ago

        Highly informative as usual. Thanks for sharing

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        Great site and perfect info for people that want to start and find that green career.

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        Green jobs will be all the rage in about 10 years.

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        Add "Worm Farmer" to the list! You should see the looks I get when I tell people what my business is about! This is a great and encouraging list of jobs. Nice hub! Jen

      • profile image


        11 years ago

        Green careers guide also has a comprehensive list of green jobs

      • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

        Patty Inglish MS 

        12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

        Thanks. I think green collar jobs will increase in numebrs and reoplace some jobs outsourced over seas, employing more of or our workers in something ongoing. I think green jobs will be forever.

      • kerryg profile image


        12 years ago from USA

        Thanks for the very interesting info!

      • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

        Patty Inglish MS 

        12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

        ipism, I think global warming is part of natural cycles, but that the wastefulness of many people can add to it. It's WASTE that I abhor. I have an acquaintance that buys groceries every week just to buy them and throws out last week's brand new unopened food weekly (unopened $6.00/lb cheese, etc.). Another person takes already clean clothes out of the closet and takes them to the dry cleaners because she believes that when people see her with dry cleaning bags they think she is wealthy and she has to do it every week to keep up appearances. Another one goes out to dinner with a date or a friend often, orders an expensive meal and when it comes just lets it sit. Then she tells the waiter to throw it away and laughs. 1000's of pastic bags littlering a single block in China also bugs me. That sort of thing.

        It's not about global warming to me, it about clean energy and stopping waste - stewardship rather than consumerism. That may be my Native American heritage and martial arts training. I hate waste.

        Algae buildup in the oceans is natural and plays a part in global warming as well. NO one talks about it any more, not since the late 1990s.

        Glassvisage - Thanks for the comment!   

      • glassvisage profile image


        12 years ago from Northern California

        So in-depth and constructive! Thanks!

      • ipsism profile image


        12 years ago

        Global warming is real. Only thing is, global warming is a transient trend in the cycles of earth's history.

        If one reviews the temperature history that scientists have obtained, There can be no conclusion other than that our current climate is a natural cycle, no worse than prior cycles. See, Climatologists ignore the affects of geological events, such as sub-oceanic volcanoes and astrogocial findings. Everyone takes a small sampling of data to support their pet hypothesis, rather than examining the globe in a unified approach. As such, there is rancor and duplicity to force an agenda that will make a few super-rich while making the majority poorer.

      • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

        Patty Inglish MS 

        12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

        Thanks, greanjean. I think there will be a lot of employment provided by green industries, as well as new energy sources. One of my friends is conveinced now to build a rain garden in her yard to stop the massive rain runoff & I'm going to help. It takes ahile to go green, but I think I like it a lot.

      • greenjean profile image


        12 years ago

        Lots of great and useful information in one place. The Oakland project is fascinating.

      • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

        Patty Inglish MS 

        12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

        Thanks for the comment!

      • profile image

        Marye Audet 

        12 years ago

        interesting..thank you.


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