Career Pathways for Home Energy Professionals in the Weatherization Assistance Program

Career Info
IREC’s Green Buildings Career Map shows career pathways in the Weatherization Assistance Program.

Deciding on a career can be challenging, whether you’re looking for your first job, changing sectors, or reentering the workforce. It can be hard to know what a day on the job will look like, how much you might make for a salary, what training or certifications you might need, or where the job could lead you in a few years. But what if you had that information at your fingertips in an easy-to-use tool?  

The Green Buildings Career Map provides all of that and more. This free, interactive, online resource gives you the ability to explore jobs and advancement opportunities within the energy efficiency and weatherization industry.

The Green Buildings Career Map provides the opportunity to explore 55 jobs in energy efficiency and weatherization across four different industry sectors, as well as over 300 potential advancement routes between those jobs. The career map allows you to visualize where you might start out in the industry, as well as what your career trajectory can look like over time. 

Charting Your Career Path

Screenshot of the Green Building Careers Map

The Green Buildings Career Map is organized as a grid, showing industry sectors as colored ribbons from left to right and advancement levels (entry, mid, and advanced) from bottom to top. 

“Bubbles” on the map represent each job. Hover over a bubble to see individual job titles. Click on a bubble to see a brief job description; lines will also appear that showcase advancement possibilities from one job to another.

Click on the “Job Detail” button and you’ll be taken to a more complete profile of the particular job.

Each job details page includes information on basic job tasks, salary ranges, required and preferred education and training, necessary work experience, and skills and knowledge to do the job well. If there are recommended certifications, those are listed too. 

The job details page also outlines possible advancement routes and provides a brief explanation of what you might need to do to make that jump. For instance, you might need additional training or a specific certification to transition to a particular role, or you might need specialty knowledge that can be gained through on-the-job experience.

Screenshot of the Building Operator job details from the Green Building Careers Map

The energy efficiency industry includes countless opportunities for individuals without a college degree. You can explore the New-Collar Jobs tab, which highlights 30 such jobs. Advancement to these jobs can include additional work experience, on-the-job training, or the acquiring of certifications.

Screenshot of the Building Operator Advancement details from the Green Building Careers Map

Jobs in the Weatherization Assistance Program

The Weatherization Assistance Program operates under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support low-income households across the nation by providing energy efficiency upgrades in homes, thereby lowering energy bills for eligible families. The Weatherization Assistance Program supports approximately 8,500 jobs nationwide. 

The career map includes a tab that highlights jobs within the Weatherization Assistance Program. These jobs are an important and meaningful entry point into the residential energy efficiency industry. Under the Residential and Multifamily Construction and Retrofitting sector on the career map (far right horizontal ribbon), four key jobs within the Weatherization Assistance Program are identified:

Retrofit Installer Technician (labeled as Building Performance Installer on the career map) is an excellent entry point into the Weatherization Assistance Program, and the energy efficiency industry as a whole. Technicians perform basic weatherization activities including applying vapor barriers and insulation material to attics, crawl spaces, and basements; sealing air ducts; installing weather stripping around windows and doors; and adding insulation around water lines and hot water heaters. Retrofit Installer Technician jobs do not require a college-level degree and typically offer on-the-job training.  

Crew Leader (labeled as Building Performance Crew Leader on the career map) is a mid-level position that increases your level of leadership and responsibility. Crew Leaders provide onsite supervision of technicians and installers. They are responsible for safety at the job site and for ensuring the work completed is of high quality and meets state and local code requirements, as well as manufacturer specifications. Crew Leaders engage with homeowners and communicate the work schedule. Crew Leader jobs do not require a college-level degree, but rather rely on an individual’s leadership experience and technical knowledge.  

Energy Auditors (distinguished as Residential, i.e., Single-Family, or Multifamily Energy Auditors on the career map) perform their work prior to any upgrades happening at a home. Energy Auditors begin with a visual inspection of a home and talk with the homeowners about their comfort level, as well as their utility bills. Energy Auditors perform tests to locate air leaks and use digital meters to analyze energy use. The information and data collected are assembled into a final report that includes recommended energy efficiency upgrades and cost-savings calculations. This final report helps homeowners and Weatherization Assistance Program staff determine the ideal efficiency upgrades to maximize cost savings. Energy Auditors can specialize in single-family homes, as well as large multifamily buildings. 

Quality Control Inspectors (distinguished as Residential, i.e., Single-Family, or Multifamily Quality Control Inspectors on the career map) are an important final step in the efficiency upgrades performed under the Weatherization Assistance Program. After work is completed, a Quality Control Inspector conducts a visual inspection and performs building diagnostics to test material and equipment performance. They record their findings and concerns, and specify corrective actions if necessary. Quality Control Inspectors can also specialize in inspections for single-family homes or multifamily buildings. 

The Green Buildings Career Map is the perfect tool for you to explore career possibilities within the Weatherization Assistance Program, and the wider energy efficiency industry. These jobs are high-quality, well-paying, and provide advancement opportunities throughout your career.