Overview | Related Occupations
| Outlook | Helpful High School Courses
| Preparation | Related Educational
Programs | Licensing/Certification/Designation/Registration
| Additional Sources of Information
Geothermal technicians install and repair geothermal heating and cooling systems. They test, calibrate, and maintain geothermal energy systems.
Geothermal technicians install and maintain geothermal systems at power plants or at specific sites. These systems are used to heat and cool homes and buildings, to generate electricity and to heat water. Technicians inspect and test a specific site to determine the amount of heat available. They check the water for flow strength and for toxic materials. They decide on the best system to provide heating and cooling.
Technicians and other workers dig trenches and install pipes to channel hot and cool air. They may use or hire others to use heavy equipment such as backhoes and excavators. They also use tools such as compactors and saws. Once pipes are installed, they are connected to pumps and compressors. The technicians weld pipes and equipment to make these connections. Since hot water rusts metal, technicians work to reduce the damage this causes. They may coat the pipes with a sealant. Or, they may install filters on pumps and other machines.
Technicians must make sure they everything is installed correctly. They may prepare the system by filling it with water and then quickly draining it. They must also make sure that they are linked properly to controls. This is a complex procedure. It involves working with electrical switches, transmitters, gauges, and other equipment. After installation is complete, technicians must test, troubleshoot, and maintain instruments and controls. They also must calibrate and repair them when necessary.
Geothermal technicians also evaluate the flow and temperature of air coming from pumps to see if their initial tests of heating and cooling are correct. They make adjustments where needed. They may recommend and install back-up systems.
Geothermal systems can also be installed in bodies of water. In these projects, technicians must weigh down the pipes so they sink into the right places underwater. Also, they place pipes and pumps to avoid disturbing wildlife and to avoid damage from boats.
Once a geothermal plant is complete, technicians check instruments to be sure the plant works correctly. They keep logs of maintenance and repairs. If equipment or controls need adjustments, they make the needed changes. Since the heat emitted from the earth changes, they collect data to spot trends. This helps maintain consistent power production.
Areas where there is a lot of volcanic activity generate more heat in the earth and thus, are ideal places for geothermal energy. However, geothermal systems can be used anywhere but they may need to be used in combination with traditional heating and cooling sources.
Hawaii Career Pathways:
- Industrial & Engineering Technology
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Workers, All Other
Geothermal Technicians, currently does not have any information pertaining to outlook.
In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from our state's graduation requirements. Click here for public school graduation requirements for the Class of 2014 and 2015. Click here for the graduation requirements for the Class of 2016 and beyond.
If you attend a private school, check with your school counselor for graduation
You should also consider
taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement
(AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your
school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for
them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application. Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this
- Blueprint Reading
- Computer Applications
- Computer Science
- Natural Resources Management
- Probability and Statistics
The courses listed above
are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already
done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering
You should also check with
a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available
in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing,
internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to
help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.
Join some groups, try some
hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating
in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself.
Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Click here for examples
and groups that may be available in your high school or community.
To work as a geothermal technician, you must:
- have a high school diploma or GED;
- complete a formal training program;
- complete on-the-job training; and
- have mechanical aptitude.
Training to work as a geothermal technician is much the same
as training to become a heating and cooling system mechanic. Even though geothermal
systems are unique, in that they use heat from below the earth’s surface, using
air to heat and cool a home involves a similar set of skills to those involved
in HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning).
As this occupation grows, programs that focus specifically on
geothermal energy as opposed to HVAC will be offered. For now, geothermal technicians
may complete a formal training program in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration
technology. Professional-technical schools or two-year colleges offer these
programs. They grant a certificate or associate degree. In these programs you
learn to read schematic drawings, analyze problems, and follow safety procedures.
You also learn to determine whether to replace or repair parts.
After completing a training program, most geothermal technicians
learn additional skills on the job from an experienced worker. You begin as
a helper and do basic tasks. As you gain experience you work on more difficult
tasks. Training includes:
- using equipment and tools;
- making repairs; and
- providing customer service.
Training may last several years.
As this occupation grows, programs that focus specifically on geothermal energy as opposed to HVAC will be offered.
- Environmental Control Technologies
Licensing / Certification
/ Designation / Registration
Typically, workers who install, test, and maintain
electrical systems are required to have an electrician's license.
Sources of Information
- "Green Careers: Choosing Work for a Sustainable Future" ($19.95 paper cover, p. 368)
By Jim Cassio and Alice Rush, MA, RPCC, MCC
Publication date: 2009
New Society Publishers
Career Information Available on the Internet
© Copyright Hawaii Green Jobs Initiative,
LMI Innovation Grant, Research and Statistics Office, Department of Labor &
Industrial Relations, State of Hawaii. All Rights Reserved.