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Are you living in the right state for a clean tech career change? Two new resources are available for those of you seeking to tie your personal economic well-being to the rise of industries centered on clean technology development.

Are you living in the right state for a clean tech career change?

Two new resources are available for those of you seeking to tie your personal economic well-being to the rise of industries centered on clean technology development. The good news, according to the new "Clean Tech Job Trends 2009" report from research firm Clean Edge, is that there really is no Silicon Valley for clean tech jobs. There are a whole bunch of Silicon Valleys, although the San Francisco Bay area IS ranked as No. 1 in terms of job postings, investment and patent activity.

I am especially excited because my own state, New Jersey, fits into the third largest metro area investing in this sector. I had suspected and hoped for this, based on what's happening here in the renewable energy field. Here are the top 15 areas:

  1. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, California
  2. Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County, California
  3. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania
  4. Boston-Worcester-Lawrence-Lowell-Brooklyn, Massachusetts, New Hampshire
  5. Washington-Baltimore, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia
  6. Denver-Boulder-Greeley, Colorado
  7. Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, Washington
  8. Portland-Salem, Oregon
  9. Chicago-Gary-Kenosha, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin
  10. Sacramento-Yolo County, California
  11. San Diego, California
  12. Austin-San Marcos, Texas
  13. Phoeniz, Arizona
  14. Detroit-Ann Arbor, Michigan
  15. Houston-Galveston-Brazonia, Texas

And did you know that the United States now claims four of the Top 10 publicly traded Clean-Tech Employers?

They are Nalco, a water focused concern in Naperville, Ill. (11,700 employees); Itron, a smart grid player in Liberty Lake, Wash. (8,700); Baldor Electric, an electric motor company in Fort Smith, Ark. (7,800); and solar technology company SunPower in San Jose (5,400).

There are four main sectors studies in the report: Energy, Transportation, Water and Materials. Please don't forget to look at the Water section (see Nalco above). This is absolutely a sleeper.

How much can you hope to make in one of these positions?

The Clean Tech Job Trends 2009 report estimates the salary for a mid-level architecture carrying a LEED certification at $58,700, while it believes a smart grid hardware design engineer can pull down $87,700. An entry-level wind turbine technician can hope for $52,600 while a solar energy system installer is looking at $40,000. These are all median salary ranges. This part of the survey includes input from PayScale.

You can download the entire Clean Edge report for free by visiting this link.

You might also want to consult this additional resource for perspective on states and regions that are poised to benefit from a sharper focus on clean technologies and especially renewable energy. It's an online map from the Environmental Defense Fund called "Less Carbon, More Jobs." It lists specific companies, via an interactive map and includes 22 states so far. The latest to be added is Texas.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure