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Electric and Gas Distribution

Most electric and gas distribution careers are high paying.

A distribution system is composed of all the facilities and equipment connecting various kinds of energy sources (gas, electricity from fossil fuels, or renewables) to end-users. It includes the lines, poles, switches, and transformers needed to deliver power at the right place, at the right time, and at the required voltages.

Since existing transmission lines have reached their load capacity, substantial federal resources will be spent on the modernization of the nation's energy grid. In Minnesota, a consortium of transmission-owning electric utilities is seeking approval for approximately 600 miles of 345 kilovolt lines that will connect rural with urban areas and harvest dispersed renewable sources such as wind.

Employers in electric and gas distribution are looking for workers with construction and trades skills, usually acquired through on-the-job training. As shown in the table below, most of these careers are high paying even though they require less postsecondary education than most other industries.

Job Title Median
Hourly
Wage
Typical Education Required Alternative Job Titles
Mechanical Engineers
$37.13 Bachelor's degree Equipment Engineer, Product Engineer  
Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers
$18.57 High school diploma or equivalent Fabricator, Maintenance Welder, Welder-Fitter  
Electricians $30.41 High school diploma or equivalent Inside Wireman, Journeyman Electrician, Maintenance Electrician  
Control and Valve Installers and Repairers $28.70 High school diploma or equivalent Electric Meter Technician  
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Helpers $11.42 High school diploma or equivalent Building Equipment Operator (BEO), Maintenance Mechanic, Maintenance Technician  
Power Distributors and Dispatchers
$33.56 High school diploma or equivalent Nuclear Control Room Operator, Operations and Maintenance Technician (O and ;amp; M Technician), Transmission System Operator  
Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers $31.57 High school diploma or equivalent Cable Technician, Electrical Lineworker, Installation and Repair Technician (I and ;amp; R Technician)  
Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators $23.32 High school diploma or equivalent Back Hoe Operator, Heavy Equipment Operator, Loader Operator  
Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay Electrical and Electronics Repairers $34.90 College certificate Instrument and Controls (I and ; C) Technician, Relay technician, Substation mechanic  
Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers
$29.98 High school diploma or equivalent Plant Manager, Construction Foreman, Production Supervisor  
Electrical Engineers
$40.76 Bachelor's degree Broadcast Engineer, Electrical Design Engineer, Product Engineer  
Pipelayers $29.23 High school diploma or equivalent Construction Laborer, Equipment Operator, Laborer  
Plumbers $30.06 High school diploma or equivalent Machine Repairman, Steamfitter, Welder  

This shows that demand is higher than other occupations in Minnesota over the last six months. It indicates current, not future, demand.

Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.