Wind turbine technicians, or windtechs, install, maintain, and repair wind turbines. Their job duties include:
- Inspecting the outside of and the physical integrity of wind turbine towers
- Climbing wind turbine towers to inspect or repair equipment and perform routine maintenance.
- Testing and troubleshooting electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic parts and systems
- Replacing worn or broken parts
- Collecting turbine data for analysis
- Servicing underground transmission systems, wind field substations, or fiber optic sensing and control systems
What is a Wind Turbine?
Wind turbines are large mechanical devices that convert wind energy into electricity.
The turbine has three major components:
- a tower
- three blades
- a nacelle with an outer case, generator, gearbox, and brakes.
Wind Turbine Service Techs Keep Turbines Going
In a nutshell, wind turbine service technicians install and repair these components.
Although some windtechs build new wind turbines, most of their work is in maintaining them. The nacelle is the part that generates electricity, so their work centers on that.
Turbines are monitored electronically from a central office. When a problem is detected, windtechs travel to the worksite and repair the turbine.
Workers typically inspect and lubricate parts as part of a routine maintenance schedule. Wind turbines that operate year round are inspected 1-3 times a year.
Is Being a Windtech Dangerous?
It can be. Windtechs use safety harnesses and a variety of hand and power tools to do their work. But it is not for someone who is afraid of heights. You have to be in good physical shape too.
They often work outdoors at great heights. For instance, to repair a wind turbine blade, windtechs rappel—or descend by sliding down a rope—from the nacelle to the section of the blade that needs fixing.
To reach the mechanical equipment, workers must climb ladders—sometimes more than 260 feet tall—while wearing a fall protection harness and carrying tools. When maintaining mechanical systems, windtechs work in the confined space of the nacelle.
Wind turbine technicians held about 6,600 jobs in 2018. The biggest employer of windtechs are power companies.
|Electric power generation||35%|
|Repair and maintenance||26%|
|Utility system construction||13%|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||3%|
Do Windtechs Travel for Their Job?
Yes. Often they have to travel to rural areas to the wind farm.
Although the majority of windtechs work full time, they may also be on call to handle emergencies during evenings and weekends.
How to Become a Wind Turbine Technician
Most windtechs learn their trade by attending technical schools or community colleges. There they typically complete certificates in wind energy technology, although some workers choose to earn an associate’s degree.
Many technical schools have onsite wind turbines that students can work on as part of their studies.
In addition to lab coursework, they also learn:
- Rescue, safety, first aid, and CPR training
- Electrical maintenance
- Hydraulic maintenance
- Braking systems
- Mechanical systems, including blade inspection and maintenance
- Computers and programmable logic control systems
Training Needed to Become a Wind Turbine Technician
In addition to their coursework, windtechs typically receive more than 12 months of on-the-job training related to the specific wind turbines they will maintain and service. Part of this training is manufacturer training. Other training may include an internship with a wind turbine servicing contractor.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Although not mandatory, professional certification can demonstrate a basic level of knowledge and competence.
Some employers prefer to hire workers who are already certified in subjects such as workplace electrical safety, tower climbing, and self-rescue.
There are many organizations that offer certifications in each of these subjects, and some certificate and degree programs include these certifications.
Wind Turbine Technician Salary
Half of all wind turbine technicians made more than $54,370 in May 2018 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,780, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,560.
Here’s a breakdown of reported Wind Turbine Technician salaries.
|Glassdoor||$23-51K a year|
|Payscale||$17-30 an hour|
|Bureau of Labor Statistics||$26 an hour (median)|
|Zippia.com||$64K a year average|
U.S. News and World Report named this occupation as the second-best repair and maintenance job and number 94 on its list of Best Jobs.
But because there are so few wind techs, only 5,000 jobs will be created.
Job opportunities are better in the Great Plains, the Midwest, and along coasts.
For more information about educational opportunities and career paths, visit
U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy