Renewable & Alternative Energy Degree Programs

Acting as the catalyst for a shift from traditional energy sources to green energy sources was the emergence of global warming.

As Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth took center stage in 2006, Americans were desperately seeking out different ways to power their vehicles, heat their homes, and cook their food. This desire to find alternative means of energy led to a nationwide awareness of two important terms: renewable energy and alternative energy.

Alternative energy simply means forms of energy utilized in place of traditional fossil fuels. Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources. Renewable energy technologies range from solar power, wind power, hydroelectricity, biomass, and biofuels. See our green energy careers section for more on these energy sectors and job opportunities.

Environmental College Degree Programs

Across the U.S., colleges and universities are beginning to offer courses in alternative or renewable energy production. Some, like Appalachian State University in North Carolina, offer both bachelors and master’s degree programs focusing primarily on some aspect of renewable energy production. Community colleges are also offering degrees: two year associates degrees or one year certificates in renewable energy technologies.


Crowder College (Neosho, Missouri)

Following decades of success in solar energy projects, the Missouri Legislature designated Crowder College in 1992 as the State’s renewable energy education center. The resulting Missouri Alternative and Renewable Energy Technology (MARET) Center is recognized internationally for its contributions to the energy field.

The mission of the MARET Center is to expand renewable energy throughout the region with education, applied research, and economic development. Educational programs include certification and transfer degrees encompassing green construction, solar thermal energy, solar electricity, wind, and bio fuels. The MARET Center also assists in new product development and other business support services in renewable energy.

The Crowder College MARET Center offers a variety of degrees and certificates in Wind, Biofuels and Solar Energy. For more information check out our website at

Other Colleges and Universities offering Renewable Energy Programs

  • Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon
    Sustainability Program
  • San Juan College, Farmington, New Mexico
    Renewable Energy Program
  • Bronx Community College, Bronx, New York
    The Center for Sustainable Energy
  • Humboldt State University, Arcata, California
    B.S. and M.S. programs in Environmental Resources Engineering
  • Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina
    Undergraduate Program in Appropriate Technology
  • Illinois State University, Department of Technology
    Renewable Energy Program
  • Arizona State University, School of Sustainability
  • Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania
    M.S. degree in Sustainable Systems
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison
    Solar Energy Laboratory (SEL)
  • Oregon Institute of Technology
    Renewable Energy Center
  • Washington State University
    Renewable Energy Program
  • Farmingdale College, Farmingdale, NY
    Solar Energy Center

Professional Outlook

The oil crisis. Global warming. Rising unemployment. These three statements share no sign of optimism. However, there is a silver lining for job hunters – the renewable energy industry.

There is now a reliance on alternative energy – an industry that was fledgling last decade, and is now thriving.

The trend toward renewable energy is continually growing, and, it seems like this growth will not cease until there is a marked improvement in the condition of our environment. For job seekers, this all translates into opportunity in a wide range of job markets, including solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power, and biofuels.


  • U.S. DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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