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Utility Careers

Utilities touch almost every part of your life—heating and cooling your work and life spaces, providing fresh water and managing wastewater to enable drinking, bathing and cleaning, and operation of all of the appliances which make work and life happen, including internet and cable for work and entertainment.  The utilities industry includes the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, distribution of natural gas, treatment and distribution of water supplies, and wastewater treatment.

The utilities industry provides all the usual positions—customer service, accounting, human resources, administrative assistants, technology, and management—although approximately 40% of jobs in the industry are in production, installation, maintenance and repair, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Jobs involving water distribution and treatment involve knowledge of electrical equipment, data collection and analysis, inventory management of chemicals, fuel and supplies, and be up to date on current technologies in water treatment, distribution and quality, as well as safety regulations and requirements.


Electricity jobs are wide-ranging, and involve design of electrical components, overseeing the production of electricity at a power plant, installation of electrical wiring and systems, and much more.  A high school diploma is required, and then you can move on to formal education like an electrician certificate or associate’s degree, or pursue an apprenticeship under a master.  This is applicable for electricians, line workers, and other electricity-related positions.


Skills required to work in utility positions include:

  • Electrical Engineering: Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism.
  • Power Distribution: Power distribution is a process which is used to move electricity from locations where it is generated to people who need it. Distribution takes place through a system known as the electrical grid or simply grid, which is designed to keep power constantly on call so that it can meet demand.
  • Project Management: Project management involves initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing out the work of a team to achieve specified goals and meet client requirements.
  • Electrical Systems: Electrical system design is the design of electrical systems. Electrical systems are groups of electrical components connected to carry out some operation.
  • Safety regulations knowledge: Many of these jobs can have a level of risk and are subject to OSHA regulations, and workers need to understand compliance and safety procedures.
  • Equipment and Technical skills: Often people in this field will be responsible for calibration, maintenance and repair of equipment.

As well as some basics, like:

  • Problem solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Critical thinking
  • Troubleshooting ability
  • Physical stamina/strength
  • Teamwork


Technology used in this field:

Analytical software: MATLAB, SAS

Computer aided design: AutoCAD, Solidworks, Revit, Microstation

Industrial Control software: Interlock shutdown systems, FAST/TOOLS

Coding: Java, Python, C++


Certifications and Licensing:

  • Water treatment and distribution workers can require certification, but it varies by state. The EPA has a list which outlines requirements state by state.
  • BICSIoffers certification for cable line installers and repairers
  • Electrical Training ALLIANCEoffers certification for cable line installers and repairers in several specialty areas.
  • The Fiber Optic Association(FOA) offers two levels of fiber optic certification for telecommunications line installers and repairers.
  • Electrician certificate: require 1 semester of study and include education in reading blueprints, National Electrical Code standards, and various methods of repair and maintenance on electrical systems.


All of these areas have management and supervisory positions, but below are some job titles by focus area:

Electric Power Production and Grid Distribution

Power is produced through power plants (nuclear, hydroelectric, etc.) which then distribute that electricity through a network (or grid) of substations, transformers and power lines to connect that power to consumers.

  • Electrical powerline installer
  • Power plant operator
  • Electrician
  • Nuclear engineer
  • Power dispatcher
  • Chemical equipment operator
  • Nuclear power reactor operator


Electric Power Transmission and Distribution

Transmission and distribution of electricity refers to the literal carrying of electricity over poles and wires from its generation point to homes and businesses.

  • Transmission Line Engineer
  • Utilities and power distribution engineer
  • Line installer/repairer
  • Inside wireman


Natural Gas Distribution

The US has a huge pipeline system for the distribution of natural gas, which includes transmission pipelines, delivery, receipt and connection points, storage facilities and import/export points.  The jobs that facilitate this process are part of natural gas distribution.

  • Control and valve installer/repairer
  • Gas business development manager
  • Groundman
  • Natural gas equipment operator
  • Natural gas fuser
  • Measurement technician
  • Laborer


Municipal Water Companies

Municipal water companies are localized public water systems (treatment and storage facilities and the pipe network for distribution) which bring clean water to consumers.

  • Water operator
  • Wastewater operator
  • Water reclamation manager
  • Water system supervisor


Sewage Treatment Facilities

Sewage treatment is the process that removes contaminants from wastewater and sewage to make it suitable for disposal.

  • Treatment facilities operator
  • Water operator
  • Public works director



Phone, cable and internet companies install, maintain and repair the phone and fiber optic lines through which phone, cable and internet utilities run. This field also includes the sales, operations and customer service through which services are provided and maintained.

  • Installation technician
  • Cable technician
  • Cable splicing technician
  • Fiber network field tech
  • Ethernet network architect


Energy Storage

Energy storage is the capture of energy produced at one time, for future use. This enables excess energy to be stored during lower usage times, for times when the demand on the grid is excessive and potentially problematic.

  • Energy storage solutions engineer
  • Microgrids technical sales manager
  • Energy storage engineer
  • Storage architect
  • Storage consultant


Alternative Energy Careers

Alternative, or “green”, energy solutions are growing with the increased demand on fossil fuels and government and company pledges to reduce carbon usage.  These options include solar, wind, and water energy, and there are a variety of career opportunities within each.

  • Renewable energy technician
  • Solar photovoltaic installer
  • Wind turbine service technician
  • Biofuels processing technician
  • Geothermal production manager
  • Hydroelectric plant technician
  • Solar energy system engineer


1st Tier

Career Resources


Majors and Concentrations

Associate’s degrees are offered in a variety of options pertaining to utility careers.  Potential programs to research if you’re interested in a career in one of the utility fields are:

  • Electrical engineering technology
  • Power plant technology
  • Water treatment

Bachelor’s degree programs include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Energy engineering
  • Sustainability
  • Telecommunications
  • Electrical engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Biology
  • Hydrology
  • Water engineering
  • Natural gas engineering


Jobs and Experiences

Companies which hire in these fields include:

Telecommunications (Phone/Cable/Internet)

  • Spectrum
  • Frontier
  • Verizon
  • AT&T



  • Pacific Gas & Electric
  • Southern California Edison
  • Florida Power & Light
  • Consolidated Edison
  • NY State Electric and Gas (NYSEG)
  • Dominion Energy


Alternative Energy:

  • Siemens
  • GE Energy
  • NextEra Energy, Inc.
  • Vestas


Natural gas distribution:

  • Exxon Mobil
  • British Petroleum (BP)
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Anadarko Petroleum