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How to Find a Green Job

Considering a new line of work? Recycling, energy efficiency and eco-friendly careers are on the rise

Median pay range: $8.16 to $17.90-plus an hour. $50 to $90 an hour is possible, depending on experience. Most landscapers opt for a flat rate for an initial design, and then add hourly fees for execution and maintenance.

Qualifications: Understanding of horticulture, including a wide-ranging knowledge of plants and diseases. Drafting a design by hand is generally accepted, although some clients might want to see a computer design via CAD software. You might consider taking a Master Gardener class to boost your résumé. The Ecological Landscaping Association holds an annual conference with workshops and educational sessions. Its website provides links to seminars and events held around the country. Many community colleges and universities offer certificates and degrees in sustainable landscape design. George Washington University’s program, for instance, is offered on a series of weekends, and there’s an annual landscape design career fair. Check out garden centers in your locale for classes and certificate programs. In Pittsburgh, you can earn a certificate in sustainable horticulture at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The Association of Professional Landscape Designers offers certification to members who have at least four years of experience and submit three projects they have completed for review.

5. Certified vehicle emission inspector

The nitty-gritty: A certified vehicle emission inspector ensures that cars and trucks aren’t spewing out toxic levels of air pollution. Emission inspectors usually work at dedicated facilities using a variety of equipment from gauges to dynamometers to test cars and trucks for conformance to emissions standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Job openings may be found at state government vehicle inspection facilities, car dealerships, auto repair shops and automakers.

Median hourly pay: $13.43 to $20.03-plus per hour, according to

Qualifications: Each state has its own certification process, which might require classroom training, plus a written exam. You can check the list of approved emission inspection programs through your state’s department of motor vehicles.

Kerry Hannon is the author of
What’s Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job.

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