By Carol McClelland, Author of “Green Careers for Dummies” and Founder of


Todays post is the first of four posts this month by guest author Carol McClelland on green careers. Carol will also appear live on our blog on March 18th to answer your questions about green careers. Stay tuned!!


Before you can decide on your green career, you must take a little time to get a sense of the green economy from a big picture point of view.
Just relying on what you hear in the mainstream media isn’t enough because the media tends to focus on a subset of emerging green industries. Furthermore, the media is trying to highlight immediate opportunities, while missing some of the larger opportunities out on the horizon.
Use these key points to get a sense of how the green economy is evolving.

  • In researching my book, Green Careers For Dummies, I discovered over 50 industries and sectors that are rethinking and reworking their business practices to reduce their impact on the environment and enhance their impact on their community.


  • The green economy is not static. It’s constantly evolving, being shaped by a complex combination of a number of factors including policy, funding, partnerships, rebates and tax credits, innovation, and science.


  • Significant, game changing announcements are being made in many of these industries on a regular basis. Watch for announcements through industry/trade associations can keep you up to date.


  • Although it’s important to be realistic about short-term opportunities in this emerging economy, keep an eye on projections for long term growth as well. This new economy will be unfolding over time. Don’t turn away from an interesting career direction because the short-term opportunities are limited. Use this time to prepare yourself to be ready to jump into your target career when that industry is ready to open up.


  • Industries and sectors going green fall into several distinct categories.     
    • Traditionally focused on environmental issues-environmental sciences, natural resource management.
    • Traditional industries going green-building, transportation, manufacturing.
    • Emerging industries that are creating new jobs-smart grid, information technology, clean tech industries.
    • Functions that focus on stimulating demand for greener actions, purchases, and decisions. Think policy, finance, environmental education, marketing and sales.

In my next post, I’ll talk about how identifying your green focus speeds up your search for a green career.