How Do You Become a Wind Turbine Technician?

Those who want to become a wind turbine technician will need to have specific training. Almost all wind turbine technicians earn a two-year degree through a trade school, technical program or community college. Some renewable energy companies even off their own accelerated learning programs.

Wind Turbine Programs

Wind turbine degree programs teach students the technical skills necessary to repair, service and maintain a wide-range of wind energy equipment and machinery. In the beginning, they learn about safety, so they know the legal requirements for working at great heights with hoists, slings and harnesses. This includes learning CPR, first aid and climbing rescue techniques. Students are introduced to the history, components and terminology of the renewable energy industry.

Students learn about generator work procedures, such as lockout practices and emergency stop procedures, and how to install, adjust, repair and troubleshoot a wide range of electro-mechanical systems. They learn about lubrication, laser alignment, mounting electric motors and installing mechanical transmission systems. Advanced topics include vibration analysis, hydraulic systems, brake systems, electric pitch and heat exchange systems. Finally, they learn about metal torque, tensioning, bolding and rigging procedures.

Develop the Right Skills

Wind turbine technicians must be detail oriented and maintain records of all performed services. This is important because wind turbine maintenance requires a strict order of operations, precise measurements and numerous safety procedures. They need physical stamina because wind technicians must be able to climb to the tops of turbines carrying tools and equipment. Tower ladders may be 150 to 250 feet tall. While they are working at great heights, they will need physical strength to lift heavy parts, tools and equipment that weigh up to 50 pounds.

Most important, wind turbine technicians need mechanical skills so they are able to maintain and repair all hydraulic, braking and electrical mechanical systems of a wind turbine. Having strong mechanical and troubleshooting skills will help them diagnose and repair problems while working under pressure. Finally, they must be unafraid of heights and confined spaces, which are used to access the wind turbine’s mechanical components.

Complete an Internship

In addition to a two-year degree, employers expect wind technicians to receive six to 12 months of on-the-job training. This provides them the opportunity to learn about the specific wind turbines that they will service and maintain under the watchful eyes of an experienced technician. Some of the training may be provided by renewable energy manufacturer reps or local wind turbine servicing contractors.

Wind techs are encouraged to complete prior training and internships. For example, electricians complete internships along with on-site construction training. Other wind technicians complete their training through apprenticeships. Every year, they will receive around 100 to 200 hours of technical instruction and 1,000 to 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. Sometimes, this is preferred because it provides hands-on experience and reduces the time spent in training at work.

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Those who want to become a wind turbine technician can explore the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) career page to learn about duties, salaries and academic requirements.