Department of Labor and Regulation

Title - Labor Market Information Center

Career Opportunities in South Dakota's Greening Economy

Have you considered going green in your career move?

Workers in green jobs produce a product or service that improves energy efficiency, expands the use of renewable energy or helps maintain our natural environment.

If you ...

  • have a passion for environmental issues
  • want to work on the leading edge of technology
  • want to contribute to the betterment of the world or
  • seek work that contributes to your ideals,

consider South Dakota opportunities in new and emerging energy jobs like:

  Matching O*Net Code Matching O*Net Title
Environmental Manager 19-2041.00 Environmental Scientists and Specialists, including Health
Fuel Procurement Manager 11-3061.00 Purchasing Managers
Forestry Technician 45-4011.00 Forest and Conservation Workers
Molecular Biologist 19-1029.02 Molecular and Cellular Biologists
Operator for Liquid or Aquaculture System 19-1022.00 Microbiologists
Solar Energy System Engineer 17-2199.11 Solar Energy Systems Engineers
Strain Breeder 19-1029.02 Molecular and Cellular Biologists

Click on any of the O*Net occupational titles above for more information.

19-2041.00 Environmental Scientists and Specialists, including Health


  • Collect, synthesize, analyze, manage, and report environmental data, such as pollution emission measurements, atmospheric monitoring measurements, meteorological and mineralogical information, and soil or water samples.
  • Analyze data to determine validity, quality, and scientific significance, and to interpret correlations between human activities and environmental effects.
  • Communicate scientific and technical information to the public, organizations, or internal audiences through oral briefings, written documents, workshops, conferences, training sessions, or public hearings.
  • Provide scientific and technical guidance, support, coordination, and oversight to governmental agencies, environmental programs, industry, or the public.
  • Process and review environmental permits, licenses, and related materials.
  • Review and implement environmental technical standards, guidelines, policies, and formal regulations that meet all appropriate requirements.
  • Prepare charts or graphs from data samples, providing summary information on the environmental relevance of the data.
  • Determine data collection methods to be employed in research projects and surveys.
  • Investigate and report on accidents affecting the environment.
  • Research sources of pollution to determine their effects on the environment and to develop theories or methods of pollution abatement or control.

Average U.S. Wages (2009): $29.33 hourly, $61.010 annually

U.S. Employment (2008): 86,000

For more information on Environmental Scientists and Specialists, visit O*Net Online.

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11-3061.00 Purchasing Managers


  • Represent companies in negotiating contracts and formulating policies with suppliers.
  • Direct and coordinate activities of personnel engaged in buying, selling, and distributing materials, equipment, machinery, and supplies.
  • Interview and hire staff, and oversee staff training.
  • Locate vendors of materials, equipment or supplies, and interview them to determine product availability and terms of sales.
  • Prepare and process requisitions and purchase orders for supplies and equipment.
  • Develop and implement purchasing and contract management instructions, policies, and procedures.
  • Maintain records of goods ordered and received.
  • Participate in the development of specifications for equipment, products or substitute materials.
  • Analyze market and delivery systems to assess present and future material availability.
  • Resolve vendor or contractor grievances, and claims against suppliers.

Average U.S. Wages (2009): $43.96 hourly, $91,440 annually

U.S. Employment (2008): 70,000

For more information on Purchasing Managers, visit O*Net Online.

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45-4011.00 Forest And Conservation Workers


  • Check equipment to ensure that it is operating properly.
  • Confer with other workers to discuss issues such as safety, cutting heights, or work needs.
  • Fight forest fires or perform prescribed burning tasks under the direction of fire suppression officers or forestry technicians.
  • Perform fire protection or suppression duties, such as constructing fire breaks or disposing of brush.
  • Select or cut trees according to markings or sizes, types, or grades.
  • Identify diseased or undesirable trees and remove them, using power saws or hand saws.
  • Spray or inject vegetation with insecticides to kill insects or to protect against disease or with herbicides to reduce competing vegetation.
  • Drag cut trees from cutting areas and load trees onto trucks.
  • Thin or space trees, using power thinning saws.
  • Maintain tallies of trees examined and counted during tree marking or measuring efforts.

Average U.S. Wages (2009): $12.30 hourly, $25,580 annually

U.S. Employment (2008): 13,000

For more information on Forest and Conservation Workers, visit O*Net Online.

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19-1029.02 Molecular And Cellular Biologists


  • Maintain accurate laboratory records and data.
  • Design molecular or cellular laboratory experiments, oversee their execution, and interpret results.
  • Conduct research on cell organization and function including mechanisms of gene expression, cellular bioinformatics, cell signaling, or cell differentiation.
  • Instruct undergraduate and graduate students within the areas of cellular or molecular biology.
  • Compile and analyze molecular or cellular experimental data and adjust experimental designs as necessary.
  • Prepare reports, manuscripts, and meeting presentations.
  • Supervise technical personnel and postdoctoral research fellows.
  • Direct, coordinate, organize, or prioritize biological laboratory activities.
  • Perform laboratory procedures following protocols including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequencing, cloning and extraction, ribonucleic acid (RNA) purification, or gel electrophoresis.
  • Develop assays that monitor cell characteristics.

Average U.S. Wages (2009): $31.98 hourly, $66,510 annually

U.S. Employment (2008): 32,000

For more information on Molecular And Cellular Biologists, visit O*Net Online.

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19-1022.00 Microbiologists


  • Investigate the relationship between organisms and disease including the control of epidemics and the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
  • Prepare technical reports and recommendations based upon research outcomes.
  • Supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists.
  • Provide laboratory services for health departments, for community environmental health programs and for physicians needing information for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Use a variety of specialized equipment such as electron microscopes, gas chromatographs and high pressure liquid chromatographs, electrophoresis units, thermocyclers, fluorescence activated cell sorters and phosphoimagers.
  • Examine physiological, morphological, and cultural characteristics, using microscope, to identify and classify microorganisms in human, water, and food specimens.
  • Study growth, structure, development, and general characteristics of bacteria and other microorganisms to understand their relationship to human, plant, and animal health.
  • Isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms in prescribed or developed media, controlling moisture, aeration, temperature, and nutrition.
  • Observe action of microorganisms upon living tissues of plants, higher animals, and other microorganisms, and on dead organic matter.
  • Study the structure and function of human, animal and plant tissues, cells, pathogens and toxins.

Average U.S. Wages (2009): $32.01 hourly, $66,580 annually

U.S. Employment (2008): 17,000

For more information on Microbiologists, visit O*Net Online.

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17-2199.11 Solar Energy Systems Engineers


  • Conduct engineering site audits to collect structural, electrical, and related site information for use in the design of residential or commercial solar power systems.
  • Design or coordinate design of photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal systems, including system components, for residential and commercial buildings.
  • Create checklists for review or inspection of completed solar installation projects.
  • Create electrical single-line diagrams, panel schedules, or connection diagrams for solar electric systems using computer-aided design (CAD) software.
  • Create plans for solar energy system development, monitoring, and evaluation activities.
  • Develop design specifications and functional requirements for residential, commercial, or industrial solar energy systems or components.
  • Perform computer simulation of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation system performance or energy production to optimize efficiency.
  • Provide technical direction or support to installation teams during installation, start-up, testing, system commissioning, or performance monitoring.
  • Design or develop vacuum tube collector systems for solar applications.
  • Develop standard operation procedures and quality or safety standards for solar installation work.

Average U.S. Wages (2009):$43.06 hourly, $89,560 annually

U.S. Employment (2008): 183,000

For more information on Solar Energy Systems Engineers, visit O*Net Online.

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A colorful 11 by 17 inch poster highlighting the employment opportunities in new and emerging green occupations in South Dakota as featured above is available from the Labor Market Information Center. Download and print the poster yourself (11 by 17 inch format) or contact the Labor Market Information Center to order.

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Note: This workforce solution was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. The solution was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This solution is copyrighted by the institution that created it. Internal use by an organization and/or personal use by an individual for non-commercial purposes is permissible. All other uses require the prior authorization of the copyright owner.


Marcia Hultman, Secretary
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501-2291
Tel. 605.773.3101
Fax. 605.773.6184