Careers in Energy Industry Economic and Policy Analysis
One finds a lot of government, political science, and economics undergraduate majors in nonprofit jobs, but also a fair number of other humanities folks as well--the primary requirements for these jobs are a demonstrated passion for the issues, research and writing skills, and a facility with the microeconomics concepts that so fundamentally describe energy sector dynamics. Think tanks, in contrast, are mainly home to PhDs doing academically oriented research work. Government agencies offer a wealth of employment opportunities, from small state energy investment agencies to the massive federal Department of Energy. Most public sector employers offer a variety of positions for new college graduates, experienced economic analysts, and MBAs/PhDs in more senior postings.
Government agencies can be good places to learn a lot about the industry and start off a career. The large federal agencies like the EPA and DOE offer new graduate rotational programs that are a well-respected training ground. People who go into government work may find it difficult to later move into private sector positions without earning another degree like an MBA. However, there is a wealth of interesting positions one can hold over a career within government and nonprofits alone.
In nonprofit organizations, job satisfaction tends to be extremely high. People love the fact that they are impacting government and corporate policy through their daily work, and are often happy to take home part of their paycheck in the form of simply knowing that they are "making a difference." Most nonprofit groups are small, and their energy teams may be just a few people. With so few resources, everyone ends up doing interesting content-oriented work, and it's hard to get shuttled into a "grunt" type of position. But because resources are constrained, nonprofit employees do frequently get burned out by the long hours, and many eventually seek out better-paying jobs after a few years.