Today, the most popular and rapidly growing education field is computer science. New courses, new programs, entire colleges and universities are built around preparing hundreds and thousands of coders, software engineers, data scientists, game developers, AI and robotics experts, and other IT professionals. We see it in the number of relevant orders our essay service processes.
But what about the professions of tomorrow? When today’s first-graders come of age and need to decide on their future occupation, what will that be after the thirst for computer science specialists is quenched? I’m not Nostradamus, but my best guess would be anything related to renewable energy sources.
Open the Portal: Ecotech Institute – Gateway to Studying Renewable Energy
One of the first educational institutions devoted solely to renewable energy was Ecotech Institute. It was a private, for-profit school owned and operated by the Education Corporation of America. The entire Ecotech project was clearly a commercial project from the very start. This becomes apparent once you look at other spheres that the ECA was operating in – golf, culinary, business and finance, distance education programs, etc. However, education in renewable energy and energy efficiency was, perhaps, the most promising and reflecting the zeitgeist.
The Ecotech Institute’s class schedule offered courses and diplomas in four main fields:
- Solar energy technology;
- Wind energy technology (and specializations);
- Power utility technician (renewable energy technology);
- Electronics technology (electrical engineering technology).
Programs were accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools and designed to be completed in two years to bring students associate degrees. The curriculum included on-site and online courses, accessible via the student portal Ecotech Institute had launched to supplement the studying process.
Ecotech Institute Locations and Cost of Studying
The Ecotech Institute’s campus was located in Aurora, Co. No surprise here, as the entire Colorado state is well-known for its green-friendly reputation and extensive use of renewable energy resources. Remarkably, the Ecotech Institute’s facility was equipped with solar panels and wind turbines on the roof. On the ground, there were solar trees and occupancy-sensitive lighting. In general, the entire campus utilized energy-saving zero-client computing technology; no wonder it had Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification granted by the U.S. Green Building Council.
On average, the cost of Ecotech Institute tuition was around $20.000-$23.000, without taking into account scholarships and grants. Although incomparable to fees that leading universities in the area where is the Ecotech Institute located ask for, this was a pretty significant price for Denver, Colorado. Since 2012, somewhat around 200 students have been graduating from the institution for five years.
Unfortunately, the Education Corporation of America shut down the Ecotech Institute quite unexpectedly at the end of 2018, along with over a dozen other colleges nationwide. This left college attendees completely empty-handed in the middle of an academic year. Naturally, the Ecotech Institute student portal and the entire college’s website went down pretty soon, too. Regrettably, available feedback doesn’t reflect the real state of things and the benefits the very existence of this college has brought to the sphere of renewable energy. And they certainly don’t appreciate the Ecotech Institute’s role as a pioneer in renewable energy education.
The Renewable Energy Education Today
On the one hand, it can be said that the renewable energy sources industry has been around for decades. On the other hand, one can argue that the closing of Ecotech Institute demonstrates that there’s nothing to look for. However, as I’ve researched the issue in and out, I tend to think it’s all about wrong timing and poor management by the ECA. Displeased feedback by former Ecotech Institute employees on Glassdoor confirms this point of view. At the same time, former college attendees were all delight about the programs and teaching staff in their Ecotech Institute student reviews online.
Nowadays, as technology moves on, renewable energy sources are being used more and more widely. Solar panels and wind turbines in private houses, electric cars, kinetic pavements, carbon capture, biomass gasification – these and other renewable energy-based technologies are used by hundreds of millions of people globally. Interestingly, many developments in the renewable energy industry go hand in hand with breakthroughs in the computer science field. And at the moment when the synergy of these two areas is reached, the demand for young professionals will increase dramatically. Expectedly, the renewable energy programs can take it to the top 5 educational fields in the US, which now are business management, health professions, social sciences, engineering, and biological and biomedical sciences. Then, future students would more likely address custom writing services like WowEssays.com to get help from a renewable energy expert rather than a nursing essay writer.
After the COVID-19 breakout, many educational institutions had to go off the market. Today, sustainable and renewable energy is primarily studied as separate programs in well-reputed brick-and-mortar universities. The 2022-2023 Best National University Rankings from US News in the Engineering Technologies and Engineering-Related Fields category gives first place to Princeton University. The silver goes to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, while Harvard University takes the bronze. Other universities with great programs and also collaborating with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory research centers include Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon, University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, North Carolina State University, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Wisconsin, Colorado School of Mines, University of Utah, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, Binghamton University, and University of Toledo.
The bottom line here is that sustainable and renewable energy has the potential to become the ‘new black’ in education like computer science was several years ago. However, when we look forward, we shouldn’t forget the people and institutions that paved the way for new things. In our case, it’s the Ecotech Institute, fallen but not forgotten.