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Santa Monica College|Academic Programs|Earth Science|Sustainable Technologies Program

Sustainable Technologies Program

The goal of the Sustainable Technologies Program is to provide students high quality training that will enable them to obtain desirable employment in the green collar economy.  

The Solar Photovoltaic Installation Certificate is designed to provide students the skills necessary to place and advance in the solar energy industry.  It is also designed to provide students with a holistic perspective on the role of solar power in a changing global economy and climate. The Recycling and Resource Mangement Certificate provides the practical skills and theoretical frameworks to help individuals, communities, and businesses reduce their waste, save money, and operate more efficiently. An Energy Efficiency Certificate of Achievement is being considered as a future offering – courses taken now would still be eligible.

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SMC students performing a public installation at the Dept. of Energy's Sunshot Conference.


The Solar Photovoltaic Installation Certificate of Achievement requires completion of 19 credits.  Required are PV1, PV2, and PV3, as well as EE1 (Energy Efficiency), GEOG 7 (Environmental Studies) and EITHER    GIS 20 (Geographic Information Systems) or INT ARC 35 (CAD: Computer Aided Design)  This certificate is approved at the State level and WILL appear on your transcript. Transfer students who wish to (also) qualify for an Associates degree should select either the Liberal Arts or General Science major.  Additional graduation requirements for the Associates degree from Santa Monica College are listed in the Academics section of the catalog as well as online (
The Recycling and Resource Management Certificate of Achievement requires the completion of 18 units, including the core classes (RRM 1-4) plus the two of the elective courses (ENV 20, ENV 22, ENV 7, ENV 40). The program is designed to provide formal training for individuals intersted in working in the recycling and resource management field. This training provides both the practical skills and the theoretical frameworks and critical thinking needed to advocate for a more sustainable and efficient.
We hope to soon offer a 19-credit, State-approved, Certificate of Achievement in Energy Efficiency.​


Departmental certificates are the first step on a green career ladder and may be earned in as little as one semester:
Solar Photovoltaics: Acquired by completing EE1, EE2, PV1, and PV2.
Recycling and Resource Management: Aquired by completing RRM1, RRM2, RRM3, RRM4
Energy Efficiency: Acquired by completing EE1, EE2, EE3, and PV1.
These program offerings have minimal pre-requisite requirements and students are often eligible for tuition and fees to be paid by third parties (Veterans, Employer Training, and Financial Aid). Transfer-oriented students should check classes against their transfer requirements, as not all career-technical credits are transferable. If possible consider taking these with your electives as these classes help you develop the skills employers will be looking for after graduation.
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CAREER OPTIONS (This list is not comprehensive)
Below are just some of the jobs you may become eligible for after participating in the STP program:

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Installer; PV Designer; PV Salesperson 
Energy Efficiency (EE) Specialist; EE Consultant
Sustainability Specialist; Sustainability Consultant
Independent business owner in Solar Energy and Energy Efficiency
Renewable Energy specialist
Recycling Coordinator
Zero Waste Events Coordinator


Full-Time Faculty:
Victoria Charles
Jon Michael Huls
Program Support:
Vicki Drake, Chair of the Earth Science Department
Ferris Kawar, Director of Sustainability


Upon completion of all the coursework for the Solar Photovoltaic Installation Certificate of Achievement:
1. Students will demonstrate a basic understanding of the introductory scientific and environmental concepts by applying alternative energy solutions, focusing on solar photovoltaic systems.
2. Students will be able to solve photovoltaic installation and design challenges, using their understanding of solar photovoltaic and thermal systems.
3. Students will describe environmental, economic, and social benefits of solar photovoltaic systems as well as political and regulatory infrastructure that affect photovoltaic system installation.
4. Students will remain current on advanced concepts in solar photovoltaic installation, troubleshooting, net metering laws, local codes, and National Electrical Code (NEC) PV requirements. Successful participants will be qualified to take the North America Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Photovoltaic Installer Entry Level exam.


Photovoltaic Systems 1: Introduction to Solar Energy Systems
Photovoltaic Systems 2: Intermediate PV System Installation
Photovoltaic Systems 3: Advanced Solar Photovoltaic Systems
Photovoltaic Systems 4: Technical Sales and Marketing in PV
Energy Efficiency 1:  Introduction to Energy Efficiency
Energy Efficiency 2: Residential Building Science
Energy Efficiency 3: Commercial Building Science


Upon completion of all the coursework for the Recycling and Resource Management Certificate of Achievement:
  1. Students will identify how Zero Waste principles can be a key part of community and business sustainability plans and help contribute to reducing greenhouse gases which affect global climate change.
  2. Students will identify key government agencies and policies and how to collaborate and obtain funding for outreach. Environmental educational skills, programs, and methods will be reviewed.
  3. Students will have the tools to design and develop community plans to eliminate waste and use resources efficiently through examining resource management and recovery in communities.
  4. Students will recognize and identify sustainable practices and resource management principles to provide implementation of those principles for businesses to work towards Zero Waste.
  5. Students will assess how companies have resolved issues that arise in implementing successful waste diversion and resource recovery programs.​ 


RRM 1: Intro to Recycling and Resource Management
RRM 2: The Culture of Zero Waste
RRM 3: Zero Waste for Communities
RRM 4: Zero Waste for Businesses

As more cities and businesses develop sustainability and zero-waste policies, there is an increased need for trained staff that can properly manage organizational resources and initiate programs. This training program will provide students with the resources they need to compete in the green jobs marketplace.

Elective Courses (requirements vary by Certificate Track)

Geography 20: Introduction to GIS or Interior Architectural Design 35: Computer-Aided Design and Drafting
Geography 7/Environmental Studies 7: Introduction to Environmental Studies
Psych 40 / Env 40: Environmental Psychology
Philo 20 / Env 20: Environmental Ethics
Pol Sc 22 / Env 22: Environmental Politics
Business 63: Principles of Entrepreneurship  

The Sustainable Tehcnologies Program is idea for those individuals that desire to:

  • ​work in the green jobs sector
  • support themselves while seeking a higher education degree
  • make a career change
  • obtain advancement in their current job
  • transfer into a major related to the environment (Geography, Geology, etc.) 

Financial Assistance

Qualified applicants may apply for need-based assistance through our financial aid office​.​

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