About the Solar Energy Program

A Bright Future is Yours with a Career in Solar

The solar photovoltaic (PV) program at Santa Monica College is designed to provide you with the skills necessary to place and advance in the solar energy industry. In as little as 16 weeks gain hands-on education and training in accelerated lab environments that help prepare you for work in this dynamic field. Pursue job roles like the installer, crew lead or PV designer. Alternative career tracks include solar sales and marketing, or even business ownership.

Over the course of the solar installation program, you will learn to appreciate and cultivate a holistic perspective on the complex role that solar power plays in our increasingly global economy and climate. You will examine the theoretical and technical dimensions of PV systems including advanced principles of energy and electricity, heat transfer, light measurement, PV components and equipment, and sizing and design.

Solve installation and design challenges alongside your peers as you apply alternative energy solutions to real-world problems in compliance with energy codes and standards. Learn how to describe the environmental, economic and social benefits of solar photovoltaic systems, and understand the nuances of the political and regulatory infrastructures affecting solar photovoltaic system installation.

Earn a departmental certificate or extend your coursework to earn a state-approved solar photovoltaic installation certificate with the qualifications required to take the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Photovoltaic Installer Entry Level Exam.

Degrees and Certificates

Associate of Science Degree Icon Associate in Science More information on the Associate in Science Degree

Get a foundation in general education, then gain the skills needed to excel in your desired field.

Completion of an Associate degree usually will not satisfy transfer major requirements. Meet with a counselor to develop an academic program best suited for you.

Estimated Timeline:
2+ years, 60 units

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Certificate of Achievement Icon Certificate of Achievement More information on the Certificate of Achievement

Gain the skills needed to excel in your desired field without completing general education requirements.

Estimated Timeline:
1+ years, 24+ units

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Certificate of Achievement Icon Department Certificate More information on the Department Certificate

Gain skills quickly with this short term program, then leverage them to get ahead in your career.

Estimated Timeline:
1 year or less, 18 units or less

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Associate in Science Degree - Solar Photovoltaic Installation and Energy Efficiency Associate in Science Degree icon

18 units + General Education Requirements

Certificate of Achievement - Solar Photovoltaic Installation Certificate of Achievement Icon

14 units

Department Certificate - Basic Solar Photovoltaic Installation Department Certificate Icon

8 units

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.

PDF FileView Requirements

PDF FileView Requirements

PDF FileView Requirements

SMC & Department Resources

Potential Career Options

Click on any job title to learn more.

Job Title Typical Education Median Wage
Energy Auditors Bachelor's Degree $70,007
Solar Energy Systems Engineers Bachelor's Degree $100,713
Solar Sales Representatives and Assessors Bachelor's Degree $77,459
Solar Energy Installation Managers Certificate $63,946
Solar Photovoltaic Installers High School Diploma or More $39,611
Solar Thermal Installers and Technicians High School Diploma or More $48,938