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Power Plant Operator

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All About Power Plant Operators

Job Description & Duties Control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Includes auxiliary equipment operators.

Daily Life Of a Power Plant Operator

  • Control or maintain auxiliary equipment, such as pumps, fans, compressors, condensers, feedwater heaters, filters, or chlorinators, to supply water, fuel, lubricants, air, or auxiliary power.
  • Make adjustments or minor repairs, such as tightening leaking gland or pipe joints.
  • Collect oil, water, or electrolyte samples for laboratory analysis.
  • Control power generating equipment, including boilers, turbines, generators, or reactors, using control boards or semi-automatic equipment.
  • Place standby emergency electrical generators on line in emergencies and monitor the temperature, output, and lubrication of the system.
  • Operate, control, or monitor integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) or related equipment, such as air separation units, to generate electricity from coal.

Skills Needed to be a Power Plant Operator

Power Plant Operators state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Quality Control Analysis: Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

  • Powerhouse Tender
  • Powerhouse Operator
  • Carbon Sequestration Plant Operator
  • Operations and Maintenance Specialist (O&M Specialist)
  • Turbine Operator

Job Opportunities for Power Plant Operators

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 36,100 jobs in the United States for Power Plant Operator. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 1.1% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 400 new jobs for Power Plant Operator by 2026. The BLS estimates 3,200 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Power Plant Operators in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Power Plant Operator are Nevada, Texas, and North Dakota. Watch out if you plan on working in Wisconsin, Montana, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Power Plant Operator Make?

The salary for Power Plant Operators ranges between about $45,590 and $106,650 a year.

Salary Ranges for Power Plant Operators

Power Plant Operators who work in California, Washington, or Hawaii, make the highest salaries.

How much do Power Plant Operators make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $70,890
Alaska $63,310
Arkansas $69,980
California $93,610
Colorado $78,060
Connecticut $77,550
Florida $72,950
Georgia $70,640
Hawaii $90,650
Idaho $68,280
Illinois $72,060
Indiana $68,330
Iowa $77,140
Kansas $57,030
Kentucky $80,870
Louisiana $71,380
Maine $69,300
Maryland $87,040
Massachusetts $79,370
Michigan $80,420
Minnesota $82,100
Mississippi $76,740
Missouri $76,320
Montana $83,580
Nebraska $70,350
Nevada $87,230
New Hampshire $67,060
New Jersey $84,190
New Mexico $81,690
New York $87,360
North Carolina $79,900
North Dakota $87,130
Ohio $73,650
Oklahoma $67,570
Oregon $79,300
Pennsylvania $72,550
South Carolina $71,630
Tennessee $77,880
Texas $74,380
Utah $75,590
Vermont $63,550
Virginia $62,360
Washington $93,600
West Virginia $65,810
Wisconsin $67,150
Wyoming $78,890

What Tools & Technology do Power Plant Operators Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Power Plant Operators may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software
  • Computerized maintenance management system CMMS
  • Distributed control system DCS
  • Interlock shutdown systems

How to Become a Power Plant Operator

Learn what Power Plant Operator education requirements there are.

Power Plant Operator Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Power Plant Operator?

Power Plant Operator Work Experience

Power Plant Operators Sector

Power Plant Operator Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Power Plant Operators work:

Power Plant Operator Industries

Similar Careers

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Are you already one of the many Power Plant Operator in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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