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Power Plant Operators

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Life As a Power Plant Operator

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

List of Power Plant Operator Job Duties

  • Operate or maintain distributed power generation equipment, including fuel cells or microturbines, to produce energy on-site for manufacturing or other commercial purposes.
  • Record and compile operational data by completing and maintaining forms, logs, or reports.
  • Monitor power plant equipment and indicators to detect evidence of operating problems.
  • Clean, lubricate, or maintain equipment, such as generators, turbines, pumps, or compressors, to prevent failure or deterioration.
  • Operate, control, or monitor integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) or related equipment, such as air separation units, to generate electricity from coal.
  • Control generator output to match the phase, frequency, or voltage of electricity supplied to panels.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Power Plant Operator?

When polled, Power Plant Operators say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

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.

Types of Power Plant Operator Jobs

  • Operations and Maintenance Technician (O & M Technician)
  • Power Generating Plant Operator
  • Booster Plant Operator
  • Control Center Operator
  • Hydroelectric Plant Operator

Is There Going to be Demand for Power Plant Operators?

There were about 36,100 jobs for Power Plant Operators in 2016 (in the United States).

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 1.3% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 500 new jobs for Power Plant Operators by 2026. There will be an estimated 3,200 positions for Power Plant Operator per year.

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

The states with the most job growth for Power Plant Operators are Texas, Florida, and Nevada.

Watch out if you plan on working in Wisconsin, Ohio, or Colorado. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Power Plant Operators Make A Lot Of Money?

The salary for Power Plant Operators ranges between about $45,590 and $106,650 a year. The median salary is $79,610.

Salary Ranges for Power Plant Operators

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

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

California

$93,610

Washington

$93,600

Hawaii

$90,650

New York

$87,360

Nevada

$87,230

North Dakota

$87,130

Maryland

$87,040

New Jersey

$84,190

Montana

$83,580

Minnesota

$82,100

New Mexico

$81,690

Kentucky

$80,870

Michigan

$80,420

North Carolina

$79,900

Massachusetts

$79,370

Oregon

$79,300

Wyoming

$78,890

Colorado

$78,060

Tennessee

$77,880

Connecticut

$77,550

Iowa

$77,140

Mississippi

$76,740

Missouri

$76,320

Utah

$75,590

Texas

$74,380

Ohio

$73,650

Florida

$72,950

Pennsylvania

$72,550

Illinois

$72,060

South Carolina

$71,630

Louisiana

$71,380

Alabama

$70,890

Georgia

$70,640

Nebraska

$70,350

Arkansas

$69,980

Maine

$69,300

Indiana

$68,330

Idaho

$68,280

Oklahoma

$67,570

Wisconsin

$67,150

New Hampshire

$67,060

West Virginia

$65,810

Vermont

$63,550

Alaska

$63,310

Virginia

$62,360

Kansas

$57,030

What Tools 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 Access
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel

Becoming a Power Plant Operator

What education is needed to be a Power Plant Operator?

Power Plant Operator Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Power Plant Operator?

Power Plant Operator Work Experience

Where Power Plant Operators Are Employed

Power Plant Operator Sectors

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those thinking about becoming Power Plant Operators might also be interested in the following careers:

  • Locomotive Engineers

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

  • Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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