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Power Plant Operator

What Does it Take to Be a Power Plant Operator?

Power Plant Operator Example Control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Includes auxiliary equipment operators.

What Do Power Plant Operators Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Inspect thermal barrier coatings on integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) equipment for sintering, phase destabilization, or temperature variances to ensure compliance with standards and insulation efficiency.
  • Operate or maintain distributed power generation equipment, including fuel cells or microturbines, to produce energy on-site for manufacturing or other commercial purposes.
  • Operate, control, or monitor gasifiers or related equipment, such as coolers, water quenches, water gas shifts reactors, or sulfur recovery units, to produce syngas or electricity from coal.
  • Clean, lubricate, or maintain equipment, such as generators, turbines, pumps, or compressors, to prevent failure or deterioration.
  • Start or stop generators, auxiliary pumping equipment, turbines, or other power plant equipment as necessary.
  • Inspect records or log book entries or communicate with plant personnel to assess equipment operating status.

What Every Power Plant Operator Should Know

These are the skills Power Plant Operators say are the most useful in their careers:

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.

  • Batch Plant Operator
  • Instrumentation/Controls/Electrical Systems Technician (ICE Technician)
  • Turbo Operator
  • Auxiliary Equipment Tender
  • Powerhouse Tender

Is There Going to be Demand 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. There will be an estimated 3,200 positions for Power Plant Operator per year.

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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 average yearly salary of a Power Plant Operator ranges between $45,590 and $106,650.

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

How much do Power Plant Operators make in different U.S. states?

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 do Power Plant Operators Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Power Plant Operators:

  • 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

Becoming a Power Plant Operator

Are there Power Plant Operators education requirements?

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

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Where Power Plant Operators Are Employed

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The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

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Those interested in being a Power Plant Operator may also be interested in:

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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