Power Plant Operators

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

Median Annual Wage: $70,070

Education: High school diploma or equivalent (74%); Post-secondary certificate (21%); Associate's degree (3%)

Projected Growth: Decline (-3% or lower)

Related Job Titles: Auxiliary Operator; Control Room Operator; Unit Operator; Control Operator; Power Plant Operator; Plant Control Operator; Operations and Maintenance Technician (O & M Technician); Multicraft Operator (MCO); Senior Power Plant Operator; Station Operator

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Power Plant Operators.

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  • Monitor power plant equipment and indicators to detect evidence of operating problems.
  • Control generator output to match the phase, frequency, or voltage of electricity supplied to panels.
  • 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.
  • Control power generating equipment, including boilers, turbines, generators, or reactors, using control boards or semi-automatic equipment.
  • Start or stop generators, auxiliary pumping equipment, turbines, or other power plant equipment as necessary.
  • Communicate with systems operators to regulate and coordinate line voltages and transmission loads and frequencies.
  • Open and close valves and switches in sequence to start or shut down auxiliary units.
  • Inspect records or log book entries or communicate with plant personnel to assess equipment operating status.
  • Regulate equipment operations and conditions, such as water levels, based on instrument data or from computers.
  • Take regulatory action, based on readings from charts, meters and gauges, at established intervals.
  • Record and compile operational data by completing and maintaining forms, logs, or reports.
  • Clean, lubricate, or maintain equipment, such as generators, turbines, pumps, or compressors, to prevent failure or deterioration.
  • Place standby emergency electrical generators on line in emergencies and monitor the temperature, output, and lubrication of the system.
  • Make adjustments or minor repairs, such as tightening leaking gland and pipe joints.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Power Plant Operators.

  • 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.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • 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.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Power Plant Operators.

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