energy

Energy

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What Does a Power Plant Operator Do?

Power plant operators are a key link in the nation’s energy chain. Operators, distributors and dispatchers operate the machines that generate electricity, which is then sent to substations and eventually to homes and businesses.

The operator primarily focuses on power-generating equipment – calibrating it, reading meters and ensuring its smooth operation by manipulating the valves, switches, breakers and other components. The work environment may involve temperature extremes, crouching in small spaces to operate needed equipment and working near and on high-voltage equipment.

Most power plant operators work full time, often with rotating shifts including nights, weekends and holidays to accommodate the constant need for electricity.

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Our one-of-kind Opportunity Meter rates jobs based on salary, current openings and future demand to help you choose the career that is best for you.
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Median Salary $
82,000
Jobs Available
3,120+
Female power plant operator inspecting equipment
Power plant operators are detail-oriented, spending much of their time checking that equipment is running properly. (Credit: FrameStockFootages /Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Check pressure, valves, temperatures and vibrations on equipment
  • Monitor power-generating equipment fueled by coal, gas, nuclear energy, hydroelectric energy, wind or solar power.
  • Log operational data and compile reports
  • Disconnect equipment from circuitry and restart when needed
  • Perform maintenance on machines to ensure they don’t break down
  • Ensure constant electricity to help prevent blackouts
Education + Training

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required. The majority of the training for this position happens on the job, but some employers may prefer an applicant with a technical school background. Previous military experience, strong math skills and a mechanical aptitude are helpful.

Many jobs require background checks and drug and alcohol screenings because of the nature of the work. Those specializing in nuclear power are trained on site to earn licensing credentials.

YOU MAY BE A GOOD FIT FOR THIS POSITION IF YOU
  • Have strong problem-solving skills
  • Are detailed-oriented
  • Have good communication skills
  • Have sharp observational skills
  • Are mechanically inclined

Power Plant Operator training in your area

Coordinates

Process Power Plant Technology, A.A.S.

Turtle Mountain Community College
Belcourt (0.0 Miles)

Plant Operations

Western Wyoming Community College
Rock Springs (0.0 Miles)

Process Power Plant Technology Certificate

Turtle Mountain Community College
Belcourt (0.0 Miles)

Plant Operators Certificate​

Western Wyoming Community College
Rock Springs (0.0 Miles)

Manufacturing Process Technology Certificate

Midlands Technical College
West Columbia (0.0 Miles)

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Process Technology

Louisiana Delta Community College
Monroe (0.0 Miles)

Gas and Energy Technology Certificate

Spartanburg Community College
Spartanburg (0.0 Miles)

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Process Technology

Louisiana Delta Community College
Monroe (0.0 Miles)

Energy Technology - Power/Building Engineer, A.A.S.

Henry Ford College
Dearborn (0.0 Miles)
Palm Beach State College logo

Electrical Power Technology Degree

Palm Beach State College
Lake Worth (0.0 Miles)

Energy Technology - Power/Building Engineer Advanced Certificate of Achievement - Option A

Henry Ford College
Dearborn (0.0 Miles)

Applied Process Technology: Energy Systems Operation, A. A. S.

Pierpont Community and Technical College
Fairmont (0.0 Miles)

Find Power Plant Operator Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

Power Scheduler

Invenergy
Chicago ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 7 months 2 weeks ago

Power Equipment Operator

Wal-Mart
Carrollton ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 2 weeks ago

Central Station Operator (Second Shift)

O'Reilly Auto Parts
Springfield ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 1 week ago

Senior Site Operator

Con Edison Solutions
Battle Mountain ( 0.0 ) Miles
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SO2 Operator - Harrison Power Station

First Energy
Haywood ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 weeks 1 day ago

Auxiliary Operator

Covanta Energy
Tulsa ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 weeks 1 day ago

Power Equipment Operator, FT, Weekends (Fri-Sun)

Macy's, Inc.
Goodyear ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 4 days ago

Control Room Operator

Cimarex
Midland ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 5 days 11 hours ago