Energy Power Plant Operator
Salary Range Jobs Available
$54,500 - $116,300 2,600+

What Does a Power Plant Operator Do?

Power plant operators are a key link in the nation’s energy chain. They operate and maintain machinery to generate electricity, and they work with distributors and dispatchers to ensure electricity flows to substations and then to homes and businesses.

Power plant operators control power-generating equipment — calibrating it, reading meters and ensuring smooth operation by manipulating the various components. 

The work environment may involve temperature extremes, crouching in small spaces to operate equipment and working near and on high-voltage equipment.

Beyond the physical requirements, this career is well-suited to someone who has good judgment and trouble-shooting skills. If this sounds like a good fit for you, keep reading to learn more about this important and exceptionally well-paying career. 

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)


  • Ensure constant flow of electricity to avoid blackouts
  • Monitor power-generating equipment fueled by coal, gas, nuclear energy, hydroelectric energy, wind or solar power
  • Monitor instruments to maintain voltage
  • Check equipment and valves that monitor pressure, temperature and vibration
  • Start or stop generator's turbines when needed
  • Disconnect equipment from circuitry 
  • Perform maintenance on machines
  • Log operational data and compile reports

How To Become A Power Plant Operator: FAQs

The bottom line:

This is one of the highest-paying jobs in power generation that only require a high-school diploma and extensive training. With a median salary of $85,000 and the chance to learn while you earn, this career is a hidden gem. If you’ve got the right personal qualities and you want to ensure delivery of a vital resource, this job could be a great fit. Check out SkillPointe’s training options and get started on your new career!

Find Power Plant Operator Training In Your Area

Not sure about this job?
Find your match with our career quiz.

Need help reaching your goals?

Explore our Financial Resources page for scholarships, FAQ answers and student support services.

Explore More