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 $
94,000
Jobs Available
900+
Power plant operator looks at monitors that control power-generating equipment
Power plant operators are detail-oriented, spending much of their time checking that equipment is running properly. (Credit: Dusan Petkovic/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

Plant Operations

Western Wyoming Community College
Rock Springs (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)

Process Power Plant Technology, A.A.S.

Turtle Mountain Community College
Belcourt (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)

Process Power Plant Technology Certificate

Turtle Mountain Community College
Belcourt (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)

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

Pierpont Community and Technical College
Fairmont (0.0 Miles)

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

Henry Ford College
Dearborn (0.0 Miles)

Power Plant Operations Certificate of Completion (Online)

College of DuPage
Glen Ellyn (0.0 Miles)

Find Power Plant Operator Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

Power Equipment Operator-Costco

Costco Wholesale Corporation
Sumner ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 year 1 month ago

Assistant Plant Operator

Procter & Gamble
Boston ( 0.0 ) Miles
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Equipment Operator (11AM - 7PM)

CVS Health
Kansas City ( 0.0 ) Miles
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Utility Operator III

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month ago

Utility Plant Auxiliary Operator

Harvard University
Cambridge ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 5 days ago

Power Equipment Operator

Wal-Mart
Groveport ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week ago

Control Room Operator (Long Beach EfW facility)

Covanta Energy
Long Beach ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 days 14 hours ago

Power Equipment Operator-Costco

Costco Wholesale Corporation
College Park ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 year 1 month ago