What Do Power Plant Operators Do

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz



Power Plant Operators

Power Plant Operators control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Includes auxiliary equipment operators.

Salary: $81890
Salary Rank: B
Education: No degree required
Becoming One: Easy
Job Satisfaction: Very High
Job Growth: Declining
Suitable Personality: The Builder

Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius


What they do

Power Plant Operators control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Includes auxiliary equipment operators.

  • Adjust controls to generate specified electrical power or to regulate the flow of power between generating stations and substations.
  • 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.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Power Plant Operators monitor power plant equipment and indicators to detect evidence of operating problems. They control power generating equipment, including boilers, turbines, generators, or reactors, using control boards or semi-automatic equipment.

A typical day for a Power Plant Operator will also include:

  • Clean, lubricate, or maintain equipment, such as generators, turbines, pumps, or compressors, to prevent failure or deterioration.
  • Adjust controls to generate specified electrical power or to regulate the flow of power between generating stations and substations.
  • Inspect records or logbook 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.
  • Make adjustments or minor repairs, such as tightening the leaking gland or pipe joints.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Power Plant Operators also replenish electrolytes in batteries and oil in voltage transformers and reset tripped electric relays. They may also receive outage calls and request necessary personnel during power outages or emergencies.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Power Plant Operators place standby emergency electrical generators online in emergencies and monitor the temperature, output, and lubrication of the system. They might also 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.

In addition, they collect oil, water, or electrolyte samples for laboratory analysis.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them examine and test electrical power distribution machinery and equipment, using testing devices.

To some Power Plant Operators, it is also their responsibility to make adjustments or minor repairs, such as tightening leaking glands or pipe joints.

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What is the job like

Job satisfaction
Very High
Is this job meaningful
Very High

81% said they were satisfied with their job and 69% said they found their job meaningful.

Pros

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who want to work in a supportive work environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Normal working hours (40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

Demand for this career is declining.


Salary

Average salary
$81890 per year
Average hourly wage
$39 per hour

Entry-level Power Plant Operators with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $48,090 to $65,300 per year or $23 to $31 per hour.

Salary range Hourly Annual
Highest (Top 10%) $54 $111,470
Senior (Top 25%) $48 $99,890
Middle (Mid 50%) $41 $84,650
Junior (Bottom 25%) $31 $65,300
No experience (Bottom 10%) $23 $48,090

How to become one

Should you become one

Best personality for this career
The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.


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