Power Plant OperatorPrint
POWER PLANT OPERATORS control the machinery that generates electricity. Power distributors and dispatchers control the flow of electricity from the power plant over a network of transmission lines to industrial plants and substations, and finally, over distribution lines to residential users. Most power plant operators work in plants fueled by electricity. Some work in power plants fueled by coal, oil, or natural gas. Power plant operators regulate and monitor boilers, turbines, generators, and auxiliary equipment such as coal crushers, ventilation equipment, electric breakers, and switching gear.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $69,500 average per year ($33.50 per hour)
- A medium occupation (63,500 workers in 2010)
- Expected to decline (0.2% per year)
Employers generally seek high school graduates for entry level POWER PLANT OPERATOR positions. Those with strong math and science skills are preferred. College level courses or prior experience in a mechanical or technical job may be helpful. Workers selected for training undergo extensive on-the-job and classroom training provided by the employer. Several years of training and experience are required to become a fully qualified operator. In addition to preliminary training as a power plant operator, distributor, or dispatcher, most workers are given periodic refresher training. No special licensing or certification is required for power plant operators.