Power Plant Operator Career

power-plant-operator-500The power plant operator effectively is responsible for running the systems and equipment that manufacture, distribute, and regulate electricity for their customers. In some areas, they may also maintain a water tower. They have an important job in managing one of the most vital existing resources for society to function at full capacity.

As their title suggests, operators work in power plants. Depending on the source of power, such as nuclear energy, natural gas, wind, or water, the specific auxiliary instruments you work with may vary. It is considered a job of relative stress; poorly functioning equipment or improper regulation could result in an outage.

Power Plant Operator Career Snapshot

Most power plant operators are full-time employees, with many working rotating shifts. They work 40 hours per week, with some overtime. There are usually loud noise levels accompanying the functioning of mechanical instruments and machinery.

Further details on a career as a power plant operator are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly salary for power plant operators.


decrease in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a High school diploma or equivalent while 21% have a Post-secondary certificate.

Power Plant Operator Education

The only formal academic education required is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to go through a long period of extensive onsite training. Most places will also require licensing, which entails technical training along with the passing of an exam.

Power Plant Operator Job Duties

As a power plant operator, you can expect to work with machinery such as generators, turbines, and reactors. You will be reading meters, gauges, and charts, and using controls to make any needed adjustments to keep them running optimally. You will also do maintenance checks on the equipment for any possible developing problems; the job requires a high level of constant attention. In cases of emergency, they will also follow assigned procedures in locking down of the plant, or equipment.

Power Plant Operator Salaries

According to the BLS.gov, the median income for power plant operators in the year 2015 was $71,940. The lowest 10 percent made $44,270, and the highest 10 percent earned $101,590. Location as well as level of experience will play in to how much you will earn.

Power Plant Operator Job Outlook

The demand for power plant operators is expected to decline by 6-7 percent over the next decade. Technological advances in energy efficiency will enable power plants to serve a wider range of customers.

Power Plant Operator Skills & Traits

Power Plant Operator Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Power Plant Operators:Typical Work Activities:
• Operation Monitoring
• Critical Thinking
• Operation and Control
• Speaking
• Active Listening
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Problem Sensitivity
• Deductive Reasoning
• Near Vision
• Air Scrubbers
• Control Boards
• Flowmeters
• Heat Exchangers
• Wet Scrubbers
• Controlling Machines & Processes
• Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
• Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
• Getting Information

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