Geothermal Technicians

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About the Job

Perform technical activities at power plants or individual installations necessary for the generation of power from geothermal energy sources. Monitor and control operating activities at geothermal power generation facilities and perform maintenance and repairs as necessary. Install, test, and maintain residential and commercial geothermal heat pumps.

It is also Called

  • Pump Technician
  • PPO (Power Plant Operator)
  • Plant Technician
  • Plant Operator
  • Plant Mechanic
  • Plant Control Operator
  • Operator Technician
  • Operator
  • Operations Technician
  • Operations and Maintenance Technician
View All

What They Do

  • Calculate heat loss and heat gain factors for residential properties to determine heating and cooling required by installed geothermal systems.
  • Backfill piping trenches to protect pipes from damage.
  • Integrate hot water heater systems with geothermal heat exchange systems.
  • Design and lay out geothermal heat systems according to property characteristics, heating and cooling requirements, piping and equipment requirements, applicable regulations, or other factors.
  • Dig trenches for system piping to appropriate depths and lay piping in trenches.
  • Determine the type of geothermal loop system most suitable to a specific property and its heating and cooling needs.
  • Weld piping, such as high density polyethylene (HDPE) piping, using techniques such as butt, socket, side-wall, and electro-fusion welding.
  • Install, maintain, or repair ground or water source-coupled heat pumps to heat and cool residential or commercial building air or water.
  • Perform pre- and post-installation pressure, flow, and related tests of vertical and horizontal geothermal loop piping.
  • Identify equipment options, such as compressors, and make appropriate selections.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: RC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Realistic interests, but also prefer Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Achievement, but also value Support and Working Conditions in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Education Required

These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

Wages

In 2017, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $46,180 with most people making between $27,480 and $67,790

Outlook

0.36%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 3,580 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 3,710 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 13 openings due to growth and about 57 replacement openings for approximately 70 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education