Power Plant Operators

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About the Job

Control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Includes auxiliary equipment operators.

It is also Called

  • Utility Plant Operative
  • Unit Operator
  • Turbo Operator
  • Turbo Electric Operator
  • Turbine Room Attendant
  • Turbine Operator
  • Steam Turbine Operator
  • Station Tender
  • Station Operator
  • Senior Power Plant Operator
View All

What They Do

  • 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.
  • Collect oil, water, or electrolyte samples for laboratory analysis.
  • Replenish electrolytes in batteries and oil in voltage transformers, and reset tripped electric relays.
  • Receive outage calls and request necessary personnel during power outages or emergencies.
  • Examine and test electrical power distribution machinery and equipment, using testing devices.
  • Operate or maintain distributed power generation equipment, including fuel cells or microturbines, to produce energy on-site for manufacturing or other commercial purposes.
  • Operate, control, or monitor integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) or related equipment, such as air separation units, to generate electricity from coal.
  • Operate, control, or monitor gasifiers or related equipment, such as coolers, water quenches, water gas shifts reactors, or sulfur recovery units, to produce syngas or electricity from coal.
  • Operate, control, or monitor equipment, such as acid or gas carbon dioxide removal units, carbon dioxide compressors, or pipelines, to capture, store, or transport carbon dioxide exhaust.
  • Make adjustments or minor repairs, such as tightening leaking gland or pipe joints.

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 Support, but also value Relationships and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

Education Required

These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

Wages

In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $71,480 with most people making between $49,510 and $96,400

Outlook

0.00%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 2,010 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 1,930 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 0 openings due to growth and about 70 replacement openings for approximately 70 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education