Careers In Power Plants
Power Plant Workers
All electricity comes from an energy source. These sources include nuclear, wind, coal, solar and water. Power plants turn these energy sources into usable electricity. The individuals who staff these plants perform tasks related to regulating and maintaining the flow of energy. Plants are scattered liberally throughout the country, so these jobs are available in numerous locations.
There are several different paths available to become an employee at a power plant. Those with science and engineering degrees may start at the top, but many people accept entry-level positions and work their way up. The minimum education required for this job is a high school diploma. Entry-level employees begin in manual labor positions that require minimal technical knowledge of the plant workings. As they learn, they can advance to increasingly higher positions until they reach plant operator status. Control room operators must undergo rigorous training and certification. The process of working up the ladder can take several years.
Power Plant Job Requirements
Power plants around the country are not uniform, and each plant has slightly different job requirements. Because of these inconsistencies, power plant workers must retrain for a job when relocating to a new plant. There are basic jobs that are fairly consistent from one plant to another. These include dispatchers and operators. Each job is important to ensuring the smooth operation of the plant. An operator monitors the plant’s equipment and makes repairs when necessary. This is a very technical job that requires operating complicated equipment and reading complex dials and gauges. In order to remain a power plant operator, employees must undergo continuing education training and renew their license every few years. The dispatchers act as energy regulators and direct the energy to substations. They must have a good working knowledge of all equipment and know how to repair and monitor it. Dispatchers must have excellent problem solving skills and be able to remain cool in an emergency.
Power Plant Worker Salary
The pay for a power plant worker is based on tenure, job title and location. The longer an employee works for a company, the more they can expect to earn. Salaries are also adjusted for local cost of living. The average power plant worker can expect to earn around 52,000 dollars a year. This salary increases for nuclear power plants due to the greater danger. Most power plant workers receive health insurance, a 401K and vacation hours. Workers take shifts based on a 24-hour operating schedule. Those who take night and weekend shifts make slightly more money.
The focus on clean, renewable energy combined with the increasingly aging work force may cause a slight worker shortage for power plant workers in the wind and solar fields. The availability of jobs in nuclear, coal and hydroelectric power are expected to remain steady through 2020.