Alabama Department of Labor

Labor Market Information Division
SOC: 51-8013 Power Plant Operators
Control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Include auxiliary equipment operators. Exclude "Nuclear Power Reactor Operators" (51-8011).
Education: Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
OJT: Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Tasks: Monitor power plant equipment and indicators to detect evidence of operating problems. Adjust controls to generate specified electrical power or to regulate the flow of power between generating stations and substations. Control power generating equipment, including boilers, turbines, generators, or reactors, using control boards or semi-automatic equipment. Regulate equipment operations and conditions, such as water levels, based on instrument data or from computers. Take regulatory action, based on readings from charts, meters and gauges, at established intervals. Start or stop generators, auxiliary pumping equipment, turbines, or other power plant equipment as necessary. Inspect records or log book entries or communicate with plant personnel to assess equipment operating status. Control or maintain auxiliary equipment, such as pumps, fans, compressors, condensers, feedwater heaters, filters, or chlorinators, to supply water, fuel, lubricants, air, or auxiliary power. Clean, lubricate, or maintain equipment, such as generators, turbines, pumps, or compressors, to prevent failure or deterioration. Communicate with systems operators to regulate and coordinate line voltages and transmission loads and frequencies. Record and compile operational data by completing and maintaining forms, logs, or reports. Open and close valves and switches in sequence to start or shut down auxiliary units. Collect oil, water, or electrolyte samples for laboratory analysis. Make adjustments or minor repairs, such as tightening leaking gland and pipe joints. 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. 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 equipment, such as acid or gas carbon dioxide removal units, carbon dioxide compressors, and pipelines, to capture, store, or transport carbon dioxide exhaust. 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 integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) or related equipment, such as air separation units, to generate electricity from coal.
License: License not required.
Outlook: poor
Alabama Employment Outlook
Alabama Wage Data
Hourly Wage   Annual Wage
Entry $25.78   Entry $53,622.00
Mean $35.60   Mean $74,054.00
Experience $40.51 Experience $84,275.00

The data is based on the May 2017 Occupation Employment Survey employment and wage estimate file. The wages have been aged using the most current ECI factors reflecting wages as of June 2018.

Alabama Projections
Estimated Employment 2016Projected Employment 2026Annual Average OpeningsAnnual Growth Rate
Related Occupations: Postsecondary Institutions With Programs:
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No postsecondary schools reported programs.
Occupational Videos
51-8013.00 Power Plant Operators