Diesel Plant Operator

Oversee massive power-generating engines that run on diesel fuel.
picture of Diesel Plant Operator

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$41,000 – $85,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Diesel Plant Operators do?

As a Diesel Plant Operator, you control and maintain diesel units in order to produce electricity and power. Diesel Plant Operators may work for a power company, factory, school, or hospital, where you operate boilers, nuclear reactors, and diesel engines. The electric power that the engines produce can be distributed locally, or used to power your own company’s plant.

Diesel Plant Operators begin their workday by starting up the diesel engines, and synchronizing them with other generators and power sources. But getting the engines up and running is only a small part of your job. You also monitor and operate control boards in order to regulate the temperatures, power production, and electricity. Additionally, you issue orders to open, close, and tag electric circuits.

Because you see the entire plant as one big operation, you’re responsible for making sure that the generating units, nuclear reactors, stationary engines, and any auxiliary equipment work together seamlessly.

Another important responsibility of the job is to inspect all of the equipment to detect malfunctions. You perform repairs by making small adjustments using hand tools and power tools. But you also know when to call in the big guns and get a professional Diesel Repairman to do the serious repairs.

Though you can always make repairs, it’s more important that you recognize a problem early, before it becomes disastrous. So you keep careful records of all the instrument readings on a regular basis, keeping them all in a log to be reviewed later.


Should I be a Diesel Plant Operator?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • How to become a Diesel Plant Operator

    Diesel Plant Operators often have an Associate's degree. Chart?chd=s:q29aaa&chl=no+college+%2827%25%29|certificate+%2834%25%29|associate%27s+%2839%25%29|||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,27,39
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