Hydroelectric Plant Operator

Perform daily maintenance on generators powered by raging river water.
picture of Hydroelectric Plant Operator

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$41,000 – $85,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Hydroelectric Plant Operators do?

A hydroelectric plant uses the movement of water to generate electricity. A Hydroelectric Plant Operator makes sure the equipment that does this work is functioning properly, and fixes any machines that are broken.

As a Hydroelectric Plant Operator, you spend much of your day looking at dials and controls. You write down the readings from these controls at specific times. You also use pumps and valves to increase the flow of water when there’s an increased demand for electricity. If the demand dips, you use those same pumps and valves to decrease water flow.

If your control readings suddenly spike or dip, you know you have a mechanical problem that must be fixed immediately. You inspect the power equipment, including the electrical connections, pipes, gauges, and pumps, making sure everything is connected properly and nothing’s leaking. You then fix any problems you find using hand tools and your own creativity.

A Hydroelectric Plant Operator also spends a significant amount of time doing routine maintenance on equipment. You oil moving joints; clean filters; and replace worn springs, pistons, and rusting or leaking pipes. If major pieces of equipment need to be replaced, you notify your Supervisor, and do some research to determine where you can buy new equipment for a low price.

While you may spend much of the day alone, you sometimes get calls from consumers who are experiencing power outages. These consumers may be upset and apt to tell you their troubles in great detail, but you have a valid excuse for keeping the call short. After all, the sooner you hang up the phone, the sooner you can begin to address the problem.


Should I be a Hydroelectric Plant Operator?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.

  • Also known as: Electric Operator, Hydroelectric Operator, Hydrogen Plant Operations Manager, Hydrogen Plant Operator See More

    How to Become a
    Hydroelectric Plant Operator

    Hydroelectric 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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