Power Plant Operator

Control power levels and output on gas, nuclear, or hydro-power plants.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$41,000 – $85,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Power Plant Operators do?

A Power Plant Operator has control over the invisible force that keeps the country running: electricity. Unseen doesn’t mean endless, and without Power Plant Operators to control the flow of power, the city would quickly plunge into darkness.

As a Power Plant Operator, you keep power jumping from place to place without missing a step. A team of Power System Dispatchers controls the physical flow of electricity from distribution centers, and you give the orders to keep them operating in sync. During peak hours, the power grid must provide enough electricity so everyone can cook supper, wash dishes, and relax in front of the TV, while during off hours, you rein in all that high voltage.

Controlling electricity involves watching and adjusting the actions of generators, turbines, and various pieces of distribution equipment. Generators must work together, and be adjusted based on how much or how little power the city needs from moment to moment.

In between monitoring the required power and instructing your Distributors on the necessary changes to make, you conduct walkthroughs of the power plant to inspect the equipment. No one wants a control panel to short-circuit.

You note any equipment in need of repair or acting strangely, and update records within your computer database. This stores all the information about the power plant’s performance, and is quite valuable in finding patterns for regulating power and for spotting problems before they spread. Thanks to you, the lights will always come on when someone flips a light switch.


Should I be a Power Plant Operator?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Booster Plant Operator, Carbon Capture Power Plant Engineer, Carbon Capture Power Plant Manager See More

    How to become a Power Plant Operator

    Power 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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