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Working As a Boiler Mechanic

  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • $42,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Boiler Mechanic Do

Stationary engineers and boiler operators control stationary engines, boilers, or other mechanical equipment to provide utilities for buildings or for industrial purposes.

Duties

Stationary engineers and boiler operators typically do the following:

  • Operate engines, boilers, and auxiliary equipment
  • Read gauges, meters, and charts to track boiler operations
  • Monitor boiler water, chemical, and fuel levels
  • Activate valves to change the amount of water, air, and fuel in boilers
  • Fire coal furnaces or feed boilers, using gas feeds or oil pumps
  • Inspect equipment to ensure that it is operating efficiently
  • Check safety devices routinely
  • Record data and keep logs of operation, maintenance, and safety activity

Most large office buildings, malls, warehouses, and other commercial facilities have extensive heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems that maintain comfortable temperatures all year long. Industrial plants often have additional facilities to provide electrical power, steam, or other services. Stationary engineers and boiler operators control and maintain these systems, which include boilers, air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, turbines, generators, pumps, and compressors.

Stationary engineers and boiler operators start up, regulate, repair, and shut down equipment. They monitor meters, gauges, and computerized controls to ensure that equipment operates safely and within established limits. They use sophisticated electrical and electronic test equipment to service, troubleshoot, repair, and monitor heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.

Stationary engineers and boiler operators also perform routine maintenance. They may completely overhaul or replace defective valves, gaskets, or bearings. In addition, stationary engineers and boiler operators lubricate moving parts, replace filters, and remove soot and corrosion that can make a boiler less efficient.

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How To Become A Boiler Mechanic

Stationary engineers and boiler operators need at least a high school diploma and are trained on the job by more experienced engineers and operators. Many employers require stationary engineers and boiler operators to demonstrate competency through licenses or company-specific exams before they are allowed to operate equipment without supervision.

Education

Stationary engineers and boiler operators need at least a high school diploma. Students should take courses in math, science, and mechanical and technical subjects.

With the growing complexity of the work, vocational school or college courses may benefit workers trying to advance in the occupation.

Training

Stationary engineers and boiler operators typically learn their work through long-term on-the-job training under the supervision of an experienced engineer or operator. Trainees are assigned basic tasks, such as monitoring the temperatures and pressures in the heating and cooling systems and low-pressure boilers. After they demonstrate competence in basic tasks, trainees move on to more complicated tasks, such as the repair of cracks or ruptured tubes for high-pressure boilers.

Some stationary engineers and boiler operators complete apprenticeship programs sponsored by the International Union of Operating Engineers. Apprenticeships usually last 4 years, include 8,000 hours of on-the-job training, and require 600 hours of technical instruction. Apprentices learn about operating and maintaining equipment; using controls and balancing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; safety; electricity; and air quality. Employers may prefer to hire these workers because they usually require considerably less on-the-job training. However, because of the limited number of apprenticeship programs, employers often have difficulty finding workers who have completed one. 

Experienced stationary engineers and boiler operators update their skills regularly through training, especially when new equipment is introduced or when regulations change.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some state and local governments require licensure for stationary engineers and boiler operators. These governments typically have several classes of stationary engineer and boiler operator licenses. Each class specifies the type and size of equipment the engineer is permitted to operate without supervision. Many employers require stationary engineers and boiler operators to demonstrate competency through licenses or company-specific exams before they are allowed to operate the equipment without supervision.

A top-level engineer or operator is qualified to run a large facility, supervise others, and operate equipment of all types and capacities. Engineers and operators with licenses below this level are limited in the types or capacities of equipment they may operate without supervision.

Applicants for licensure usually must be at least 18 years of age, meet experience requirements, and pass a written exam. In some cases, employers may require that workers be licensed before starting the job. A stationary engineer or boiler operator who moves from one state or city to another may have to pass an examination for a new license because of regional differences in licensing requirements.

Advancement

Generally, stationary engineers and boiler operators can advance as they become qualified to operate larger, more powerful, and more varied equipment by obtaining higher class licenses. In jurisdictions where licenses are not required, workers usually advance by taking company-administered exams, ensuring a level of knowledge needed to operate different types of boilers safely.

Important Qualities 

Detail oriented. Stationary engineers and boiler operators monitor intricate machinery, gauges, and meters to ensure that everything is operating properly.

Dexterity. Stationary engineers and boiler operators must use precise motions to control or repair machines. They grasp tools and use their hands to perform many tasks.

Mechanical skills. Stationary engineers and boiler operators must know how to use tools and work with machines. They must be able to repair, maintain, and operate equipment.

Problem-solving skills. Stationary engineers and boiler operators must figure out how things work and quickly solve problems that arise with equipment or controls.

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Average Length of Employment
Boiler Fireman 6.2 years
Boiler Operator 5.5 years
Boiler Technician 5.3 years
Boiler 4.0 years
Boiler Mechanic 4.0 years
Mechanic 3.6 years
Top Careers Before Boiler Mechanic
Welder 11.3%
Plumber 4.0%
Owner 3.3%
Carpenter 3.3%
Mechanic 3.3%
Journeyman 3.3%
Foreman 3.3%
Top Careers After Boiler Mechanic
Welder 13.3%
Carpenter 6.1%
Supervisor 5.0%
Educator 5.0%
Mechanic 4.4%
Plumber 3.3%
Owner 2.8%

Do you work as a Boiler Mechanic?

Top Skills for A Boiler Mechanic

  1. Boilers
  2. Water Pumps
  3. Safety Valves
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Fired stationary boilers used in generating power to supply steam to heating plants, turbines and other steam powered equipment.
  • Change Oil-Change Tires-Alignments -Diagnostic Scans-motors-transmissions-starters-water pumps-ALL MAINTENACE REPAIRS
  • Repaired and replaced defective pressure vessel parts, such as safety valves and regulators.
  • Manage preventative maintenance on equipment and observe all equipment for degraded performance using routine inspections, maintenance rounds and diagnostic equipment.
  • Inspected boilers, condensers and heat exchangers and followed through with repairs culminating in the satisfactory operation of the system.

Boiler Mechanic Demographics

Gender

Male

90.5%

Unknown

7.3%

Female

2.2%
Ethnicity

White

60.2%

Hispanic or Latino

19.5%

Black or African American

11.4%

Asian

5.7%

Unknown

3.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

85.7%

Carrier

14.3%

Boiler Mechanic Education

Schools

A-Technical College

5.9%

Pierce College at Puyallup

5.9%

Everest College - Phoenix

5.9%

Tulsa Welding School

5.9%

Arizona Automotive Institute

5.9%

Rowan College at Gloucester County

5.9%

Del Mar College

5.9%

Tidewater Community College

5.9%

Navarro College

5.9%

Apex Technical School

5.9%

Lurleen B Wallace Community College

5.9%

University of Arkansas at Monticello

5.9%

The Academy

5.9%

University of Maryland - College Park

5.9%

Lincoln Technical Institute

2.9%

Suffolk County Community College

2.9%

Boricua College

2.9%

TESST College of Technology - Alexandria

2.9%

Front Range Community College

2.9%

Southeast Community College Area

2.9%
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Majors

Precision Metal Working

13.7%

Business

10.5%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

10.5%

Heating And Air Conditioning

8.4%

General Studies

6.3%

Mechanical Engineering

6.3%

Automotive Technology

5.3%

Engineering

5.3%

Industrial Technology

4.2%

Education

4.2%

Liberal Arts

4.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.2%

Electrical Engineering

3.2%

Management

2.1%

Engineering Technology

2.1%

Biology

2.1%

Fire Science And Protection

2.1%

Environmental Science

2.1%

Electrical And Power Transmission Installers

2.1%

Law Enforcement

2.1%
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Degrees

Other

45.4%

Certificate

18.5%

Associate

16.9%

Bachelors

12.3%

Diploma

4.6%

Masters

1.5%

License

0.8%
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Updated May 19, 2020