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Working as a Boiler Operator

What Does a Boiler Operator 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.

How To Become a Boiler Operator

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 Salary$34,890
Job Growth Rate3%

Boiler Operator Jobs

Boiler Operator Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Boiler Operator. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Boiler Operator Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Boiler Operator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Boiler Operator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Boiler Operator

Top Careers After Boiler Operator

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Average Salary for a Boiler Operator

Boiler Operators in America make an average salary of $34,890 per year or $17 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $47,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $25,000 per year.
Average Salary
$34,890

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range42k - 72k$56k$55,675
Salary Range42k - 72k$56k$55,668
Salary Range40k - 61k$50k$50,157
Salary Range42k - 57k$49k$49,398
Salary Range38k - 59k$48k$47,885
Salary Range40k - 56k$48k$47,763
$26k
$72k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Boiler Operator
Boiler Operator
State of North Carolina
State of North Carolina
10/29/2020
10/29/2020
$31,20010/29/2020
$31,200
Dshs WSH Boiler Operator
Dshs WSH Boiler Operator
Washington State
Washington State
10/27/2020
10/27/2020
$54,10810/27/2020
$54,108
Boiler Operator
Boiler Operator
Sprung Services, Inc.
Sprung Services, Inc.
10/15/2020
10/15/2020
$56,34910/15/2020
$56,349
Inspector-Mechanical-Boiler Operation
Inspector-Mechanical-Boiler Operation
The City of Houston
The City of Houston
10/15/2020
10/15/2020
$55,26410/15/2020
$55,264
Boiler Operator
Boiler Operator
University of Virginia
University of Virginia
10/06/2020
10/06/2020
$44,14010/06/2020
$44,140
See More Recent Salaries

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Boiler Operator Demographics

Gender

male

91.6%

female

5.4%

unknown

3.0%

Ethnicity

White

66.2%

Hispanic or Latino

14.8%

Black or African American

10.4%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.9%

French

9.5%

Cornish

4.8%
See More Demographics

Boiler Operator Education

Degrees

High School Diploma

40.0%

Certificate

18.1%

Associate

15.0%

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Boiler Operator

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Boiler Operator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 18.3% of boiler operators listed boilers on their resume, but soft skills such as dexterity and math skills are important as well.

Best States For a Boiler Operator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a boiler operator. The best states for people in this position are New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Oregon. Boiler operators make the most in New York with an average salary of $55,541. Whereas in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, they would average $55,156 and $53,349, respectively. While boiler operators would only make an average of $52,451 in Oregon, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Iowa

Total Boiler Operator Jobs:
64
Highest 10% Earn:
$62,000
Location Quotient:
1.72
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New York

Total Boiler Operator Jobs:
176
Highest 10% Earn:
$91,000
Location Quotient:
1.15
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Wyoming

Total Boiler Operator Jobs:
7
Highest 10% Earn:
$63,000
Location Quotient:
1.38
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Boiler Operator Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a boiler operator. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless boiler operator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write a Boiler Operator Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless boiler operator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

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Top Boiler Operator Employers

1. U.S. Navy
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$53,690
Boiler Operators Hired: 
60+
2. Georgia-Pacific
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$46,056
Boiler Operators Hired: 
45+
3. International Paper
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$45,547
Boiler Operators Hired: 
24+
4. Sierra Pacific Industries
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$40,100
Boiler Operators Hired: 
14+
5. Archer Daniels Midland
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$49,146
Boiler Operators Hired: 
13+
6. Aerotek
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$32,107
Boiler Operators Hired: 
10+

Boiler Operator Videos

Recently Added Boiler Operator Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020