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Become A Boiler Operator

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Working As A Boiler Operator

  • 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

  • $96,812

    Average Salary

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.

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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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Boiler Operator Jobs

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Boiler Operator Career Paths

Boiler Operator
Power Plant Operator Stationary Engineer Chief Engineer
Assistant Director Of Engineering
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Engineering Technician Production Supervisor
Assistant Plant Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Control Room Operator Operation Supervisor Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
12 Yearsyrs
Chief Engineer Engineering Manager Plant Manager
Director Of Plant Operations
14 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Field Service Technician Project Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Chief Engineer Operations Manager Assistant Director
Environmental Services Director
10 Yearsyrs
Stationary Engineer Chief Engineer Facilities Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Stationary Engineer Building Engineer Chief Engineer
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Building Engineer Facility Engineer
Facilities/Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Power Plant Operator Control Room Operator Operation Supervisor
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Auxiliary Operator Operator Foreman
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Building Engineer Field Service Technician Instrument Technician
Instrument Assembly Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Plant Operator Operator
Lead Operator
5 Yearsyrs
Control Room Operator Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Auxiliary Operator Control Room Operator
Operation Shift Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Plant Operator Technician Production Supervisor
Plant Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Manager Material Handler Quality Inspector
Production Team Leader
5 Yearsyrs
Boiler Plant Operator Maintenance Technician Lead Mechanic
Shop Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Manager General Contractor Adjuster
Working Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Boiler Operator?

Boiler Operator Demographics

Gender

Male

94.5%

Female

4.7%

Unknown

0.8%
Ethnicity

White

67.0%

Hispanic or Latino

12.7%

Black or African American

10.4%

Asian

6.5%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.5%

German

7.7%

Romanian

7.7%

Carrier

7.7%

Russian

7.7%

Tamil

7.7%
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Boiler Operator Education

Schools

Maine Maritime Academy

11.0%

Henry Ford College

9.9%

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

7.7%

Riverland Community College

7.7%

A-Technical College

6.6%

Ferris State University

5.5%

University of Phoenix

5.5%

Hennepin Technical College

4.4%

Technology Learning Center

4.4%

Rochester Community and Technical College

4.4%

Hibbing Community College

3.3%

Pennsylvania College of Technology

3.3%

University of Cincinnati

3.3%

Saint Cloud Technical College

3.3%

University of Maine

3.3%

The Academy

3.3%

Savannah Technical College

3.3%

Houston Community College

3.3%

Target Training Center

3.3%

Modesto Junior College

3.3%
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Majors

Heating And Air Conditioning

14.5%

Engineering

12.4%

Business

9.4%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

7.9%

Industrial Technology

6.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

6.4%

Education

4.9%

Electrical Engineering

4.7%

General Studies

4.1%

Mechanical Engineering

4.1%

Precision Metal Working

3.8%

Automotive Technology

3.8%

Management

3.8%

Engineering Technology

2.8%

Criminal Justice

2.4%

Applied Horticulture

1.9%

Computer Science

1.7%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.7%

Liberal Arts

1.5%

Psychology

1.5%
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Degrees

Other

49.2%

Associate

15.4%

Bachelors

13.7%

Certificate

12.7%

Diploma

3.8%

Masters

2.9%

License

2.4%
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Top Skills for A Boiler Operator

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  1. Boilers
  2. Preventative Maintenance
  3. Water Pumps
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Fire coal furnaces by hand or with stokers and gas- or oil-fed boilers, using automatic gas feeds or oil pumps.
  • Performed other preventative maintenance related to safety and security of all boiler room operations and hospital equipment as assigned.
  • Maintain water softeners, sand filters water well pumps, feed water pumps, cooling towers and pumps.
  • Operated, maintained and repaired air-conditioning machinery, mechanical, electrical and pneumatic controls and safety devices.
  • Gathered water samples for daily production requirements.

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Top Boiler Operator Employers

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