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Working As a Boiler Plant 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

  • $47,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Boiler Plant 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 Plant 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 Yearly Salary
$47,000
Show Salaries
$36,000
Min 10%
$47,000
Median 50%
$47,000
Median 50%
$47,000
Median 50%
$47,000
Median 50%
$47,000
Median 50%
$47,000
Median 50%
$47,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Western Digital
Highest Paying City
Newport, RI
Highest Paying State
New York
Avg Experience Level
5.7 years
How much does a Boiler Plant Operator make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Boiler Plant Operator in the United States is $47,320 per year or $23 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $36,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $60,000.

Top Skills for A Boiler Plant Operator

  1. High Pressure
  2. Safety Procedures
  3. Boilers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Certified high pressure boiler operator.
  • Operated all necessary equipment in service line in accordance with safety procedures.
  • Diagnose malfunctions to ensure power boilers maintained efficient combustion levels and controlled the formulation of pollutants.
  • Operate vacuum pumps and systems, air compressors for various styles including screw compressors and reciprocating compressors.
  • Performed various operational repairs and preventive maintenance on boiler and associated auxiliary equipment.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Boiler Plant Operators

  1. New York
  2. Pennsylvania
  3. Michigan
  4. Minnesota
  5. Texas
  6. New Jersey
  7. Iowa
  8. Florida
  9. New Mexico
  10. Wyoming
  • (123 jobs)
  • (61 jobs)
  • (36 jobs)
  • (47 jobs)
  • (102 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (20 jobs)
  • (131 jobs)
  • (13 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)

Boiler Plant Operator Demographics

Gender

Male

89.8%

Unknown

7.5%

Female

2.7%
Ethnicity

White

62.7%

Hispanic or Latino

13.9%

Black or African American

12.7%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Occidental

100.0%

Boiler Plant Operator Education

Schools

Saint Cloud Technical College

9.1%

Ohio University-Chillicothe Campus

6.1%

College of Southern Nevada

6.1%

University of the District of Columbia

6.1%

Tidewater Community College

6.1%

Bismarck State College

6.1%

University of Wisconsin - Parkside

6.1%

Palomar College

6.1%

Morehead State University

6.1%

University of Kentucky

6.1%

Central State University

6.1%

City College of San Francisco

6.1%

Sonoran Desert Institute

3.0%

University of Wisconsin Extension

3.0%

Amarillo College

3.0%

Eastern Michigan University

3.0%

Lone Star College System

3.0%

Wilmington University

3.0%

University of Maryland - Eastern Shore

3.0%

Montclair State University

3.0%
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Majors

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

15.4%

Business

13.2%

Engineering

13.2%

Heating And Air Conditioning

9.9%

Education

5.5%

Applied Horticulture

4.4%

Criminal Justice

4.4%

Science, Technology, And Society

3.3%

Psychology

3.3%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

3.3%

Computer Science

3.3%

Operations Management

3.3%

Management

2.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.2%

Mathematics

2.2%

Industrial Technology

2.2%

Health Care Administration

2.2%

Elementary Education

2.2%

Plant Sciences

2.2%

Computer Networking

2.2%
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Degrees

Other

53.3%

Certificate

15.0%

Associate

13.3%

Bachelors

10.0%

Diploma

5.0%

Masters

1.7%

License

1.7%
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Updated May 19, 2020