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Become A Stationary Engineer

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Working As A Stationary Engineer

  • 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

  • $43,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Stationary Engineer 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 Stationary Engineer

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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Stationary Engineer Career Paths

Stationary Engineer
Building Engineer Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Building Engineer Maintenance Supervisor Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
11 Yearsyrs
Building Engineer Maintenance Supervisor Chief Engineer
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineer Owner Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Production Supervisor
Plant Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Operations Engineer Project Manager Assistant Director
Environmental Services Director
9 Yearsyrs
Operations Engineer Operations Manager Plant Manager
Director Of Plant Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Operations Engineer Consultant Case Manager
Utilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Hvac Technician Owner/Operator Facilities Manager
Senior Facilities Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Hvac Technician Field Service Technician Project Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Hvac Technician Field Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Plant Operator Foreman Facilities Manager
Director, Facilities & Operations
6 Yearsyrs
Electrician Maintenance Manager Engineering Manager
Engineering Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Electrician Owner Chief Engineer
Assistant Director Of Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Electrician Maintenance Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Plant Operator Foreman Construction Manager
Commissioning Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Plant Operator Maintenance Technician Journeyman
Systems Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Facility Engineer Facility Supervisor
Manager, Facilities Services
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Stationary Engineer?

Stationary Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

88.6%

Unknown

8.1%

Female

3.3%
Ethnicity

White

61.4%

Hispanic or Latino

16.6%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.3%

Carrier

36.7%

Ukrainian

3.3%

Romanian

3.3%

French

3.3%

Cheyenne

3.3%

Russian

3.3%

Polish

3.3%
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Stationary Engineer Education

Schools

Triton College

15.7%

Houston Community College

10.0%

University of Phoenix

8.3%

Moraine Valley Community College

8.3%

San Jose City College

6.1%

Sacramento City College

5.2%

Ferris State University

4.8%

Delgado Community College

3.9%

California Maritime Academy

3.9%

Los Angeles Trade Technical College

3.5%

College of DuPage

3.5%

Laney College

3.5%

More Tech Institute

3.5%

Universal Technical Institute

3.0%

Henry Ford College

3.0%

Thomas Edison State University

3.0%

Joliet Junior College

3.0%

New York University

2.6%

Orleans Technical Institute

2.6%

California State University - Sacramento

2.6%
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Majors

Heating And Air Conditioning

18.5%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

14.4%

Engineering

14.0%

Business

10.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

6.5%

Electrical Engineering

5.9%

Mechanical Engineering

4.7%

Industrial Technology

3.1%

General Studies

3.1%

Education

2.6%

Management

2.6%

Automotive Technology

2.3%

Engineering Technology

1.8%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.8%

Liberal Arts

1.6%

Criminal Justice

1.6%

Plant Sciences

1.4%

Graphic Design

1.4%

Electrical And Power Transmission Installers

1.3%

Communication

1.3%
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Degrees

Other

45.8%

Associate

15.5%

Certificate

15.3%

Bachelors

11.3%

Masters

4.3%

Diploma

4.1%

License

3.4%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$43,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$20,000
Min 10%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$89,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill
Highest Paying City
Saint Paul, MN
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
7.2 years
How much does a Stationary Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Stationary Engineer in the United States is $43,309 per year or $21 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $21,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $89,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Stationary Engineer?

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Top Skills for A Stationary Engineer

  1. Boilers
  2. Chillers
  3. Air Compressors
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conducted general facilities/grounds maintenance and preformed emergency equipment repairs on pumps/boilers, heating/cooling, plumbing and refrigeration systems.
  • Operated and maintained two high-pressure water-tube Keyson-Pennsylvania boilers; operated four York centrifugal chillers.
  • Maintained service on all HVAC Equipment, Cooling Tower, Air Handlers, Chillers, Air Compressors, Boilers and Pumps.
  • Assist all trades as needed in all aspects of building maintenance (HVAC, electrical, cosmetics, fire alarm).
  • Maintained Emergency Power Generators - Can start, operate and perform preventative maintenance on generators.

How Would You Rate Working As a Stationary Engineer?

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