Career Spotlight: Power System Operator
Do you like problem solving, figuring out how things work, and working with computers? Maybe being a power system operator is the right job for you. A power system operator, also known as a power plant operator, is someone who manages a power plant facility. They keep the power plant running and ensure the facility is safe and functioning properly.
Let’s dig a little deeper to see if a power system operator lines up with your career goals.
Power System Operator Job Description
Power system operators work in a variety of power plants, including natural gas-powered electric, nuclear electric, hydroelectric, coal-powered electric, and solar-powered electric, but they may also work in manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities, and government organizations.
Power system operators operate switchboards and other electrical equipment in highly advanced control centers to maintain and manage the distribution of electrical power throughout a transmission network. In other words, they are responsible for making sure electricity gets to the appropriate consumers.
Duties of a Power System Operator
Power system operators have a variety of responsibilities and duties depending upon where they work. They may perform some or all of the following:
Skills Needed to be a Power System Operator
You may have guessed that one of the top skills needed to be a successful power system operator is attention to detail because a power system operator is in charge of maintaining a whole power grid. There are other important skills you should possess, too.
Power System Operator Educational Requirements
Does a power system operator job sound intriguing? Well, before you start applying for any openings, there are requirements you should be aware of if you want to pursue this career.
Although it is possible to become a power system operator with just a high school degree, most companies prefer you to have at least an associate degree. Still others prefer a bachelor’s. Excelsior University’s Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology program prepares students for technical positions in the nuclear industry. The ABET-accredited program provides knowledge in areas such as reactor operations, health physics, quality assurance, chemistry, and instrumentation and control related to the nuclear engineering technology field.
In addition, to work in a power plant, you must pass a background check as well as drug and alcohol screenings. Some states also require workers to be licensed as engineers or firefighters.
Depending upon where you work, you may also need to obtain other certificates or licenses, so it’s important to do your research when you are looking for a job.
Power System Operator Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that as of 2021, the median annual wage for power system operators and similar occupations was $94,790. The BLS predicts employment in this career to decline 15 percent between 2021 and 2031. Despite this, about 3,200 openings are projected each year over the next decade, so this is still a career option to pursue if you’re interested in power plants, computers, and making sure things work correctly.