Plant Technician Career Overview

About this article
A plant technician is responsible for monitoring electric generation facilities, conducting routine safety checks and performing maintenance to control systems as needed. Minimum educational requirements of a plant technician consist of an associate or vocational training degree.
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Plant Technician Job Duties and Responsibilities

A plant technician monitors the operation of a power plant to ensure its functionality and output are stable. Some plant technicians have duties aside from monitoring a facility's operation, including boiler maintenance, control systems repair and environmental testing. Many plant technicians are required to monitor a plant during shifts that provide coverage around the clock. Plant technicians are also required to be on call when coverage is needed or power plants malfunction. Monster.com excerpts include the following examples of typical duties:

  • 'We are currently seeking a Maintenance/Plant Technician to perform all maintenance functions, including but not limited to preventive, corrective and emergency maintenance on all equipment throughout the plant... Perform diagnostic evaluation on equipment and make repairs when needed. Ensures that repairs are performed in the shortest amount of time possible to alleviate down time. Performs preventive, corrective and scheduled maintenance on a daily basis on a variety of machinery within the plant.' -- Stericycle
  • 'The Plant Technician operates, performs regular preventive maintenance, troubleshoots, tests, and makes rounds taking regular readings on all power plant equipment and systems.' -- Constellation Energy

Plant Technician Job Requirements

Many plant technicians require a vocational or associate degree. Some can become a technician with related electrical and computer experience in another field. Since many plant monitoring systems have become computerized, technicians also need computer literacy and troubleshooting skills. Nuclear power plant technicians require training certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. CareerBuilder.com postings include the following examples of typical requirements:

  • 'Hands on experience with all aspects of steam power plant operations and maintenance including mechanical maintenance, instrument and electrical systems, and a working knowledge of power cycles is a plus.' -- Constellation Energy
  • 'Education equivalent to Associates Degree from two-year college or technical school, or the equivalent in related work experience.' -- Stericycle

Plant Technician Occupational Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov, reports that demand for plant technicians will decline. Many factors contribute to this, including the price of oil, deregulation, restructuring and the consolidation of other duties into a plant technician's responsibilities. Although the drive to reduce costs has adversely affected employment prospects for plant technicians, electric generation will always be required.

A plant technician will require more advanced electrical and computer skills in the coming years. This is the direct result of electric deregulation and trends to consolidate the power industry. While opportunities in nuclear, coal or oil power plants will decline, more technicians will find employment in hydroelectric, solar and wind generation.

The BLS reported that plant technicians earned a median annual income of $52,530 in 2004. In the same year, nuclear plant technicians had median annual wages of $64,090. These figures include overtime pay that a plant technician receives during peak energy seasons.

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Notre Dame de Namur University

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American National University

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