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Career and Education Opportunities for Power Plant Operators in Gilbert, Arizona

If you want to be a power plant operator, the Gilbert, Arizona area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 420 working power plant operators in Arizona; this should grow 12% to about 470 working power plant operators in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for power plant operators, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 1.6% over the next eight years. Power plant operators generally control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power.

The income of a power plant operator is about $27 hourly or $57,230 per year on average in Arizona. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $28 hourly or $58,470 per year on average. Incomes for power plant operators are better than in the overall category of Power Plant in Arizona, and better than the overall Power Plant category nationally.

There are seventy-six schools of higher education in the Gilbert area, including one within twenty-five miles of Gilbert where you can get a degree to start your career as a power plant operator. Given that the most common education level for power plant operators is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years studying to be a power plant operator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Power Plant Operator

Power Plant Operator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, power plant operators control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. They also includes auxiliary equipment operators.

Power plant operators monitor and inspect power plant equipment and indicators to uncover evidence of operating problems. They also take readings from charts, meters and gauges at established intervals, and take corrective steps as needed. Equally important, power plant operators have to control and maintain auxiliary equipment, such as pumps and chlorinators, to supply water and auxiliary power. They are often called upon to open and close valves and switches in sequence upon signals from other staff, so as to start or shut down auxiliary units. They are expected to record and compile operational data, completing and maintaining forms, logs, and reports. Finally, power plant operators start or stop generators, auxiliary pumping equipment and other power plant equipment, and connect or disconnect equipment from circuits.

Every day, power plant operators are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for power plant operators to operate or control power generating equipment and reactors, using control boards or semi-automatic equipment. They are often called upon to clean and maintain equipment such as generators and compressors so as to avoid equipment failure or deterioration. They also communicate with systems operators to regulate and direct transmission loads and frequencies, and line voltages. They are sometimes expected to collect oil and electrolyte samples for laboratory analysis. Somewhat less frequently, power plant operators are also expected to receive outage calls and call in needed personnel during power outages and emergencies.

Power plant operators sometimes are asked to make adjustments or minor repairs. And finally, they sometimes have to take readings from charts, meters and gauges at established intervals, and take corrective steps as needed.

Like many other jobs, power plant operators must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Gilbert include:

  • Gas Plant Operator. Distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.
  • Petroleum Refinery Worker. Control the operation of petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Power Plant Operator Training

Chandler/Gilbert Community College - Chandler, AZ

Chandler/Gilbert Community College, 2626 E Pecos Rd, Chandler, AZ 85225-2499. Chandler/Gilbert Community College is a large college located in Chandler, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,409 students. Chandler/Gilbert Community College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties which graduated eight and thirty-one students respectively in 2008.


Gilbert, Arizona
Gilbert, Arizona photo by Cygnusloop99

Gilbert is located in Maricopa County, Arizona. It has a population of over 216,449, which has grown by 97.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Gilbert, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Gilbert are priced at $210,100 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, 1,115 new homes were constructed in Gilbert, down from 2,891 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Gilbert are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is computer and electronic products, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 36.1% of Gilbert residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Gilbert is 4.9%, which is less than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Gilbert residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Gilbert is home to the Santan Substation and the Gilbert Substation as well as Library Park and Parquasito Verde Park. Shopping centers in the area include Village Square Shopping Center and Village Center Shopping Center. Visitors to Gilbert can choose from BCS Hospitality Consultants and CoastClub for temporary stays in the area.