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

Power plant operators can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Mesa, Arizona area. 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 nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for power plant operators are expected to shrink by about 1.6%. In general, power plant operators control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power.

Income for power plant operators is about $27 per hour or $57,230 yearly on average in Arizona. Nationally, their income is about $28 per hour or $58,470 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Power Plant, people working as power plant operators in Arizona earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Power Plant nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Mesa where you can study to be a power plant operator, among seventy-six schools of higher education total in the Mesa area. 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 training to become 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 Mesa 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Mesa, Arizona

Mesa, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona photo by Ixnayonthetimmay

Mesa is located in Maricopa County, Arizona. It has a population of over 463,552, which has grown by 16.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Mesa, 92, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Mesa are priced at $289,200 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, five hundred eighty-four new homes were constructed in Mesa, down from 1,039 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Mesa are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, administrative and support and waste management services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 21.6% of Mesa residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Mesa is 7.9%, which is less than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

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

Mesa is home to the Water Users Camp Ten and the Arizona Girls Ranch as well as Jackrabbit Stadium and McAfee Place Unit Two Mini Park. Shopping malls in the area include Riviera Plaza Shopping Center, Gilbert Plaza Shopping Center and Apache Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Mesa can choose from Hampton Inn Phoenix-Mesa, Extended Stay America - Mesa and Kiva Lodge Motel for temporary stays in the area.