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

For those living in the Tempe, Arizona area, there are many career and education opportunities for power plant operators. Currently, 420 people work as power plant operators in Arizona. This is expected to grow by 12% to about 470 people 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. In general, power plant operators control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power.

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

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Tempe where you can study to be a power plant operator, among seventy-six schools of higher education total in the Tempe area. Power plant operators usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so it will take about two years to learn 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 Tempe 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.


Tempe, Arizona
Tempe, Arizona photo by File Upload Bot

Tempe is situated in Maricopa County, Arizona. It has a population of over 175,523, which has grown by 10.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Tempe, 95, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Tempe cost $163,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, sixty-three new homes were constructed in Tempe, down from one hundred seven the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Tempe are educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. For men, it is accommodation and food services, educational services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 39.6% of Tempe residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Tempe is 7.5%, which is less than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Tempe 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.

Tempe is home to the Casa Fiesta Travel Trailer Resort and the Fair Lanes Village Center as well as Birchett Park and Hudson Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arizona Mall of Tempe, Arizona Mills Mall and Baseline Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Tempe can choose from Motel 6, Executive Suites Extended Stay and Best Western Nova Plus Test Property for temporary stays in the area.