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Career and Education Opportunities for Power Plant Operators in Elgin, Illinois

Power plant operators can find many career and educational opportunities in the Elgin, Illinois area. There are currently 840 jobs for power plant operators in Illinois and this is projected to grow by 2% to 860 jobs 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%. Power plant operators generally control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power.

A person working as a power plant operator can expect to earn about $30 per hour or $63,180 per year on average in Illinois and about $28 hourly or $58,470 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Power Plant, people working as power plant operators in Illinois 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 Elgin where you can study to be a power plant operator, among sixty-one schools of higher education total in the Elgin area. The most common level of education 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 Elgin 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

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties which graduated ten and nine students respectively in 2008.


Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois photo by James Jordan

Elgin is located in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 106,330, which has grown by 12.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elgin, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Elgin cost $156,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-two new homes were constructed in Elgin, down from seven hundred fifty-six the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Elgin are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, metal and metal products, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 20.5% of Elgin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elgin is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Elgin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Saint Thomas More Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Elgin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Elgin is home to the Fox Bluff Corporate Center and the Elgin Fire Station Number 2 as well as Wing Park and College Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wing Park Manor Shopping Center, Tyler Creek Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Elgin can choose from Elgin-Days Inn, Colonial Lodge Motel and Crowne Plaza for temporary stays in the area.