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Career and Education Opportunities for Power Plant Operators in Mesquite, Texas

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for power plant operators in the Mesquite, Texas area. About 1,800 people are currently employed as power plant operators in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow 14% to 2,050 people employed. 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.

A person working as a power plant operator can expect to earn about $27 per hour or $57,580 per year on average in Texas and about $28 per hour or $58,470 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for power plant operators are better than earnings in the general category of Power Plant in Texas and better than general Power Plant category earnings nationally.

The Mesquite area is home to seventy-six schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Mesquite where you can get a degree as a power plant operator. Power plant operators usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so 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 Mesquite 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

Lincoln College of Technology - Grand Prairie, TX

Lincoln College of Technology, 2915 Alouette Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052. Lincoln College of Technology is a small college located in Grand Prairie, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 1,223 students. Lincoln College of Technology has a one to two year program in Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties.


Mesquite, Texas
Mesquite, Texas photo by Justin Cozart

Mesquite is situated in Dallas County, Texas. It has a population of over 132,123, which has grown by 6.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Mesquite, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Mesquite cost $155,500 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, sixty-four new homes were constructed in Mesquite, down from one hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Mesquite are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 18.5% of Mesquite residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.5%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Mesquite is 8.2%, which is greater than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Mesquite residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.1%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Pentecostal Church of God Christian Assembly, Central Assembly of God Church and Prairie Creek Bible Baptist Church are among the churches located in Mesquite. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Mesquite is home to the Light Crust Doughboys Hall of Fame Museum and the Town East Centre as well as Mesquite Memorial Stadium and Tosch Park. Visitors to Mesquite can choose from Chet' s Electronic Lock & Repair, Big Town Inn and Classic Inn for temporary stays in the area.