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

Power plant operators can find many career and educational opportunities in the Richardson, Texas area. Currently, 1,800 people work as power plant operators in Texas. This is expected to grow by 14% to 2,050 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 hourly or $57,580 per year on average in Texas. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $28 per hour or $58,470 yearly on average. Power plant operators earn more than people working in the category of Power Plant generally in Texas and more than people in the Power Plant category nationally.

The Richardson area is home to seventy-seven schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Richardson where you can get a degree as a power plant operator. 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 Richardson 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Richardson, Texas

Richardson, Texas
Richardson, Texas photo by Infrogmation

Richardson is situated in Dallas County, Texas. It has a population of over 101,589, which has grown by 10.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Richardson, 92, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Richardson are priced at $210,000 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, sixty-eight new homes were constructed in Richardson, down from one hundred forty-eight the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Richardson are educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, computer and electronic products, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 47.7% of Richardson residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Richardson is 7.2%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Richardson residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.1%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Heights Baptist Church, Richardson East Baptist Church and Richland Bible Fellowship Church are some of the churches located in Richardson. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Richardson is home to Canyon Creek Park and Berkner Park. Visitors to Richardson can choose from Comfort Inn, Best Western Dallas Telecom Area and Champ Restaurant Equipment Supplies for temporary stays in the area.