Men make up the majority of Power Plant Operators in the United States, bringing in about $28.02 per hour. This group's pay is mainly influenced by career length, followed by the particular city and the specific company. Work is enjoyable for Power Plant Operators, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Almost all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a large number collect dental insurance. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
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$38,230 - $92,706
(Median)
$38K
$66K
$93K
MEDIAN: $66,380
10%
50%
90%

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$18.87 - $39.54
(Median)
$19
$28
$40
MEDIAN: $28.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$31K$62K$93K
Salary
$38,230 - $92,706  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,819  
Profit Sharing
$6,250  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$40,791 - $90,928  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 100
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$21$42$63
Hourly Rate
$18.87 - $39.54  
   
Overtime
$26.90 - $60.35  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,819  
   
Profit Sharing
$6,250  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$40,791 - $90,928  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 257
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Job Description for Power Plant Operator

Power plant operators control and operate machinery that generates electric power. They are also responsible for maintaining these machines, which also includes auxiliary equipment, steam engines, air compressors, and generators. They also work with turbines (including steam turbines) that provide light and heat for other buildings.

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Power Plant Operator Tasks

  • Make regular inspections of the turbine, generator, boilers, or other plant equipment.
  • Coordinate the operation of plants, dams, and stream flow in order to meet contracted power requirements.
  • Communicate with branch offices involved in the operation of the power plant to relate status, data, and observations.
  • Oversee, coordinate, and maintain power plant operations.
  • Maintain documentation of changes in the function of equipment, rainfall data, and general operating instructions.

Common Career Paths for Power Plant Operator


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For Power Plant Operators, career advancements do not tend to correlate with a rise in salary. On average, lower-level Power Plant Operators earn similar salaries to those in higher-end positions like Power Plant Control Room Operator.

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Pay by Experience Level for Power Plant Operator

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience have a median salary of $54K. Those who have been around for five to 10 years can expect to take home more — $62K on average. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $73K. Respondents who boast more than 20 years of experience can't seem to boast paychecks reflecting that extensive experience, though; veteran Power Plant Operators report making only $72K on average.

Power Plant Operator Advice

What do you wish you knew about your job when you first started out?

Power Plant Operator in Johnston:
"Don't go in blind."
Understand heat transfer and fluid flow. Be able to read P&IDs. Learn from the people who have been there longer than you.

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Experience Affects Power Plant Operator Salaries

Experienced
up arrow 15%

Late-Career
up arrow 13%

National Average
$64,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 3%

Entry-Level
up arrow 15%

Skills That Affect Power Plant Operator Salaries

Gas Turbine
up arrow 32%

Machine Operation
up arrow 19%

Instrument Control
up arrow 18%

National Average
$64,000


Systems Troubleshooting
up arrow 18%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 34 votes.

Gender

Female
3 %
Male
97 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
29%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
23%
20 years or more
21%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 90%
dental benefits
Dental: 83%
medical benefits
Vision: 71%
dental benefits
None: 7%
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