Plant Work Careers

You might enjoy a career in plant work if you:

  • Have superior mechanical skills.
  • Don't want to move to a large city to earn an excellent salary.
  • Don't mind shift work.
  • Are a good team player.
  • Pay attention to details.

Main responsibilities

Power plant workers are responsible for the administration, operation, and maintenance of electrical power plants. Plant positions typically fall into these key areas:

Operation – Control room operators who control and monitor boilers, turbines, generators, and other electrical equipment; plant operators who monitor plan equipment and boiler chemistry; heavy equipment operators

Maintenance – Welders, mechanics, industrial electricians, instrument and control technicians

Administration – Plant supervisors, safety managers, trainers, business specialists

Educational requirements

Plant positions require at least a high school diploma. Workers receive on-the-job training. A technical certificate or an associate degree in a skilled area is desirable. Some of these areas include:

  • Welding
  • Machine tool
  • Electrical power technology
  • Process plant technology
  • Industry mechanics
  • Electronic technology
  • Power plant technology

Here are some schools in this area that offer specialized programs to prepare for working in an electrical power plant:

Bismarck State College
Bismarck, ND
(process plant technology, power plant technology, mechanical maintenance technology, and electronics technology)

North Dakota State College of Science
Wahpeton, ND
(electronics, electrical technology)

Lake Area Technical Institute
Watertown, SD
(energy operations, energy technology, robotics)

Benefits

  • Paid vacation
  • Health insurance
  • Annual clothing allowance
  • Life insurance
  • Educational reimbursement
  • Retirement benefits
  • Job stability with opportunities for advancement

Salary

According to national labor statistics, annual salaries for plant workers are above average compared with jobs requiring similar education and skills.

Job level Experience Annual salary*
Plant operator  0 - 4+ years  $68,000 - $85,000
Control room operator  5+ years  $86,000 - $103,000
Electrical/instrument and control technicians 0 - 7+ years  $64,000 - $91,000
Mechanical maintenance 0 - 6 years  $68,000 - $87,000
Yard/equipment operator  0 - 3+ years  $68,000 - $80,000

 *Does not include overtime pay earned.