Boiler Service Technician Basics
|Licensure||Varies by state|
|Experience||Required; apprenticeships or on-the-job training|
|Key Skills||Manual dexterity; good problem-solving skills; ability to monitor computer controls associated with boilers, monitor and maintain boilers and related equipment, and lift at least 50 pounds; climb, bend, and stand for long periods of time|
|Salary||$60,480 (2015 average annual wage for boiler operators)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job postings, accessed 11/12.
Boiler systems are large heating, cooling and ventilation systems usually found in large buildings, such as offices, warehouses and shopping facilities. A boiler service technician, also known as a boiler operator, keeps the boiler system operating properly by performing routine maintenance and repairs. These technicians work around hazardous machinery and often perform their tasks in uncomfortable positions or temperatures. Some boiler service technicians work during the night or on weekends and holidays.
Boiler service technicians need manual dexterity and problem-solving skills. They must be able to monitor computer controls associated with boilers; monitor and maintain boilers and related equipment; lift at least 50 pounds; and climb, bend and stand for long periods of time. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that stationary engineers and boiler operators made an average annual salary of $60,480 as of May 2015.
Let's explore the steps to become a boiler service technician.
Step 1: Get an Education
Aspiring boiler service technicians might want to take classes that cover a variety of topics, such as energy, electricity, water power and plant safety at a community college or technical school. Some schools offer boiler service training classes that cover electrical systems, control panels and basic operation of boiler systems. They might offer training in blueprint reading, programmable logic controllers and welding.
Training in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) also might benefit prospective boiler service technicians. An associate degree program in HVAC service might cover topics such as HVAC systems, diagrams and blueprints, industrial safety, mathematics and electrical wiring.
Step 2: Complete an Apprenticeship
A boiler operator apprenticeship program offers classroom studies and work experience directly related to boiler service. Programs are usually open to those age 18 or over with a high school diploma or equivalent. Apprenticeships might be offered through colleges, vocational schools, employers or professional organizations.
Step 3: Fulfill Licensing Requirements
Licensing requirements vary by state, so prospective boiler service technicians will need to check with their state or local government to ensure that they can meet them. In general, licensing programs require candidates to pass a written exam, be 18 or older and have a high school diploma or GED.
Step 4: Gain Experience
Boiler service technicians usually need to gain experience in the industry before being hired directly as service technicians. Experience might be gained via an apprenticeship program or as an assistant to a boiler service technician. Employers usually prefer that boiler service technicians have extensive experience in operating and maintenance of boiler systems, the ability to read blueprints, experience working with electrical systems, maintenance experience and knowledge of the tools and equipment used on the job.
Step 5: Earn Higher-Class Licenses
Advancing as a boiler service technician requires proven expertise with more complicated machinery and, in many cases, higher-class licenses. Some company-specific exams test an individual's level of knowledge and ability to operate a variety of boilers.
To recap, boiler service technicians typically need to complete some postsecondary education and an apprenticeship. They also might need to meet state licensure requirements.