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Career Definition of a Hydroelectric Plant Technician
Hydroelectric plants produce energy from water. Hydroelectric plant technicians are skilled professionals who monitor the equipment and systems involved in the production of that energy. They are responsible for ensuring that everything is working properly and maintaining the equipment used to produce energy. They operate the equipment in the plant and monitor the systems closely while they're in operation. When the equipment isn't working as expected they are responsible for identifying the issue, determining the best solution to the problem and performing repairs. They may also be responsible for how much power is distributed through different power grids. Their duties include following the directions they are given to ensure that the controls are set to start or stop energy production or control the volume of energy being produced.
|Educational Requirements||Certificate or associate's degree|
|Job Skills||Computer skills, mechanical skills, analytical skills, attention to detail, observational skills, mathematical skills, safety knowledge, good vision|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$54,930 (plant and system operators, all other)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||2% (plant and system operators, all other)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
In order to become a hydroelectric plant technician it is usually necessary to earn a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree. Some employers may hire individuals with a high school diploma or GED and allow them to learn through on-the-job training but most prefer applicants who have relevant training and mechanical skills. Computer skills are required for this occupation and those who have relevant training and are capable of using Microsoft Office programs, SCADA software and other industrial software may have an advantage when competing for jobs in this field.
Hydroelectric plant operators need to have mechanical skills because their work can involve performing repairs on machines. They are also responsible for maintaining these machines and they need to understand how they work in order to ensure that they're working properly. They use computer software for some tasks and need to be capable of operating programs related to distributing hydroelectric power. They monitor a lot of equipment in their work so they need to pay close attention to detail so that they do not miss any indication of potential issues. Analytical skills are important because their work can involve problem solving and determining the best way to address specific issues.
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes hydroelectric plant technicians in the category of 'plant and system operators, all other'. The BLS projected that from 2016 to 2026, this group of plant and system operators would see a slow job growth rate of 2%. The BLS also indicated that they earned a median annual income of $54,930 in 2016.
There are a number of careers that involve energy production and those interested in this type of work may want to consider options working with wind, nuclear or solar power. Information about these career fields is linked below.