Power Plant Workers
Employees in the power plant field work in several types of power-generating plants, including those that use natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear, hydro, solar, and wind energies. Because electric utility companies have dominated the energy field, most power plant workers work in electrical utilities. Government agencies that produce power are also employers, as are private companies that make electricity for their own use. Employment opportunities are available in any part of the country, as power plants are scattered nationwide. Approximately 53,000 power plant workers, including nuclear power reactor operators, are employed in the United States.
People interested in working in electric power plants can contact local electric utility companies directly, and in most cases, submit their resume online. Local offices of utility worker unions may also be sources of information about job opportunities. Leads for specific jobs may be found through employment Web sites. Graduates of technical training programs can often get help locating jobs from their schools' career services offices.
After they have completed their training, power plant operators may move into supervisory positions, such as the position of a shift supervisor. Most opportunities for promotion are within the same plant or at other plants owned by the same utility company. With experience and appropriate training, nuclear power plant operators may advance to become senior reactor operators and shift supervisors.
Tips for Entry
Set up an automated job search for power plant workers on employment and industry Web sites. Reading the job openings will give you an idea of what employers are looking for.
Visit the Web site of the Utility Workers Union of America (https://uwua.net) to read about the benefits of joining the organization and the responsibilities of the workers in the union. Union workers generally earn more than non-union employees.
Contact your local utility provider to see if you can visit or tour a power plant or speak with a power plant worker about career opportunities and trends in the industry.