Stationary Engineers


Employment Prospects


Stationary engineers hold about 32,520 jobs in the United States. They work in a wide variety of places, including factories, hospitals, airports, power plants, hotels, breweries, office and apartment buildings, schools, and shopping malls. Some are employed as contractors to a building or plant. They work throughout the country, generally in the more heavily populated areas where large industrial and commercial establishments are located.

Starting Out

If they do not start out as apprentices, stationary engineers often enter the field by working as a boiler tender or helper, or as a craftsworker in another field. Information about job openings, apprenticeships, and other training may be obtained through the local offices of the state employment service or the International Union of Operating Engineers. State and city licensing agencies can give details on local licensure requirements and perhaps possible job leads.

Advancement Prospects

Experienced stationary engineers may advance to jobs in which they are responsible for operating and maintaining larger or more complex equipment installations. Such job changes may become possible as stationary engineers obtain higher classes of licenses. Obtaining these licenses, however, does not guarantee advancement. Many first-class stationary engineers must work as assistants to other first-class stationary engineers until a position becomes available. Stationary engineers may also move into positions as boiler inspectors, chief plant engineers, building superintendents, building managers, or technical instructors. Additional training or formal education may be needed for some of these positions.

Tips for Entry

Read International Operating Engineer ( and National Engineer ( to learn more about the field.

Visit the Web sites of professional associations to find job listings, such as the National Association of Power Engineers' employment section, 

Join the International Union of Operating Engineers to increase your chances of landing a job and receiving fair pay for your work.