Hydroelectric Plant Technicians
Monitor and control activities associated with hydropower generation. Operate plant equipment, such as turbines, pumps, valves, gates, fans, electric control boards, and battery banks. Monitor equipment operation and performance and make necessary adjustments to ensure optimal performance. Perform equipment maintenance and repair as necessary.
Sample of reported job titles: Hydro Plant Technician, Hydro Technician, Hydroelectric Mechanic, Hydroelectric Operations and Maintenance Technician (Hydro O and M Technician), Hydroelectric Plant Technician, Operations and Maintenance Technician (O and M Technician), Plant Mechanic, Power Plant Mechanic, Power Plant Operator, Power Plant Technician
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Operate high voltage switches or related devices in hydropower stations.
- Identify or address malfunctions of hydroelectric plant operational equipment, such as generators, transformers, or turbines.
- Inspect water-powered electric generators or auxiliary equipment in hydroelectric plants to verify proper operation or to determine maintenance or repair needs.
- Implement load or switching orders in hydroelectric plants, in accordance with specifications or instructions.
- Start, adjust, or stop generating units, operating valves, gates, or auxiliary equipment in hydroelectric power generating plants.
- Perform preventive or corrective containment or cleanup measures in hydroelectric plants to prevent environmental contamination.
- Maintain or repair hydroelectric plant electrical, mechanical, or electronic equipment, such as motors, transformers, voltage regulators, generators, relays, battery systems, air compressors, sump pumps, gates, or valves.
- Operate hydroelectric plant equipment, such as turbines, pumps, valves, gates, fans, electric control boards, or battery banks.
- Communicate status of hydroelectric operating equipment to dispatchers or supervisors.
- Monitor hydroelectric power plant equipment operation and performance, adjusting to performance specifications, as necessary.
- Take readings and record data, such as water levels, temperatures, or flow rates.
- Install or calibrate electrical or mechanical equipment, such as motors, engines, switchboards, relays, switch gears, meters, pumps, hydraulics, or flood channels.
- Lift and move loads, using cranes, hoists, and rigging, to install or repair hydroelectric system equipment or infrastructure.
- Maintain logs, reports, work requests, or other records of work performed in hydroelectric plants.
- Change oil, hydraulic fluid, or other lubricants to maintain condition of hydroelectric plant equipment.
- Perform tunnel or field inspections of hydroelectric plant facilities or resources.
- Connect metal parts or components in hydroelectric plants by welding, soldering, riveting, tapping, bolting, bonding, or screwing.
- Erect scaffolds, platforms, or hoisting frames to access hydroelectric plant machinery or infrastructure for repair or replacement.
- Cut, bend, or shape metal for applications in hydroelectric plants, using equipment such as hydraulic benders or pipe threaders.
- Splice or terminate cables or electrical wiring in hydroelectric plants.
- Test and repair or replace electrical equipment, such as circuit breakers, station batteries, cable trays, conduits, or control devices.
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- Electronic mail software — IBM Lotus Notes; Microsoft Outlook
- Facilities management software — Computerized maintenance management system CMMS
- Industrial control software — Distributed control system DCS; Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
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- Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
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- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without “giving out” or fatiguing.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
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- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Operate energy production equipment.
- Inspect sustainable energy production facilities or equipment.
- Diagnose equipment malfunctions.
- Maintain sustainable energy production equipment.
- Clean work areas.
- Exchange information with colleagues.
- Operate pumping systems or equipment.
- Monitor equipment operation to ensure that products are not flawed.
- Record operational or production data.
- Assemble electromechanical or hydraulic systems.
- Install mechanical components in production equipment.
- Lift materials or workpieces using cranes or other lifting equipment.
- Connect supply lines to production equipment or tools.
- Lubricate production equipment.
- Operate welding equipment.
- Solder parts or workpieces.
- Repair production equipment or tools.
- Test electrical equipment or systems to ensure proper functioning.
- Assemble temporary equipment or structures.
- Cut industrial materials in preparation for fabrication or processing.
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- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 99% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 74% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 54% responded “Extremely important.”
- Electronic Mail — 57% responded “Every day.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 51% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 59% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 58% responded “Every day.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 47% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 53% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 43% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 50% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 51% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 51% responded “Every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 67% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 46% responded “Very important results.”
- Physical Proximity — 53% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Spend Time Standing — 45% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 44% responded “Some freedom.”
- Time Pressure — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Extremely important.”
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 32% responded “Every day.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 41% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to High Places — 35% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 57% responded “Some freedom.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 31% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 40% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 31% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 80% responded “40 hours.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 29% responded “More than half the time.”
- Level of Competition — 40% responded “Moderately competitive.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 41% responded “High responsibility.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 38% responded “More than half the time.”
- Spend Time Kneeling, Crouching, Stooping, or Crawling — 36% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 35% responded “More than half the time.”
- Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — 40% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Outdoors, Under Cover — 34% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Letters and Memos — 34% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|22||High school diploma or equivalent
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Interest code: RCI Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
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- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
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- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
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Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Power Plant Operators.
Employment data for Power Plant Operators.
Industry data for Power Plant Operators.
|Median wages (2020)||$40.70 hourly, $84,650 annual|
|Employment (2020)||33,600 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Decline (-1% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||2,500|
|Top industries (2020)||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Public Power Association
- Center for Energy Workforce Development
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- North American Electric Reliability Corporation
- Nuclear Energy Institute
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers
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