Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators
Operate or maintain stationary engines, boilers, or other mechanical equipment to provide utilities for buildings or industrial processes. Operate equipment such as steam engines, generators, motors, turbines, and steam boilers.
Sample of reported job titles: Boiler Operator, Boiler Technician, Building Engineer, Operating Engineer, Plant Operator, Plant Utilities Engineer, Stationary Engineer, Stationary Steam Engineer, Utilities Operator
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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 | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Monitor and inspect equipment, computer terminals, switches, valves, gauges, alarms, safety devices, and meters to detect leaks or malfunctions and to ensure that equipment is operating efficiently and safely.
- Activate valves to maintain required amounts of water in boilers, to adjust supplies of combustion air, and to control the flow of fuel into burners.
- Monitor boiler water, chemical, and fuel levels, and make adjustments to maintain required levels.
- Observe and interpret readings on gauges, meters, and charts registering various aspects of boiler operation to ensure that boilers are operating properly.
- Test boiler water quality or arrange for testing and take necessary corrective action, such as adding chemicals to prevent corrosion and harmful deposits.
- Analyze problems and take appropriate action to ensure continuous and reliable operation of equipment and systems.
- Operate or tend stationary engines, boilers, and auxiliary equipment, such as pumps, compressors, or air-conditioning equipment, to supply and maintain steam or heat for buildings, marine vessels, or pneumatic tools.
- Adjust controls and/or valves on equipment to provide power, and to regulate and set operations of system or industrial processes.
- Switch from automatic to manual controls and isolate equipment mechanically and electrically to allow for safe inspection and repair work.
- Maintain daily logs of operation, maintenance, and safety activities, including test results, instrument readings, and details of equipment malfunctions and maintenance work.
- Investigate and report on accidents.
- Develop operation, safety, and maintenance procedures or assist in their development.
- Install burners and auxiliary equipment, using hand tools.
- Perform or arrange for repairs, such as complete overhauls, replacement of defective valves, gaskets, or bearings, or fabrication of new parts.
- Check the air quality of ventilation systems and make adjustments to ensure compliance with mandated safety codes.
- Weigh, measure, and record fuel used.
- Clean and lubricate boilers and auxiliary equipment and make minor adjustments as needed, using hand tools.
- Contact equipment manufacturers or appropriate specialists when necessary to resolve equipment problems.
- Fire coal furnaces by hand or with stokers and gas- or oil-fed boilers, using automatic gas feeds or oil pumps.
- Receive instructions from steam engineers regarding steam plant and air compressor operations.
- Ignite fuel in burners, using torches or flames.
- Supervise the work of assistant stationary engineers, turbine operators, boiler tenders, or air conditioning and refrigeration operators and mechanics.
- Operate mechanical hoppers and provide assistance in their adjustment and repair.
- Test electrical systems to determine voltages, using voltage meters.
- Provide assistance to plumbers in repairing or replacing water, sewer, or waste lines, and in daily maintenance activities.
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- Analytical or scientific software — Statistical software
- Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software; Database software
- Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP
- Facilities management software — Building management system software; Computerized maintenance management system CMMS
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Graphics software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Web platform development software — Microsoft Active Server Pages ASP
- 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.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
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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.
- 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.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- 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.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
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- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- 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.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- 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.
- 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.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
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- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- 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.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- 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.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- 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.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- 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.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- 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.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of water, cleaning solutions, or other liquids.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate gas flow.
- Inspect production equipment.
- Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions.
- Monitor equipment fluid levels.
- Monitor equipment operation to ensure proper functioning.
- Test chemical or physical characteristics of materials or products.
- Troubleshoot equipment or systems operation problems.
- Operate energy production equipment.
- Operate pumping systems or equipment.
- Operate energy distribution equipment.
- Ignite fuel to activate heating equipment.
- Adjust flow of electricity to tools or production equipment.
- Record operational or production data.
- Investigate accidents to determine causes.
- Notify others of emergencies, problems, or hazards.
- Plan production or operational procedures or sequences.
- Exchange information with colleagues.
- Repair production equipment or tools.
- Assemble electromechanical or hydraulic systems.
- Measure ingredients or substances to be used in production processes.
- Direct operational or production activities.
- Clean production equipment.
- Lubricate production equipment.
- Confer with others to resolve production problems or equipment malfunctions.
- Adjust equipment to ensure optimal performance.
- Operate industrial equipment.
- Test electrical equipment or systems to ensure proper functioning.
- Maintain production or processing equipment.
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- Exposed to Contaminants — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 84% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 72% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 68% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 66% responded “Every day.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 64% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 62% responded “Extremely important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to High Places — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 45% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 53% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 66% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 44% responded “Very important results.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 45% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 40% responded “Some freedom.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 58% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 42% responded “Extremely important.”
- Electronic Mail — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 32% responded “Extremely important.”
- Consequence of Error — 39% responded “Very serious.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 31% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 38% responded “About half the time.”
- Physical Proximity — 40% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Spend Time Standing — 46% responded “About half the time.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 63% responded “40 hours.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 35% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Degree of Automation — 44% responded “Moderately automated.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 33% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 29% responded “Limited responsibility.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 43% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Spend Time Kneeling, Crouching, Stooping, or Crawling — 45% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Letters and Memos — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 46% responded “More than half the time.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 37% responded “Very important.”
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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|
|63||High school diploma or equivalent
|16||Some college, no degree|
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Interest code: RIC 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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.
- 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.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- 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.
- 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.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- 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.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- 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.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$31.09 hourly, $64,680 annual|
|Employment (2020)||30,700 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Average (5% to 10%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||4,000|
|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 Boiler Manufacturers Association
- International Union of Operating Engineers
- National Association of Power Engineers
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Stationary engineers and boiler operators
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