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Power Engineers and Power Systems Operators

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NOC:9241
Occupation:Power Engineers and Power Systems Operators
Category:Manufacturing and Utilities

About the job

Nature of work:

Power engineers, also known as stationary engineers, operate and maintain reactors, turbines, boilers, generators, stationary engines and auxiliary equipment to generate electrical power and to provide heat, light, refrigeration and other utility services for commercial, institutional and industrial plants and facilities. Power systems operators monitor and operate computerized switchboards and related equipment in electrical control centres to control the distribution of electrical power in transmission networks. They are employed by power generation plants, electrical power utilities, manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities and government and commercial establishments.

Job duties:
Power engineers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate automated or computerized control systems, stationary engines and auxiliary equipment such as reactors, boilers, turbines, generators, pumps, compressors, pollution control devices and other equipment to generate electrical power and to provide light, heat, ventilation and refrigeration for buildings, industrial plants and other work sites.
  • Start up and shut down power plant equipment, control switching operations, regulate water levels and communicate with systems operators to regulate and coordinate transmission loads, frequency and line voltages.
  • Monitor and inspect plant equipment, computer terminals, switches, valves, gauges, alarms, meters and other instruments to measure temperature, pressure and fuel flow, to detect leaks or other equipment malfunctions and to ensure plant equipment is operating at maximum efficiency.
  • Analyze and record instrument readings and equipment malfunctions.
  • Troubleshoot and perform corrective action and minor repairs to prevent equipment or system failure.
  • Clean and lubricate generators, turbines, pumps and compressors and perform other routine equipment maintenance duties using appropriate lubricants and hand, power and precision tools.
  • Maintain a daily log of operation, maintenance and safety activities, and write reports on plant operation.
  • May assist in the development of operation, maintenance and safety procedures.
Power systems operators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate and monitor computerized switchboards and auxiliary equipment in electrical control centres to control the distribution and to regulate the flow of electrical power in the transmission network.
  • Coordinate, schedule and direct generating station and substation power loads and line voltages to meet distribution demands during daily operations, system outages, repairs and importing or exporting of power.
  • Monitor and visually inspect station instruments, meters and alarms to ensure transmission voltages and line loadings are within prescribed limits and to detect equipment failure, line disturbances and outages.
  • Issue work and test permits to electrical and mechanical maintenance personnel, assist maintenance and technical personnel to locate and isolate system problems, and assist during routine system testing.
  • Complete and maintain station records, logs and reports
Sample job titles:
  • auxiliary plant operator
  • plant maintenance stationary engineer
  • power engineer
  • power station operator - electrical power systems
  • power system operator
  • refrigeration plant operator
  • stationary engineer
  • stationary power engineer
Skills:

This work requires accuracy, attention to detail, good mechanical aptitude, and mathematical ability. You must be alert, reliable, and capable of working with minimal supervision. Verbal communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills are needed, as well as the ability to follow instructions. You should be agile, coordinated, and in good physical condition.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Power engineers require a college training program in stationary or power engineering and several years of work experience in the field.
  • Power engineers require a provincial or territorial power engineering or stationary engineering certificate according to class.
  • Stationary engineer trade certification according to class (4th, 3rd, 2nd or 1st class) is compulsory in Nova Scotia.
  • Power systems operators require completion of a three- to five-year power system operator apprenticeship program or over three years of work experience in the trade and some college or industry courses in electrical and electronic technology.
  • Control room operators at nuclear power plants require licensing from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
Other considerations:

People in these jobs are usually required to do shiftwork. The wage rate for apprentices is usually a percentage of the journeyperson rate, increasing upon completion of each stage of the apprenticeship program. There is little mobility between nuclear power generation station operators and other classic or alternative power generation station operators. Progression from lower to higher classes for stationary or power engineers is dependent on further training and experience. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline moderately over the next few years, which will likely limit the number of new opportunities available. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Power Engineers and Power Systems Operators most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 69% of Power Engineers and Power Systems Operators who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $73,932. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Power Engineers and Power Systems Operators1,010decline40Moderate
Minimum: $16.00
Median: $26.00
Maximum: $41.00
Minimum: $21,277
Median: $68,260
Maximum: $118,760
Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities15,275Weak growth1,275Moderate
Minimum: $12.00
Median: $18.75
Maximum: $30.00
Minimum: $6,056
Median: $30,111
Maximum: $70,518
Power Engineers and Power Systems OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
Percent employed full-time95%87%
Percent self-employed12%3%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentPower Engineers and Power Systems OperatorsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern10%$53,62212%$30,581
Northern22%$86,30616%$33,660
Cape Breton23%$61,64713%$32,974
Halifax34%$63,43347%$41,209
Annapolis Valley11%$46,10913%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgePower Engineers and Power Systems OperatorsCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
15-245%3%
25-3417%5%
35-4419%21%
45-5431%42%
55-6422%29%
65+6%3%
Median Age5045
GenderPower Engineers and Power Systems OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
Female3%28%
Male97%72%
EducationPower Engineers and Power Systems OperatorsCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school2.2%$19,65322.9%$21,011
High school6.7%$43,61538.1%$28,358
Trades certificate31.7%$65,40912.4%$37,356
College certificate or diploma47.8%$67,76020.3%$36,968
University certificate or diploma3.1%$69,5121.1%$35,915
Bachelor's degree7.6%$63,1554.4%$36,852
University advanced certificate or diploma0.9%x0.3%$55,581
Master's degreeN/Ax0.5%x
Doctorate1.3%xN/A$25,380
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.1%N/A
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
Power Engineer
Certificate of Qualification (Mandatory):This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Certification is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Technical Safety Division
5151 Terminal Road, 6th floor, PO Box 697
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
(844) 424-3200
(902) 424-3239
Useful contacts:
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
204-14 McQuade Lake Crescent
Halifax, NS B3S 1B6
Tel: (800) 450-5366
Fax: (902) 450-5080
ibew1928@eastlink.ca
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
Tel: (800) 494-5651
Fax: (902) 424-0717
apprenticeship@novascotia.ca
Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Occupational Health and Safety Division
PO Box 697, 5151 Terminal Road
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
Tel: (902) 424-5300
ohsdivision@novascotia.ca

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Blanche.Theriault@usainteanne.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
avc.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
cumberland.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
akerley.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
burridge.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
kingstec.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
lunenburg.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
it.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
pictou.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
shelburne.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
strait.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
marconi.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
truro.info@nscc.ca
Program Name:Electrical, electronic and communications engineering technology/technician
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of electrical, electronics and communication engineers. These programs include courses in electrical circuitry, prototype development and testing; systems analysis and testing, systems maintenance, instrument calibration, and report preparation.
See all institutions providing this program+
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
cumberland.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
kingstec.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
pictou.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
marconi.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute
80 Mawiomi Place
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5
(902) 491-1100
waterfront.info@nscc.ca
Program Name:Stationary energy sources installer and operator (Canada)
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to install, repair, operate, and maintain large power sources that could include generating electricity and heat.
See all institutions providing this program+
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
akerley.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
strait.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
marconi.info@nscc.ca
Apprenticeship Training
Department of Labour and Advanced Education 2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
Additional resources:

Work Occupation Video(s)

Power Engineer