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Power Engineer

Power engineers supervise, operate, and maintain machinery and boilers. These machines provide steam, power, heat, refrigeration, and other utility services to industrial and commercial facilities.

Also Known As

Plant Operator, Stationary Engineer, Steam Engineer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Stationary Engineers and Auxiliary Equipment Operators (7351) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Stationary Engineers and Auxiliary Equipment Operators (H221) 
  • 2011 NOC: Power engineers and power systems operators (9241) 
  • 2016 NOC: Power engineers and power systems operators (9241) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Stationary Engineers and Auxiliary Equipment Operators
2006 NOC : 7351

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
OBJECTIVE

Interest in controlling and operating automated and computerized control systems, stationary engines and auxiliary equipment

innovative

Interest in analyzing information from instrument readings to detect leaks and other equipment malfunctions; may assist in the development of operation, maintenance and safety procedures

methodical

Interest in recording instrument readings, in monitoring and inspecting computer terminals, plant equipment, switches, valves, gauges, alarms, meters and other instruments to measure temperature, pressure and fuel flow, in ensuring plant equipment is operating at maximum efficiency and in maintaining a daily log of operation, maintenance and safety activities

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Power engineers are in charge of the safe and efficient operation and maintenance of industrial equipment that produces power. This includes boilers, steam and gas turbines, generators, gas and diesel internal combustion engines, pumps, condensers, compressors, pressure vessels, and related controls. In large industrial or building complexes, they may be responsible for heating, air-conditioning, ventilation, refrigeration, fire systems, and building control systems.

Duties vary from one position to another. In general, power engineers control, start up, shut down, and track the operation of boilers and related equipment. They may use automatic or manual controls, or computerized systems. They also:

  • Ensure that safety codes and other applicable regulations are followed
  • Monitor alarms, gauges, and other instruments associated with plant operations
  • Troubleshoot and take corrective action to prevent equipment or system failures
  • Isolate and lock out equipment mechanically and electrically for inspection and repair
  • Ensure that equipment and processes operate at maximum efficiency
  • Take chemical tests of boiler water and other process samples, interpret them, and determine appropriate chemical treatments
  • Help to develop operation, maintenance, and safety procedures
  • Prepare equipment for maintenance and inspection (using shut down, lock out, and restart) procedures
  • Maintain a daily log of operation, maintenance, and safety activities
  • Investigate and report on safety-related incidents
  • Write reports about plant operation and advise on operational issues to improve plant performance
  • Work with outside agencies, consultants, and contractors, such as advising designers on equipment operation details to achieve optimal performance

Industrial plants and building operations often are automated to enhance production efficiency and improve safety. In some plants, senior power engineers may work in the control room, analyzing problems and taking action to ensure continuous and reliable operation of equipment and systems. At times, they switch from automatic to manual controls to correct problems and ensure the safety of staff and equipment.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Working conditions vary in this occupation. In entry-level positions, power engineers may be exposed to high noise levels, temperatures, and humidity. They may encounter all types of outdoor weather conditions, as well as dust, grease, hazardous chemicals, or unpleasant odours. For example, those working in coal-fired power generating stations are exposed to coal dust and fly ash. In large plants, power engineers may have to enter confined spaces or inspect equipment located at extreme heights. Power engineers with more advanced training and experience often work in climate-controlled spaces or in offices.

Power engineers may have to lift heavy items, climb ladders, staircases, and scaffolds, and work at heights. This may be needed only on occasion, or as part of a routine. Safety precautions and procedures, such as use of respiratory protective equipment, are a standard part of operations to reduce risk of injury. Some plants do not allow smoking anywhere on site.

Power engineers often work shifts, weekends, holidays, and emergency overtime to accommodate continuous production.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Power engineers need:

  • Mechanical and electrical aptitude
  • Good vision, hearing, and eye-hand co-ordination
  • Manual dexterity
  • Communication skills in person and in writing
  • Organizational and decision-making skills
  • The ability to read and interpret blueprints and other plant drawings
  • The ability to work safely and efficiently
  • The ability to work with others in a team environment

Power engineers should enjoy controlling and operating manual and automated systems. They should also enjoy analyzing information and solving problems. They should be comfortable with rules and organized methods for their work.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education Less than high school

Different training and experience are required depending on an individual’s duties and scope of practice. For details, see Certification Requirements.


To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Power Engineer

Power engineers supervise, operate and maintain power plants, heating plants and thermal liquid heating systems. They also may sketch, construct, install, repair or provide advice regarding power or heating plants.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Safety Codes Act [pdf] and Power Engineers Regulation [pdf], you must hold an appropriate certificate from the Alberta Boilers Safety Association (ABSA) to supervise a power plant, heating plant or thermal heating system. You need different types of certification to operate and maintain different types of boilers. Certification is not required to assist in the operation of a power or heating plant under the supervision of a certified Power Engineer.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Power Engineer.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Power engineers may find work in any industry in which boilers are used. For example, they may work in:

  • Gas plants
  • Power generating plants
  • Heavy oil plants
  • Petrochemical plants
  • Pulp mills
  • Plastics plants
  • Breweries
  • Food production plants
  • Refineries
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels
  • Schools and other institutions
  • Office and apartment complexes

Job growth is affected by industry converting to technologies that do not require power engineers.

Power engineers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 9241: Power engineers and power systems operators. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 9241: Power engineers and power systems operators occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.6% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 117 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Earnings for power engineers vary according to the level of their certification, the responsibilities of the position, and the location and size of the employing organization.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Power engineers and power systems operators

2016 NOC : 9241
Average Wage
$39.18
Per Hour
Average Salary
$78,634.00
Per Year
Average Hours
41.1
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.1
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 9241 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $23.45 $41.82 $33.72 $34.44
Overall $26.77 $56.12 $39.18 $36.45
Top $29.13 $61.81 $42.09 $39.13

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Manufacturing
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration
Educational Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
33%
33%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
4%
4%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
2%
2%
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Alberta Boilers Safety Association (ABSA) website: www.absa.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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