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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.

  • Avg. Salary $78,634.00
  • Avg. Wage $39.18
  • Minimum Education Less than high school
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 7,400
  • In Demand Medium
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

33%
33%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Power Engineer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Stationary Engineers and Auxiliary Equipment Operators
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

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 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 More

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

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.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
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

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


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Red Deer College

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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.

What You Need

There are 5 standardized levels of certification, advancing from 5th Class certificate to 1st Class certificate. Each level has different training and employment experience requirements. There also are 4 provincial levels of certification. These include:

  • Special Oilwell Operator
  • Special Boiler Operator
  • Special Steam-powered Traction Engine Operator
  • Fired Process Heater Operator.

In addition to work experience, you must normally complete an approved course to challenge 4th and 5th Class Certificate of Competency examinations. For official, detailed information about certification requirements, visit the ABSA website.

Working in Alberta

Power engineers who are certified by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for certification in Alberta if certified power engineers in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the ABSA website.

To learn about certification for internationally educated power engineers, see Power Engineer Certification Process.

Contact Details

Alberta Boilers Safety Association
9410 20 Ave NW
Edmonton, Alberta T6N 0A4
Canada

Call: 780-437-9100
Fax: 780-437-7787
Email: generalinq@absa.ca
Website: www.absa.ca

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 H221: Stationary Engineers and Auxiliary Equipment Operators occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.4% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 60 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

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.

Power engineers and power systems operators

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

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

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.


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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