The world runs on power and power plant technologists will be needed based on constant demand for skilled power plants technicians. But what is Power Plant Technology? This is also referred to as power plant engineering by others is a division of power engineering, known as technology and engineering needed for the production of central station electric power. Power plant technology program seeks to impart students with technical and practical skills that will lead to a rewarding career, especially across electrical generation and transmission firms/industry.
An associate’s degree program in power plant technology focuses on the fundamentals or basics of electrical power, the role of turbines and boilers in generating power, pollution control systems, and the characteristics of nuclear, hydro, coal, and renewable plants among other technical areas.
Arizona is regarded as home to several power plants in the United States. Others include New York, Florida, California, and Utah just to mention but a few. In all these power plants, there are expectations that large amounts of retirements will be witnessed over the next few years.
With massive retirement expected especially in the coming decade, some positions will become open. Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released a report arguing that employment prospects for power plant technicians will be good especially for qualified applicants who have related educational experience coupled with established mechanical skills.
All in all, Power Plant Technology encompasses many different fields that one can assume, with plenty of other possibilities in place. By looking at the trends in the industry, students who successfully complete this program secure employment within the shortest time possible.
Just recently, the Bureau of Statistics published a report regarding the salary scale of power plant technicians. According to the report, power plant technicians did earn an average salary of $64,420 annually and $31 per hour. Of the approximately 40,000 power plant technicians that are employed in the United States, the median earning half did range from $52,000 to $76,000.
The lowest-earning 10% did report yearly compensation rates of $41,500 or less with the highest-earning 10% making $88,000 or more in a year.
A closer examination of salaries by industry and region in the United States depicted interesting facts. For instance, about 75% of all power plant technicians working in electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industry earned an average salary of $65,330 per year. Close to 780 power plant technicians that were reported to be working across waste treatment and disposal, paperboard mills firms and pulp averaged yearly incomes that were between $56,000 and $58,000 as of 2011.
Those employed by the government and other local agencies earned around $64,000 annually with state workers earning $55,000 and federal workers earning nearly $73,000.
According to the same statistics, plant technicians in Far West and Widwest earned high salaries with those in South Central States reporting lowest average salaries. California ranked first in terms of the best paying states while Louisiana saw its power plant technicians earning less than the rest.
In short, looking at the above figures, one is left with the impression that a career as a power plant technician is highly rewarding. The above statistics were released in 2011 and looking at the statistics today, a lot has changed. Power plant technicians in the United States are paid handsomely, an aspect that has encouraged a lot of people to consider taking this course.
Power Plant Technology provides associate of applied science and technical certificate option with classes being available either online or face-to-face depending on the institution and the preference of a student.
The technical certificate entails a one-year program that contains a number of technical courses that are related to knowledge and skills required for entry level jobs in a high-demanding industry. For graduates willing to further pursue their education, certificate courses are mainly made transferable to the Power Plant AAS degree program.
With a major in Power Plant Technology, the associate of applied degree will only last for one and a half years that contains general and technical courses. This program can also be completed in a two-year span. Graduates will posses skills and knowledge that’s acquired through laboratory, classroom and experiences gained from internship programs.
There are plenty of institutions in place across the United States that offer a course in power plant technology for persons interested in earning professional certification in this highly competitive program. Some of the notable colleges and universities known for offering a course in power plant technology include Houston Community College, Youngstown State University, Mt San Antonio College, Del Mar College, Sacramento City College, and Enterprise State Community College among others.
This program is mainly open to non-students holding a bachelor’s degree in a field of engineering in addition to senior and junior students that are majoring in science or engineering discipline.
Some of the specific topics common to power plant technology that students will go through include power generation systems, power distribution systems, energy conversion technologies, safety procedures, power plant operating steps, instruments and controls among others. Other lab courses that students are expected to undergo includes the adjustment of computer controls, reading instruments, and learning how to carry out preventive maintenance.
Tuition fees for a course in Power Plant Technology differ depending on the institution and state. They are not static and subject to change. The amounts that you will be charged to compete a course in power plant technology will vary. However, according to recent surveys aimed at establishing the average fees, it was established that tuition fees for domestic or citizens of the United States are $5,603 for year one and $55,834 for the second year.
If you are an international student with the intention of pursuing this course, you will most certainly be charged $17,999 for year one and $18,850 for year two by a majority of colleges and other institutions that offer this course.
In the United States for instance, the energy sector provides services that impact the daily lives of millions of individuals. Added to this, the aging workforce coupled with increased demand for electricity is creating a tremendous opportunity for those already pursuing this course.
In the state of Kansas alone, there are reports that more than 600 positions will be available in the next ten years. Some of the rewarding career opportunities that one can take up here include working in nuclear power plants, fossil fuel power plants, hydro-electric power plants, and cogeneration power plants.
There is a rising demand for power plants technicians in many locations across the United States. However, to increase the chances of being employed, those already having earned for themselves an associate degree can go improve their employment prospects by going a step further and earning a bachelor’s degree in physics or engineering. A majority of power plant technicians hold bachelor’s degrees, although such is not necessary for all positions.
All in all, the demand for power plants technicians is growing. While the duties and responsibilities could be somewhat technical, at the end of the day, a career as a power plant technician is fun and rewarding.
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