A power plant technician maintains the systems used to generate energy in a power plant. This job title refers to two slightly different positions, each with its own requirements. The first is in facilities that generate electrical power for consumers and businesses using turbines and other equipment. In the other case, people work specifically on aviation power plants, the engines and accompanying equipment that keep a plane in the air.
In the instance of power plants on the ground, a power plant technician can work in plants generating energy from sources like coal, water, and nuclear elements. The technician regularly inspects the equipment for signs of problems, performs routine maintenance to keep it operational, and repairs it in the event of problems. Technicians are typically on duty at the plant constantly to be available in emergencies. People in senior positions may supervise, setting schedules and delegating tasks to the rest of the staff.
These technicians usually need to have a high school degree, and some have qualifications from a technical school or college. Special certifications may be required by their employers to work on particular systems, including health and safety qualifications. The power plant technician becomes very familiar with a given facility, its equipment, and its capacity to keep the systems operating smoothly. In emergencies where there are unexpected draws on the grid or technicians need to cope with bad weather like hurricanes, rapid responses are critical to minimize damage and keep the plant operational.
Aircraft power plants require special care and maintenance. To become a power plant technician in the aviation field, people may need to attend training at a technical school and pass an examination set by a regulatory agency. The requirements vary by region. Training can include classroom education as well as opportunities to work on aircraft engines in a lab environment under the supervision of skilled instructors.
Work in the aviation field involves keeping aircraft engines tuned and running appropriately. A power plant technician can maintain aircraft in a fleet and replace parts as they wear or are recalled. If a plane develops a problem, the technician examines the power plant to determine the cause and develop a plan for repairing it. The job can also include a forensic element, inspecting engines after failure to find out how and why they broke down. Such examinations can result in new maintenance recommendations to prevent problems of a similar nature in the future.