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Geothermal Technicians
SOC Code: 49-9099.01

Perform technical activities at power plants or individual installations necessary for the generation of power from geothermal energy sources. Monitor and control operating activities at geothermal power generation facilities and perform maintenance and repairs as necessary. Install, test, and maintain residential and commercial geothermal heat pumps.

Sample of reported job titles: Control Operator; Control Room Operator (CRO); Instrumentation, Control, and Electrical Technician (I C & E Technician); Maintenance Mechanic; Maintenance Technician; Mechanical Technician; Operations and Maintenance Technician; Operations Technician; Operator Technician; Plant Technician

Tasks

  • Identify and correct malfunctions of geothermal plant equipment, electrical systems, instrumentation, or controls.
  • Monitor and adjust operations of geothermal power plant equipment or systems.
  • Adjust power production systems to meet load and distribution demands.
  • Collect and record data associated with operating geothermal power plants or well fields.
  • Prepare and maintain logs, reports, or other documentation of work performed.
  • Install and maintain geothermal plant electrical protection equipment.
  • Maintain electrical switchgear, process controls, transmitters, gauges, and control equipment in accordance with geothermal plant procedures.
  • Maintain, calibrate, or repair plant instrumentation, control, and electronic devices in geothermal plants.
  • Determine whether emergency or auxiliary systems will be needed to keep properties heated or cooled in extreme weather conditions.
  • Test water sources for factors such as flow volume and contaminant presence.
  • Install and maintain geothermal system instrumentation or controls.
  • Prepare newly installed geothermal heat systems for operation by flushing, purging, or other actions.
  • Apply coatings or operate systems to mitigate corrosion of geothermal plant equipment or structures.
  • Operate equipment, such as excavators, backhoes, rock hammers, trench compactors, pavement saws, grout mixers or pumps, geothermal loop reels, and coil tubing units (CTU).
  • Identify equipment options, such as compressors, and make appropriate selections.
  • Perform pre- and post-installation pressure, flow, and related tests of vertical and horizontal geothermal loop piping.
  • Install, maintain, or repair ground or water source-coupled heat pumps to heat and cool residential or commercial building air or water.
  • Weld piping, such as high density polyethylene (HDPE) piping, using techniques such as butt, socket, side-wall, and electro-fusion welding.
  • Dig trenches for system piping to appropriate depths and lay piping in trenches.
  • Design and lay out geothermal heat systems according to property characteristics, heating and cooling requirements, piping and equipment requirements, applicable regulations, or other factors.
  • Integrate hot water heater systems with geothermal heat exchange systems.
  • Backfill piping trenches to protect pipes from damage.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - ClimateMaster GeoDesigner; Geothermal Properties Measurement Tool; Thermal Dynamics Ground Loop Design GLD; WaterFurnace International Ground Loop Design PREMIER
  • Computer aided design CAD software - Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Electronic mail software - Email software
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software - SAP
  • Industrial control software - Distributed control system DCS
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Adjustable wrenches - Adjustable hand wrenches
  • Air samplers or collectors - Air monitoring equipment
  • Claw hammer - Claw hammers
  • Coiled tubing units - Coil tubing units
  • Compactors - Trench compacters
  • Deburring tool - Deburring tools
  • Desktop computers
  • Flash butt welding machine - Butt fusion machines
  • Grouting pump - Grout pumps
  • Land drilling rigs - Well drilling rigs
  • Locking pliers - Channel lock pliers
  • Logging instruments for water wells - Depth meters
  • Microcontrollers - Programmable logic controllers PLC
  • Notebook computers - Laptop computers
  • Personal computers
  • Pipe bending tools - Pipe squeeze off tools
  • Pipe or tube cutter - Pipe cutters
  • Pipe vises - Alignment clamps
  • Pipe wrenches - Adjustable pipe wrenches
  • Plaster or mortar mixers - Grout mixers
  • Pneumatic impact wrenches - Air wrenches
  • Power saws - Pavement saws
  • Protective gloves - Safety gloves
  • Pyrometers
  • Ratchets - Ratchet sets
  • Respirators - Protective respirators
  • Safety glasses
  • Screwdrivers - Phillips head screwdrivers; Straight screwdrivers
  • Socket sets - Socket wrench sets
  • Specialty wrenches - Valve wrenches
  • Spot welding machine - Portable welding equipment
  • Stripping tools - Wire strippers
  • Track excavators - Tracked excavators
  • Wire cutters

Knowledge

  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Skills

  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Repairing - Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities

  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Auditory Attention - The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

Interests

  • Interest code: RC
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 97% responded “Every day.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather - 79% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail - 75% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 73% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions - 71% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 78% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 74% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 70% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled - 66% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 72% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 63% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 55% responded “Every day.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures - 55% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 46% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Consequence of Error - 68% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Contact With Others - 54% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 44% responded “Extremely important.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment - 51% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure - 47% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 49% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment - 64% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 38% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting - 45% responded “Every day.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 34% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Exposed to High Places - 44% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 43% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 38% responded “Moderate results.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 32% responded “Very important.”
  • Outdoors, Under Cover - 28% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • In an Open Vehicle or Equipment - 32% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Letters and Memos - 41% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 34% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings - 39% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 34% responded “About half the time.”
  • Spend Time Standing - 46% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions - 36% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Physical Proximity - 42% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection - 38% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
56%High school diploma or equivalent
32%Post-secondary certificate
7%Some college, no degree

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $18.65 hourly, $38,800 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 176,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Average (5% to 9%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 18,700

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