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Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators
SOC Code: 51-8021.00

Operate or maintain stationary engines, boilers, or other mechanical equipment to provide utilities for buildings or industrial processes. Operate equipment, such as steam engines, generators, motors, turbines, and steam boilers.

Sample of reported job titles: Boiler Operator, Boiler Technician, Building Engineer, Fireman, Operating Engineer, Plant Operator, Plant Utilities Engineer, Stationary Engineer, Stationary Steam Engineer, Utilities Operator


  • Monitor and inspect equipment, computer terminals, switches, valves, gauges, alarms, safety devices, and meters to detect leaks or malfunctions and to ensure that equipment is operating efficiently and safely.
  • Activate valves to maintain required amounts of water in boilers, to adjust supplies of combustion air, and to control the flow of fuel into burners.
  • Monitor boiler water, chemical, and fuel levels, and make adjustments to maintain required levels.
  • Observe and interpret readings on gauges, meters, and charts registering various aspects of boiler operation to ensure that boilers are operating properly.
  • Test boiler water quality or arrange for testing and take necessary corrective action, such as adding chemicals to prevent corrosion and harmful deposits.
  • Analyze problems and take appropriate action to ensure continuous and reliable operation of equipment and systems.
  • Operate or tend stationary engines, boilers, and auxiliary equipment, such as pumps, compressors, or air-conditioning equipment, to supply and maintain steam or heat for buildings, marine vessels, or pneumatic tools.
  • Adjust controls and/or valves on equipment to provide power, and to regulate and set operations of system or industrial processes.
  • Switch from automatic to manual controls and isolate equipment mechanically and electrically to allow for safe inspection and repair work.
  • Maintain daily logs of operation, maintenance, and safety activities, including test results, instrument readings, and details of equipment malfunctions and maintenance work.
  • Investigate and report on accidents.
  • Develop operation, safety, and maintenance procedures or assist in their development.
  • Install burners and auxiliary equipment, using hand tools.
  • Perform or arrange for repairs, such as complete overhauls, replacement of defective valves, gaskets, or bearings, or fabrication of new parts.
  • Check the air quality of ventilation systems and make adjustments to ensure compliance with mandated safety codes.
  • Weigh, measure, and record fuel used.
  • Clean and lubricate boilers and auxiliary equipment and make minor adjustments as needed, using hand tools.
  • Contact equipment manufacturers or appropriate specialists when necessary to resolve equipment problems.
  • Fire coal furnaces by hand or with stokers and gas- or oil-fed boilers, using automatic gas feeds or oil pumps.
  • Receive instructions from steam engineers regarding steam plant and air compressor operations.
  • Ignite fuel in burners, using torches or flames.
  • Supervise the work of assistant stationary engineers, turbine operators, boiler tenders, or air conditioning and refrigeration operators and mechanics.
  • Operate mechanical hoppers and provide assistance in their adjustment and repair.
  • Test electrical systems to determine voltages, using voltage meters.
  • Provide assistance to plumbers in repairing or replacing water, sewer, or waste lines, and in daily maintenance activities.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - Statistical software
  • Data base user interface and query software - Data entry software ; Database software
  • Electronic mail software - Email software; Microsoft Outlook
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software - SAP
  • Facilities management software - Building management system software; Computerized maintenance management system CMMS
  • Graphics or photo imaging software - Graphics software
  • Internet browser software - Web browser software
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Web platform development software - Microsoft Active Server Pages ASP
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Air pumps - Pneumatic pumps
  • Calipers - Dial calipers
  • Claw hammer - Claw hammers
  • Cleaning scrapers - Equipment cleaning scrapers
  • Colorimeters
  • Conductivity meters
  • Cutting die - Metal cutting dies
  • Dial indicator or dial gauge - Dial indicators
  • Drain or pipe cleaning equipment - Electric drain augers
  • Drill press or radial drill - Drill presses
  • Dropping pipettes
  • Ear plugs - Protective ear plugs
  • Explosimeters - Combustion analyzers
  • Floor or platform scales - Industrial platform scales
  • Forklifts
  • Gas welding or brazing or cutting apparatus - Gas brazing equipment; Oxyacetylene welding equipment
  • Grapples - Grapple cranes
  • Grease guns
  • Hammer drills - Rotary hammers
  • Heat tracing equipment - Infrared guns
  • Hydraulic press frames
  • Hydraulic truck cranes - Hydraulic boom trucks
  • Hydrometers
  • Laboratory graduated cylinders - Graduated glass cylinders
  • Ladders
  • Levels - Precision levels
  • Locking pliers
  • Masks or accessories - Filter masks
  • Microcontrollers - Programmable logic controllers PLC
  • Micrometers
  • Multimeters - Digital multimeters
  • Ohmmeters
  • Oil gun - Oil guns
  • Opacity or dust or visibility sensors - Opacity meters
  • Personal computers
  • pH meters - pH indicators
  • Pipe or tube cutter - Pipe cutters
  • Pipe wrenches
  • Pneumatic sanding machines - Descalers; Sandblasters
  • Power drills
  • Power meters
  • Power saws
  • Pressure indicators - Manifold test gauges; Pressure gauges
  • Pressure or steam cleaners - Steam cleaning equipment
  • Pressure or vacuum recorders - Water column gauges
  • Pressure sensors - Bourdon tubes
  • Pressure transmitters
  • Protective gloves - Safety gloves
  • Psychrometers - Sling psychrometers
  • Ratchets
  • Remote reading thermometers - Electronic remote reading thermometers
  • Respiration air supplying self contained breathing apparatus or accessories - Self-contained breathing apparatus
  • Safety glasses
  • Scaffolding
  • Screwdrivers - Phillips head screwdrivers; Straight screwdrivers
  • Shielded metal arc welding or stick welding machine - Shielded arc welding tools
  • Socket sets - Socket wrench sets
  • Squares - Layout squares
  • Tapping machine - Tapping machines
  • Taps - Metal cutting taps
  • Temperature transmitters - Electronic temperature sensors
  • Thermocouples
  • Threading taps - Hand pipe threaders
  • Tracer or duplicating or contouring lathe - Bench lathes
  • Turbidimeters
  • Two way radios
  • Voltage or current meters - Amp meters; Voltmeters


  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.


  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Repairing - Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Auditory Attention - The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.


  • Interest code: RIC
    • 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.
    • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
    • 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

  • Exposed to Contaminants - 95% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 95% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 84% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 72% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions - 68% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 66% responded “Every day.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures - 73% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings - 64% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 62% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 65% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 70% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled - 67% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to High Places - 52% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 45% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 53% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 63% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment - 66% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 44% responded “Very important results.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 45% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 40% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather - 58% responded “Every day.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 42% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Electronic Mail - 65% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 32% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Consequence of Error - 39% responded “Very serious.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 31% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 38% responded “About half the time.”
  • Physical Proximity - 40% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Spend Time Standing - 46% responded “About half the time.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 63% responded “40 hours.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body - 35% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Degree of Automation - 44% responded “Moderately automated.”
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting - 33% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure - 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 29% responded “Limited responsibility.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations - 43% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
  • Spend Time Kneeling, Crouching, Stooping, or Crawling - 45% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Letters and Memos - 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 46% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 37% responded “Very important.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
63%High school diploma or equivalent
16%Post-secondary certificate
16%Some college, no degree

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • 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.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • 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.

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.
  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • 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)
    • $28.79 hourly, $59,890 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 36,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Average (5% to 9%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 3,900

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