The boiler operator in a given building is responsible for operating the heating equipment, and in some cases the air conditioning as well. A boiler operator needs to constantly monitor the status of the various elements involved in the operation of a boiler, and adequately respond to changes in the boiler’s status – turning valves to release pressure, increasing the heat when needed, etc. Depending on the type of boiler being used, the boiler operator may also be responsible for keeping it stocked with fuel, such as loading coal into a furnace-heated boiler.
Becoming a boiler operator involves a period of apprenticeship, during which the employee simply observes the actions of more experienced operators, while also being taught some of the specifics of the job at hand. A boiler operator can benefit from having a background in plumbing, as a large portion of their job involves dealing with complicated plumbing systems. Responsibility when working in hazardous environments is a must, as boilers can pose serious health hazards due to the nature of their operation.
As a boiler operator, one can expect to initially earn between $35,000 and $45,000. The worker’s experience influences their salary greatly, and more experienced boiler operators can easily earn over $60,000 annually – though to reach that level of income, a boiler operator would generally need at least 10-15 years of solid working experience. Boiler operators assigned to train subordinates may be additionally compensated for their extra effort, though that’s not always the case.