What Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers Do
Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers control the systems that generate and distribute electric power.
Most workers are employed full time, and many work rotating shifts, which can be tiring.
How to Become a Power Plant Operator, Distributor, or Dispatcher
Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers need extensive on-the-job training that may include a combination of classroom and hands-on training. Nuclear power reactor operators also need a license. Many jobs require a background check, and workers are subject to drug and alcohol screenings.
Employment of power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers is projected to decline 6 percent from 2014 to 2024. Although electricity usage is expected to grow, it is expected to grow more slowly because of advances in technology and increased energy efficiency. These developments will in turn dampen employment growth for the occupation.
This occupation supported 60,699 jobs in 2012 and 60,000 jobs in 2014, reflecting a decline of 1.2%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to decrease by 7.7% in 2022 to 56,000 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 59,700, compared with an observed value of 60,000, 0.5% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to decrease by 5.6% in 2024 to 56,600 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 55,000 jobs for 2024, 2.8% lower than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are better than the 2012 trend within this occupation.