What’s an Operating Engineer, anyway?
Operating Engineers, also known as Power Engineers outside of Ontario, are professional, skilled operators and managers responsible for providing light, heat, climate control, power or other utilities for buildings, industrial processes and thermal electric generating stations. They operate and maintain steam boilers and related mechanical equipment, such as pumps, gas compressors, generators, motors, steam turbines, air conditioning systems, heat exchangers and refrigeration equipment. The title of Power Engineer is the standardized Canadian designation.
Depending on the size of the facility or plant, an Operating Engineer is responsible for the operation of the utilities’ equipment, or may also be responsible for management and maintenance of all facility operations. Large facilities may have several Operating Engineers on a given operating shift, designated as shift engineers and assistant shift engineers. In all cases, a Chief Operating Engineer is designated as ultimately responsible for the entire utilities or power plant operation.
Please note that power plant operation falls under the Technical Standards and Safety Act 2000/01 and its related Operating Engineers Regulation 219/01. TSSA in conjunction with the Operating Engineers Industry Council and stakeholders update certification requirements on an on-going basis to ensure the safety of the plant and the public.
Unlike mechanical engineers, who require years of academic training before they can earn a living, Operating Engineers train and study for only a year before they can start to take home a good salary. Mechanical engineers must be recognized by the Professional Engineers of Ontario, which requires them to attend a post-secondary university for four years and intern for four years.
Operating Engineers (4th Class to 1st Class)
There are four classifications of Operating Engineers. 4th Class is the entry level certificate. Operating Engineers have a broad range of interesting and technically challenging responsibilities, including:
There are Three Classifications of Operator, Including: