Stationary Engineer/Boiler Operator  What They Do

Just the Facts


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

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster Maintenance/Operations pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Activates valves to maintain required amounts of water in boilers, to adjust supplies of combustion air, and to control the flow of fuel into burners.
  • Monitors and inspects 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.
  • Monitors boiler water, chemical, and fuel levels, and makes adjustments to maintain required levels.
  • Observes and interprets readings on gauges, meters, and charts registering various aspects of boiler operation to ensure that boilers are operating properly.
  • Tests boiler water quality or arranges for testing and takes necessary corrective action, such as adding chemicals to prevent corrosion and harmful deposits.
  • Analyzes problems and takes appropriate action to ensure continuous and reliable operation of equipment and systems.
  • Operates or tends stationary engines, boilers, and auxiliary equipment such as pumps, compressors, and air-conditioning equipment, to supply and maintain steam or heat for buildings, marine vessels, or pneumatic tools.
  • Adjusts controls and/or valves on equipment to provide power, and to regulate and set operations of system or industrial processes.
  • Switches from automatic to manual controls and isolates equipment mechanically and electrically to allow for safe inspection and repair work.
  • Maintains daily logs of operation, maintenance, and safety activities, including test results, instrument readings, and details of equipment malfunctions and maintenance work.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves kneeling, crouching, stooping, and/or crawling more than one-third of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Pipe Fitter -- Lays out, assembles, installs, and maintains pipe systems, pipe supports, and related hydraulic and pneumatic equipment for steam, hot water, heating, cooling, lubricating, sprinkling, and industrial production and processing systems.
  • Turbine Operator -- Controls steam-driven turbogenerators in electric or nuclear power generating station.
  • Plant Utilities Engineer --
  • Power House Operator --