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Boiler or engine operator

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Summary of occupation

Boiler or engine operators operate and maintain stationary boilers and engines, and associated mechanical plant equipment. They maintain boilers that are used to supply heat or steam for power that operates machines. They may light the fuel used in the boiler and control the flow of fuel and water into the boiler. They monitor the control panel and regulate temperature, pressure, draft and other operational parameters. They also observe the boiler and secondary units to check for any faults, and perform minor repairs as well as required maintenance. They may also need to treat the water used in the boiler with special chemicals.

ANZSCO description: Operates and maintains stationary engines, boilers, refrigeration and airconditioning systems, and associated mechanical plant (registration or licensing is required).
Alternative names: Attendant (Boiler), Boiler Attendant, Boiler Operator, Stationary Engine Operator, Steam and Pressure Plant Operator
Specialisations: Airconditioning Plant Operator, Fireman on a Steam Engine, Marine Engine Driver, Motorman/woman (Fluids Drilling), Refrigeration Plant Operator
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A boiler operator needs:

  • to be interested in manual and practical work
  • to be physically fit
  • to be able to work as part of a team
  • to be able to carry out tasks quickly and methodically
  • to be safety conscious.
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Working conditions

Boiler operators may work in an environment that is hot, noisy and dusty. They must be safety-conscious and will usually have to wear protective clothing and equipment. Depending on where they work, they may be required to stand all day or work in confined spaces or at heights.

They tend to work regular hours but this could involve shift work. Boiler operators can find employment throughout the State. If employed by a mining company, in the Pilbara for instance, they may work on a Fly In/Fly Out basis.

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Salary details

On average, boiler or engine operators, classified under stationary plant operators, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week, ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a boiler or engine operator develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Boiler operators need to be proficient with the equipment they are controlling, which will vary from job to job.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a boiler or engine operator you usually need to complete a formal qualification in maritime operations.

The Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 Near Coastal) must be completed through an Australian Maritime Safety Authority approved registered training provider. 

You must also obtain a High Risk Work License in the appropriate class for the type of work you wish to undertake. To obtain a license you must undertake training with a registered training organisation and be assessed by a WorkSafe Registered Assessor. 

​Contact WorkSafe for more information. 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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