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How to Become a Boiler Operator

Updated on January 22, 2012

Schools, factories, and other physical plants need boiler operators for safe boiler maintenance. Mechanically inclined individuals can increase their job potential in this field by getting training, certification and a state boiler-operator license.

A boiler operator will often start out as a staff member of a maintenance team at a school, factory, or business. The maintenance duties may include maintaining and repairing boilers, but many states require a person on staff to have a boiler operator license. Getting that license can be good for both hiring and promotion purposes.

Keep in mind that certification and licensing are two different animals. Certification is a mark of excellence provided by an organization not directly affiliated or part of the government. There are some organizations that provide boiler operator certification, and these organizations give a national certification.

On the other hand, states that require a boiler operator license for at least one person on staff can only provide a state license. Certification is good for licensees of one state to have, as it may be a requirement for boiler-operator licensing in some states. Naturally, having both can also increase your chances of getting specific boiler operator jobs at schools, factories, or other buildings.

Examples of organizations that provide boiler operator certification are the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Maintenance Training Association of the Americas. Prospective boiler operators can get training through American Trainco for MTAA certification.

The job of an operator, while certainly not easy, is also not super challenging, either. For example, an example of boiler training is the 2-day course put on by American Trainco. This course is about $1000, and it should provide you with enough knowledge to get certified. Whether that is enough to get a license in a particular state depends on the situation.

Speaking of licensing, you will have to check each state individually to see if they have a licensing board. If such a board does exist, it may be a smaller part of a larger board since most states would not have a board solely for boiler operator license issuance.

Again, while you may be able to operate as an assistant (just like a legal clerk does legal paperwork), it is best to get a boiler operator license for career purposes. You will also have to check with each state for license requirements. In many cases, you need to have boiler operator experience and take an exam. Find out the study references for each exam from your state board.

Tip: Your employer will generally know whether the state has a boiler operator license program. But if you are not currently employed in maintenance, either ask the maintenance team of any school or other building that has a boiler of find out from the local building/engineering department. Of course, you can also run a search online to see if your state requires a boiler operator license.


ASME: Boiler and Pressure Vessel Certification

American Trainco: Boiler Operator Training and Certification Course


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