Is Public Utilities a Good Career Path? Yes, Public utilities can be a very good career path for those interested in working in infrastructure and providing essential services to communities. Working in public utilities can offer stable employment, as these industries are often heavily regulated and provide essential services that are in constant demand.
Public utilities include industries such as electricity, gas, water, telecommunications, and waste management, and they are typically government-owned or operated.
Jobs available in the Public Utilities and their Salaries
As mentioned above, public utilities is a very interdisciplinary sector. As a result, people working in utilities come from varied backgrounds, all levels of expertise, qualifications, and experience. You’ll often hear people saying that public utilities are an industry that offers something for everyone interested in pursuing a career here.
Let’s take a look at some of the jobs available and their salaries in several areas of public utilities.
1. Electric Power Utilities:
Thanks to the invention of scientists like Thomas Edison, Tesla, Faraday, and others, producing electricity, transmitting electricity to our houses, and using it to light our bulbs was made possible. But running these complex systems everyday and at a massive scale needs a lot of manpower. 172,000 people were employed in just the generation of electricity in the United States. Some of the jobs in this utility sector are:
- Power Plant Engineer – Salary $100k-$143k per year.
- Power System Dispatcher – Salary $47k-$121k per year.
- Nuclear Licensing Engineer – Salary $76k-$145k per year.
- Power Utility Manager – Salary $47k-$115k per year.
- Wind Turbine Technician – Salary $50,000 per year.
- Power linemen and electricians – Salary $54,000 per year.
2. Water and Sewage Utilities Sector:
This sector is in control of the overall flow of water needed for all purposes in the society. The water treatment, distribution, and sewage utilities systems of the big cities are more complex than that in the sub-urban and countryside. Nevertheless, it is a necessity of all societies and thus creates large employment opportunities.
A report by the U.S.A Bureau of Labor Statistics BLS categorizes the jobs in water utilities with the following requirements and median hourly salaries:
- General and Operations Managers: Bachelor’s Degree with at least 5+ years’ experience, $47.74/hour.
- Supervisors: High school diploma with at least less than 5 years experience, $27.78/hour.
- Pipelayers: No formal education and experience, $18.47/hour (Short On-the-job training)
- Plumbers and Pipefitters: No formal education and experience, $24.74/hour (Apprenticeship)
- Water and wastewater plant system operator: High school diploma and No experience, $22/hour.
- Construction and Equipment Operators: High school diploma and No experience, $21.65/hour.
- Utilities Meter Reader: High school diploma and No experience, $18.72/hour.
- Maintenance and Repair Workers: High school diploma and No experience, $17.76/hour.
- Construction Laborers: No formal education and experience, $16.07/hour
3. Natural Gas Utilities Sector:
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), In 2022, the amount of natural gas consumed in the US was 31.28 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of which 39% was used in the generation of electricity, 34% in industry, 17% in residential, 12% in commercial and 4% in transportation.
Some of the high-paying jobs in the natural gas sector with their national average salaries include:
- Driller: $50,800/year.
- Gas Technician: $53,682/year.
- Distribution Specialist: $54,710/year
- Project Accountant: $61,016/year.
- Project Engineer: $75,818/year.
- Environmental Health Officer: $76,036/year.
- Geologist: $84,955/year.
- Petroleum Engineer: $88,378/year.
Pros and Cons of a Career in Public Utilities
Finally, let’s have a look at the advantages and some disadvantages of pursuing a career in public utilities.
- Public utility jobs offer a good salary. The average salary in the public utilities sector ranges from $52,000 – $82,000 which is greater than the national average salary.
- Landing a job in the public utilities sector is not hard at all even if you lack formal education and experience.
- According to the nature of the jobs, most public utilities jobs come with benefits like on-the-job training, paid leaves, medical insurance, travel allowances and so on.
- Not only landing a job, growing the ranks from within the industry is very favorable in the utility sector. Just a few years of experience opens new opportunities for growth and can result in a successful career.
- At a time when most workers are dissatisfied and disengaged with the work they do, jobs in public utilities can provide job fulfillment upon realizing that the job you’re doing is directly responsible for ensuring thousands of people get the vital goods/services they need for survival.
- Many public utilities jobs are characterized by a rather high degree of risks for safety and security. For instance, despite all the safety gear and training, a power lineman is not what we would call a safe job to do daily.
- Public utility jobs, because of their critical nature, require you to follow a rigid set of guidelines and a code of conduct. As a result, the repetitive nature of some tasks can be a problem if you have a fire for creativity.
- Several advancements in the technology of public utilities have rendered many previous jobs useless. This might make your job less secure especially if it is done physically with manual labor.
Frequently Asked Questions if Public Utilities a Good Career Path
What are public utilities?
Public utilities are companies or organizations that provide essential services to the public, such as water, electricity, natural gas, telecommunications, and transportation.
Is a career in public utilities a good option?
Yes, a career in public utilities can be a good option for those who are interested in working in a stable industry with job security, good benefits, and opportunities for advancement. Public utilities are essential services that will always be in demand, and there are many different types of jobs available in this field.
What kind of jobs are available in public utilities?
There are many different types of jobs available in public utilities, ranging from entry-level positions to executive roles. Some common jobs in this field include electricians, linemen, engineers, customer service representatives, operations managers, and executives.
What kind of education or training is required for a career in public utilities?
The education or training required for a career in public utilities depends on the specific job. For entry-level positions, a high school diploma or equivalent may be sufficient, while some jobs may require a technical or vocational degree. For higher-level positions, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field may be required.
What are the benefits of working in public utilities?
Public utilities typically offer good benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and job security. Many public utilities are also committed to employee development and offer opportunities for training and advancement.
What are the potential drawbacks of working in public utilities?
Some potential drawbacks of working in public utilities include the risk of exposure to hazardous materials or working in challenging weather conditions. Additionally, some public utilities may be subject to government regulation, which can impact the way they operate.
How can I find a job in public utilities?
There are many ways to find a job in public utilities, including searching online job boards, networking with industry professionals, and applying directly to public utilities companies. It may also be helpful to attend job fairs or conferences related to the industry.