Stationary engineers start up, maintain, repair and shut down the machines that provide utilities for buildings. They may control air-conditioning, turbines, pumps, generators and boilers. Most learn their skills on the job under the supervision of an experienced engineer. They may also complete an apprenticeship that lasts four years and provides a salary during the learning period. Some jurisdictions demand licensing for the profession, which requires a minimum age of 18, having experience, and passing an exam.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, stationary engineers averaged $54,860 per year, or $26.37 per hour, as of May 2012. The lowest-paid 10 percent received less than $33,600 yearly, or $16.15 hourly. The top earners made over an annual $78,050, or $37.52 per hour. Most found jobs in general medical and surgical hospitals, which paid a mean $57,350 per year, or $27.57 per hour. However, the highest salaries were in the Postal Service, averaging an annual $74,360, or 35.75 hourly.
The BLS sees jobs for the profession increasing by 6 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is lower than the 14 percent expected for all workers in the country. Positions will come from the development of new buildings that have stationary engines and boiler systems, such as for educational, commercial and industrial facilities. Jobs will decline in manufacturing and government. The best jobs will go to those with apprenticeship training and the appropriate licenses.