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How Do I Become a Class 4 Power Engineer?

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  • Written By: Bryce Clinton
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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To become a class 4 power engineer, it is necessary to enroll in a formal program of study. Unlike some forms of power engineering based on apprenticeship, to become a class 4 power engineer you need to complete an intensive program that includes core areas of technical training. This program is generally one year in length, after which you'll need to pass an examination to receive your power systems engineer certificate.

The first step before you can begin studying to become a class 4 power engineer, is to find the right school and funding for your studies. Where you study will depend on your location, or you may be able to complete all or part of the program online. To be accepted, you will need to have completed some prerequisites, and you'll need to be able to demonstrate the physical capability required to perform power systems engineering.

Among the required prerequisites for entering a program is the ability to understand theoretical and scientific concepts, practical training, and the operation of a wide range of industrial equipment. Another prerequisite is introductory college-level English, math, physics, and chemistry. A third requirement is good physical coordination and manual dexterity for operating controls and switches. It is also sometimes necessary to pass a test for color blindness, as many employers will require this of applicants.

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Upon acceptance into a school, a student is required to successfully compete all theory and lab classes, and in some cases, show an adequate level of course attendance. Programs are usually divided into two semesters and may include any of the following courses: technical communications, thermodynamics, steam generation, computer instrumentation, safety, and environmental codes. Other courses might focus on water treatment, electricity, boilers, and types of plants, to name a few. The purpose of any program is to provide all the practical and technical training needed to become a class 4 power engineer and embark upon a career in power plant operation.

In addition to many other environments, power engineers work in hospitals, refrigeration plants, refineries, and sawmills, so specialized training can be expected based on industry niches. Once you become a class 4 power engineer, you'll be responsible for the maintenance and safe operation of steam and gas turbines, generators, boilers, combustion engines, condensers, pumps, and much more, so expect programs to be rigorous. You will need to learn and also retain the information, as your final requirement will be to pass a certified 4th class power engineer’s examination.

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