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In Canada, only licensed technicians are permitted to maintain equipment that provides heat or power by using high-pressure steam. These individuals are called power engineers, and they are certified by expertise using a class system. Classification of engineers ranges in difficulty from fifth class to first class, with the latter requiring the most education and training. Generally, requirements for job postings are based on the size and output of the machinery, with larger plants requiring higher classifications. Fourth class power engineer jobs generally involve boiler maintenance and repair in facilities such as hospitals, schools and small manufacturing plants.
Often, the job setting will very much influence the responsibilities of the technician. Small facilities require a power engineer for their equipment by law but recognize that those duties might take only a few hours per day. To compensate, other duties might be added to the job description. For example, fourth class power engineer jobs in a school setting could combine boiler upkeep with general maintenance duties. Likewise, an engineer in a manufacturing setting might be asked to provide security checks as part of his or her daily routine.
Specific fourth class power engineer jobs might also require additional certification. An extra certification in cooling systems, called a refrigeration ticket, is common in positions where the boiler system is used primarily for heating purposes. Other certificates, such as a gas ticket, might be required when working with hybrid heating systems or power plants.
Regardless of job setting, there are certain requirements that are common in most fourth class power engineer jobs. Attention to detail is of the utmost importance, because even minor variations in the readings from instruments recording the temperature and pressure within a boiler might be an early indicator of a dangerous malfunction. As such, the ability to maintain and organize records of these readings is necessary not only to analyze patterns but often to comply with government regulations. In addition, many engineers work unsupervised, so the ability to perform job functions and make decisions independently is also desirable.
Technically, it is possible in some areas of Canada to receive power engineer certification by simply passing the test. Most fourth class power engineer jobs, however, require completion of a power engineering course. These courses generally last nine to 18 months, with the longer programs incorporating information for refrigeration ticketing. Power engineers might work within their own provinces by receiving certification from their local government. Testing for country-wide certification is handled by the Standardization of Power Engineer Examinations Committee (SOPEEC).
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