Power Engineering Technology


More Information

Lambton College is proud of its long-running industry partnerships that continue to benefit students enrolled in the flagship Technology programs. For the fourth year in a row, Lambton College has secured co-op placements for 100 per cent of eligible Power Engineering Technology students in a variety of positions across Ontario. Read the news release.

 Program Outcome Comparison for Chemical Production & Power Engineering Technology and Power Engineering Technology - Chemical 


What is Operating Engineering and why is it important?

How do I become an Operating Engineer?

How do I gain the practical time experience required for Operating Engineering?

What happens if I switch into the on-ground program?

What does a career with a CPET diploma involve?

What is Operating Engineering and why is it important?

Operators who have control over boiler, fired heaters, and other equipment that produce or utilize steam are required to be certified Operating Engineers in the province of Ontario. This certification is granted by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) in the province of Ontario. Further information about the TSSA and the Operating Engineers Act can be found at www.tssa.org. Often you will find that the name Power Engineer is used for this title as well, due to the relationship of the careers to power generating facilities. There is a move in the province desiring to change the name to this, but it still is currently Operating Engineer.

There are 4 levels of Operating Engineers, with 4th Class being the lowest and 1st Class being the highest. Depending on the MW rating of the plant, the level of Operating Engineers is determined. For example, a large power plant facility that uses combustion to produce steam would typically require a First Class Operating Engineer as Chief Operating Engineer, and the shift operators would require 2nd Class certification. Even chemical plants and refineries often require certified operators if they run fired equipment. Most require their operators to have 4th Class certification upon hire and to achieve 3rd Class certification as a minimum for their career.

How do I become an Operating Engineer?

To become an Operating Engineer 4th Class, during the time spent at Lambton College, students are expected to register to write the two exams for the 4th class; Part A and Part B. This is done by contacting the TSSA to register for the test facility in your area. The learning materials, which are also used for the Operating Engineering courses in the PETC program, are available via the campus shop (a deposit is required) or from www.powerengineering.ca or also by a link from the TSSA website. The materials are covered during the first four academic terms of the PETC program, but students must realize that they will need to study this material in advance of these exams due to the volume of material on each exam. These two exams form the first requirement for the certification, with practical time being the next component.

How do I gain the practical time experience required for Operating Engineering?

Students must also gain practical time. The current requirement for practical time is 12 months of full-time working time in a registered plant. The co-op work experience can count towards this if in a TSSA registered plant. For each job obtained that counts towards the practical time, the students must get a testimonial form completed and signed by the chief operator to attest to the time achieved and the type of plant where employment occurred.

The on-ground final three terms is approved for an 11-month reduction for the 3rd Class.

What does a career with a PETC diploma involve?

As a PETC graduate, you would be entering a career as a process operator/operating engineer. These positions are almost always shift work positions, with most plants now utilizing 12-hour shifts. In any given month, you will work certain day shifts and night shifts and be part of a shift team. The following is a brief description of the types of duties you would be expected to perform on the job:

  • Work Safety - of primary importance in industry is the need to perform each action in a safe and rational manner. The college and the plants provide safety training and the proper use of personal protective equipment.
  • Environmental Protection -all operators are trained to control their units to minimize environmental impact. Graduates are familiar with the laws with respect to the environment, and plants strive to perform at levels that produce emissions levels far less than the government standards.
  • Start and stop process equipment as required - this involves lining out pipe lines from source to destination, opening and closing appropriate valves, checking equipment for proper lubrication levels and other system checks, and then starting the equipment or introducing flow through the equipment
  • Routine checks on equipment -every shift there will be certain required routine readings and checks through the unit that must be performed, but operators are expected to make more frequent checks, particularly if an area of the plant requires some additional attention due to operating changes or problems. Due to the nature of process units, operators must occasionally climb ladders on towers and be capable of walking high platforms with open steel grate floors.
  • Collection of Process Samples -operators will collect liquid and vapor samples to be analyzed by the plant lab and, most often, also run some routine tests in a small lab adjacent to the control room to ensure that the products they are making are on specification.
  • Preparation of Unit Equipment for Safe Work -operators on shift are responsible to isolate the fluids and electrical streams to plant equipment and clean and flush process fluids from it so that it is safe for maintenance personnel to work on it. The operators sign a permit that verifies that the equipment is safe for work. When the work is completed, they then restore the equipment to operations as required.
  • Control Panel Operations -everyone likely has a view of what a control room with control panels looks like. The operators control the operations of the plant from this control center by making the necessary control changes on a computer keyboard, while viewing graphics of the actual process on screens. Keep in mind that for operations in the control room, operators typically must go out into the unit to open and close valves etc. to facilitate the changes and to check that things are working properly.
  • Liaison with other shifts -at the end of each shift, the operators meet briefly with the shift leaving to explain how the plant is performing, and keep continuity of information. Operators must also document all changes made in a plant log book to have written communications.

Technology, Energy & Apprenticeship
519-542-7751 ext 2436


Program Information


Back to Top