There are five different classes of power engineers in Canada. A 5th class power engineer is the lowest level of certification, while a 1st class designation is considered the top level. Power engineers are trained to safely operate and maintain refrigeration equipment, generators, and any other machines dealing with thermal properties. An individual with this type of certification is trained for entry level positions, and is typically qualified to work in smaller plants or with systems used at schools and office buildings. Normal duties for a 5th level position include maintaining proper safety procedures, performing maintenance functions, and keeping accurate records.
Specifically, the fifth level is considered an entry level certification. These individuals will have training in the basics of many fields, including thermodynamics, mathematics, and mechanics. This training readies a 5th class power engineer to work at small scale operations, such as those found in schools, apartment buildings or offices.
Duties of a 5th class power engineer include the operation and maintenance of boilers. They may also deal with refrigeration units, or heating and cooling units. At times, they may be considered custodians or building managers. Duties involved in these positions may include smaller repairs and record keeping for the facility, while major repairs are typically dealt with by a power engineer with a higher level of certification.
To obtain a 5th class certification, the student must complete a course or program in power engineering. The course will contain a variety of educational courses, including those focusing on technical skills. A course in refrigeration is also required, though experience working at refrigeration plants can be an alternative to completing a formal course in this subject.
The requirements of each 5th class power engineer will vary depending on the employer. Many plants are controlled using computer systems. The engineer may be required to use the computer system to track operations, or to start and control the electrical systems. Tracking operations is considered a critical component to this position. Monitoring gauges and alarms are another task associated with the 5th class certification.
Safety is commonly an important aspect of any power engineering job. Part of the 5th class power engineer duties will include ensuring that all equipment is up to legal standards, and that operations follow the necessary safety codes and regulations. This includes safe operating procedures if the system should fail, or if equipment is inspected. Isolation of equipment and performing lockouts is often necessary for safety in the workplace.