Is public utilities a good career path?

By: Jill Caren / Updated:

Public utilities is an excellent career path that offers amazing opportunities, good salaries, and generous benefits. Utilities jobs are offered in a range of roles, from technicians to management.

It is an industry that values skills and experience over a college education. There are many jobs available that require only a high school diploma, but higher level positions may require a Bachelor’s degree.

If you like the idea of a stable and rewarding profession, public utilities might be what you are looking for!

public utilities water treatment plant

Public utilities industries

The utilities industry offers many different types of job opportunities in various areas. Below are some of the most common utilities sector options you can find a job in.

Petroleum & Gas Industry

Whether heating or homes or fueling our cars, the petroleum and gas has many lucrative jobs. Jobs can be found in distribution, on a pipeline, or in the local government.

Electric Industry

Without electricity you would not be reading this article. The electrical industry has careers in high paying-jobs like electricians or journeyman.

Related: Is power generation a good career path?

Water Industry

The water industry is important to help us maintain a healthy supply of water. Some jobs that exist in water include water plant operator, distribution operator, or pretreatment coordinator.

Related: Is water supply a good career path?

Telecommunications Industry

Jobs in telecommunications are focused on keeping our communication lines working. Popular careers include lineman, telephone equipment installers, or cable installers.

Sewage Removal Industry

Jobs in sewage removal can be done in sewage treatment plants or outside on public sewer systems. Daily work will include collecting waste and then applying treatments to it so it can be disposed of without harming our environment.

Careers in Public Utilities

Jobs in the public utilities sector are plentiful. It would be impossible to list them all, but below are some of the more common opportunities for job-seekers.

Meter Readers / Utility Markers

These jobs will have workers in the field and often working solo, making it perfect for those that like to work alone. Meter readers will go to homes and businesses and do meter readings so they can determine how much utility usage a location has. Utility markers will go around and mark the ground to show where underground lines may be for potential construction work.

If you are curious about the utility marker path, check out our interview with Marco – a new utility marker just starting his new career!

Wind Turbine Technician

One of our top job picks in public utilities is wind turbine technician. As an emerging career in the electrical utility sector, there is an expected growth of jobs of 68% through 2030. And with median salaries of $55k, there is a good living to be made.

Many of these technicians can make over 100K annually. But, you will need to be a bit of a risk taker since these jobs can take you to some scary heights. It is a good career for those that are pretty fearless.


Electricians are always needed in so many different sectors of work, public utilities are no different. Using testing instruments you might check on the installed electrical equipment to make sure they are functioning properly. Or, you may have to help determine when new electrical updates are needed and assist in acquiring new hardware.

Plumber / Steamfitter

Plumbers, steamfitters, and other relevant professionals in the utility industries have so many options. Working with steam or water would be the two strongest options, but there is room for them in other types of trades in utilities as well.

Utility Manager

Utility managers are the people who manage staff, create budgets, and oversee the overall health and wellness of different public utility facilities like power plants. They are needed by most major utility companies, so if you have great management skills, then this is a great path to consider within the industry.

Water Treatment Plant Operator

Working in these plants means you will be on a team that cleans the community water. Keeping our drinking water and bath water safe is pretty important work. These workers will run the machinery and monitor the processes used to make our water clean to drink and use for washing and bathing.

is public utilities a good career path, wind turbine technician

Public Utilities Jobs: Pros & Cons

Public utilities has many pros and cons, below are some of the most common. These will vary a bit based on the type of job you get, location, and other variables!


  • Salary. The salaries can be very high for experienced and dedicated workers.
  • Benefits. Most jobs will offer health benefits as well as other perks including vacations, sick days, etc.
  • Job Growth. If you are dedicated and want a path to grow, these fields can offer great opportunities.
  • Security. These jobs offer long-term security ensuring you always have a paycheck coming in.


  • Injury. There is always a risk of injury, especially in the electrical sector.
  • Dirty. Some of the paths, like sewage treatment, can be pretty gross.
  • Physical. Most jobs will be very physical in nature so it is important to be in good health.
  • Environment. Working outside may be required, which means dealing with all kinds of weather.

Public Utilities Job Salaries

Jobs in public utilities can pay very well for those that are experienced.

Average annual earnings for employees in utilities is $96,782.00* as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth is also an option to increase your salary!

Public utility jobs often come with great benefits as well.

Below are a few examples of median annual salaries in a public utility career. These are pretty good salaries for people who may not have a high school diploma.

  • Power plant operators: $83,740
  • Gas plant operators: $77,850
  • Water treatment careers: $52,320 

Utilities workers are considered an essential service, so you can feel pretty good that the opportunities and average salary ranges will remain strong.

Jill Caren
Jill Caren
View all posts by Jill Caren

Jill Caren is a self-taught web developer and SEO strategist with a passion for helping kids figure out a career plan. As a "lost" teen who found her way later in life, she hopes to help other teens know the many options that are out there for them! Jill can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.