Distillation Operator

Run machinery that condenses water, oil, or alcohol for later use.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$21,000 – $58,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Distillation Operators do?

The process of distilling is used in many industries. It is most commonly used in the creation of alcohol and the processing of crude oil or water (removing salt from salt water, for example). Basically, the equipment and methods cause products to separate, leaving a usable, or consumable, product. Distillation Operators make a living running the machines that do this work.

Regardless of the product, your duties as a Distillation Operator involve understanding machines and what they do. For starters, you monitor the gauges and meters on each piece of equipment so that you know what’s going on inside. In this way, you’re aware of the temperature, flow, and pressure. These factors are pivotal to the success of the resulting product, so you track them and keep careful records.

In addition to watching the equipment work, you make sure it operates smoothly. That might involve playing the part of Mechanic, Inspector, or Technician. These machines are responsible for mixing, shaking, transferring, filtering, and storing your products, so you keep them clean and well maintained. If your inspection uncovers a problem that you can’t fix, you call in a Repairman to take care of it.

As a Distillation Operator, you’re also in charge of what goes into and what comes out of each vat. That means you add ingredients, make adjustments to the pumps and agitators, and gather samples for testing. With you at the controls, the product, whether it be vodka or oil, comes out in tip-top form.

Should I be a Distillation Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • Also known as: Dehydration Unit Operator, Dehydrogenation Operator, Distillation Technician

    How to become a Distillation Operator

    Most Distillation Operators have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9gibaa&chl=no+college+%2879%25%29|certificate+%288%25%29|associate%27s+%2811%25%29|bachelor%27s+%282%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,79,79
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