Plant Operator

Monitor and maintain machines used in refineries and industrial plants.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$36,000 – $73,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Plant Operators do?

Plant Operators monitor and maintain the equipment at oil refineries, chemical plants, power plants, and other facilities that handle nuclear, chemical, or industrial materials. If you’re a Plant Operator, you might specialize in one piece of equipment or one part of the production process. Or you might move around, essentially following the product from start to finish.

It’s your job as a Plant Operator to understand all parts of the process so that you can make sure the equipment does its job. You might collect and test samples so that you know what adjustments need to be made. You might also flex your supervisory muscles as you oversee the work of Contractors or other staff in the facility.

Commonly, you work in a control room where you operate a specific piece of machinery. Examples include boilers, turbines, generators, and machines that add or mix ingredients. You make sure the machines function properly by observing the temperature, output, flow rate, pressure, and other measurements.

Although not physically demanding, the job requires that you keep your eyes peeled for any sign of a problem. The products you work with can be chemically unstable or dangerous, and can have undesirable consequences if you’re exposed to them. So you painstakingly follow safety protocol, and keep up to date on the proper procedures in case of a spill.

Should I be a Plant Operator?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Chlorine-Plant Operator, High Pressure Operator, Nitric Acid Plant Operator

    How to become a Plant Operator

    Plant Operators often have a Certificate or higher. Chart?chd=s:9nsjaa&chl=no+college+%2860%25%29|certificate+%2813%25%29|associate%27s+%2818%25%29|bachelor%27s+%289%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,60,60
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