Summary Report for:
51-8091.00 - Chemical Plant and System Operators
Control or operate entire chemical processes or system of machines.
Sample of reported job titles: Chemical Operator, Loader Technician, Machine Operator, Operations Technician, Operator, Process Control Operator, Process Development Associate, Process Operator, Process Technician, Production Technician
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings
- Move control settings to make necessary adjustments on equipment units affecting speeds of chemical reactions, quality, or yields.
- Monitor recording instruments, flowmeters, panel lights, or other indicators and listen for warning signals, to verify conformity of process conditions.
- Control or operate chemical processes or systems of machines, using panelboards, control boards, or semi-automatic equipment.
- Record operating data, such as process conditions, test results, or instrument readings.
- Confer with technical and supervisory personnel to report or resolve conditions affecting safety, efficiency, or product quality.
- Draw samples of products and conduct quality control tests to monitor processing and to ensure that standards are met.
- Regulate or shut down equipment during emergency situations, as directed by supervisory personnel.
- Start pumps to wash and rinse reactor vessels, to exhaust gases or vapors, to regulate the flow of oil, steam, air, or perfume to towers, or to add products to converter or blending vessels.
- Interpret chemical reactions visible through sight glasses or on television monitors and review laboratory test reports for process adjustments.
- Patrol work areas to ensure that solutions in tanks or troughs are not in danger of overflowing.
- Notify maintenance, stationary-engineering, or other auxiliary personnel to correct equipment malfunctions or to adjust power, steam, water, or air supplies.
- Inspect operating units, such as towers, soap-spray storage tanks, scrubbers, collectors, or driers to ensure that all are functioning and to maintain maximum efficiency.
- Direct workers engaged in operating machinery that regulates the flow of materials and products.
- Turn valves to regulate flow of products or byproducts through agitator tanks, storage drums, or neutralizer tanks.
- Calculate material requirements or yields according to formulas.
- Gauge tank levels, using calibrated rods.
- Repair or replace damaged equipment.
- Defrost frozen valves, using steam hoses.
- Supervise the cleaning of towers, strainers, or spray tips.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Air conditioners — Air conditioning systems
- Air dryers — Industrial dryers
- Belt conveyors
- Bucket conveyors — Bucket elevators
- Calorimeters — Recording calorimeters
- Capacitance meters — Capacitance probes
- Cathode ray tube CRT monitors — Display screens
- Centrifugal compressors
- Centrifugal pumps
- Chain conveyors
- Chemical absorption gas analyzers — Gas analyzers
- Chemical tanks — Blending vessels; Chemical reactor vessels; Converter vessels
- Collection tanks — Collectors
- Conveyor feeders
- Desktop computers
- Distillation pipings or columns or fittings — Distillation columns
- Distribution or control board fixtures — Control boards; Panel lights; Panelboards
- Evaporative coolers — Cooling towers
- Fans — Axial flow fans; Centrifugal fans; Industrial fans
- Fire extinguishers
- Flowmeters — Industrial liquid flowmeters
- Hazardous material protective apparel — Personal protective equipment
- Heating or drying equipment or accessories — Heating vessels
- Hydraulic accumulators
- Logging instruments for water wells — Calibrated rods
- Packaged water treatment systems — Effluent treatment systems
- Positive displacement pumps
- Pressure sensors — Bourdon tubes; Pressure gauges
- Processing tanks — Agitator tanks; Hoppers; Mixing tanks; Neutralizer tanks
- Radiation detectors — Radiographic detecting instruments
- Reciprocating compressors
- Reciprocating pumps
- Refrigerated tanks — Refrigeration systems
- Rotary pumps
- Screw conveyor — Screw conveyors
- Silencer sections — Silencers
- Special hoses — Steam hoses
- Steam engines — Steam turbines
- Storage tanks — Soap-spray storage tanks; Storage drums
- Surface thermometers — Digital surface thermometers
- Tension testers — Tensometers
- Thermocouple probes — Thermocouple temperature probes
- Viscosimeters — Viscometers
- Water tube boiler — Boilers
- Wet scrubbers
Technology used in this occupation:
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Detailed Work Activities
- Collect samples of materials or products for testing.
- Direct operational or production activities.
- Record operational or production data.
- Monitor instruments to ensure proper production conditions.
- Operate chemical processing or water treatment systems or equipment.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of production materials or products.
- Inspect production equipment.
- Monitor equipment fluid levels.
- Operate pumping systems or equipment.
- Replace worn equipment components.
- Notify others of equipment repair or maintenance needs.
- Test chemical or physical characteristics of materials or products.
- Confer with others to resolve production problems or equipment malfunctions.
- Analyze test results.
- Estimate material requirements for production.
- Repair production equipment or tools.
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 91% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 77% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 76% responded “Every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 68% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Contact With Others — 45% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 68% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 53% responded “Extremely important.”
- Telephone — 58% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 64% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 56% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 50% responded “Very important results.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 48% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 52% responded “Some freedom.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 53% responded “Every day.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 45% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 53% responded “40 hours.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 46% responded “Some freedom.”
- Time Pressure — 44% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 48% responded “Every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 44% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 45% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 45% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 34% responded “Extremely important.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 37% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 44% responded “Important.”
- Exposed to High Places — 37% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 46% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Degree of Automation — 58% responded “Highly automated.”
- Electronic Mail — 52% responded “Every day.”
- In an Open Vehicle or Equipment — 41% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 46% responded “About half the time.”
- Outdoors, Under Cover — 36% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 30% responded “Every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|59||High school diploma or equivalent|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: RC
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$26.88 hourly, $55,900 annual|
|Employment (2012)||38,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Decline (-3% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||14,200|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.