What Do Plant and System Operators Do?
As you start considering what careers you are interested in, you have to do a bit of research to find out what each one is about. A plant and system operator can have a variety of tasks depending on which industry they are in. They could work in chemical plants, waste and water treatment plants, power plants and many other types of industries. They will generally prepare, run and monitor the different systems.Across the United States, this type of occupation is expected to increase by 1%. That could result in 450 annual job openings.
Plant and System Operators Skills and Abilities
Operating these types of systems does take certain skills and abilities. You have to have a technical knowledge of mechanics and processing in order to be able to monitor the machine activity. You have to have an eye for quality control and the ability to think critically. In certain cases, it is also important that you are able to work as a team. You may have to be able to understand blueprints, repair machines and arrange information.
Plant and System Operators Duties
Your duties will depend on the type of institution you work for. But generally a plant and system operator has to monitor both input and output to ensure that everything in the system is working correctly. If a problem does arise, you will have to either fix it yourself or call in a mechanic to fix bigger problems. More than likely, you will have to keep records of what you do so that your supervisor can review your work. You will also have to measure the performance of the machines by keeping track of input and output. You may have to operate certain valves, engines, generators and pumps to keep everything running smoothly.
Plant and System Operators Tools and Technology
Again, there will be specific tools and technology based on the industry you are in. For example, a plant and system operator that works in a biofuel environment will have to be familiar with emissions monitoring systems while someone in a hydroelectric environment will not. Generally, you will have to be familiar with spreadsheet software, analytical software, inventory management software and industrial control software to help you keep accurate records.
Education and Training for Plant and System Operators
This type of occupation does take a certain technical knowhow, but most employers aren’t looking for a college degree. Generally, all you have to have is a high school diploma to become a plant and system operator. That being said, you will have to go through a lot of on the job training in order to become familiar with company policies, safety procedures, normal input and output rates and other small nuances. You should also expect to undergo retraining in order to become familiar with any new technology introduced to the plant. If you do pursue a college education, you should take courses like:
- Water Quality Management
- Safety Procedures
Plant and System Operators Salary
Because there are so many different industries that a plant and system operator can work in the salary spectrum is wide. You can expect to make anywhere from $32,100 to $76,100. Your salary will depend on the industry you work in, the company you work for, your experience, the education that you have and where you live. The average plant and system operator makes $55,200.
Plant and System Operators Jobs by Geography
As you research careers, you will come to realize that geography is a big factor of salary and job availability. Sure the average salary in the United States is $55,200, but in states like Alaska, Alabama and Tennessee it is around $72,000. Before you can even worry about salary, you have to think about getting a job. There are supposed to be more available jobs in the industry in Montana, Arizona and Louisiana. Researching careers means understanding what is expected of you and what factors affect your success in a certain field.