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How Do I Become a Plant Operator?

By Jessica F. Black
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are many types of locations that employ operators, and the requirements to become a plant operator will differ depending on the particular field that you choose as a profession. Several types of plants that you should consider may include chemical, power, gas, or water plants, and you will need to research the various eligibility guidelines for each type. Although most of these positions do not require a college degree, you may increase your chances to become a plant operator by taking subject related courses at a university. A degree could broaden job opportunities and increase starting salaries.

You should search for universities, technical schools, or community colleges that offer courses in your particular field. General courses for most of these types of plant operators may include physics, chemistry, advanced mathematics, and computer sciences. Water plants may require additional coursework in filtration and water system technology. Some schools may offer an associate's degree in technical studies with a focus on your particular field of expertise.

Another route you can take to become a plant operator is to find a training program that offers courses for certification. Most locations may require you to have a license to become a plant operator, and some potential employees enroll in programs that prepare them for the necessary examinations that are needed to receive appropriate licensing. These programs cover topics such as control systems, system maintenance, hazardous materials, and other various technology system courses.

During the educational process, you can benefit by applying to entry level jobs in the plant industry. There are a number of jobs in plants that do not require certification or a degree that will help you gain the experience that can prepare you to become a plant operator. A part time position in a plant will allow you observe the intricacies of the business and participate in operations. Employers prefer future candidates to have a background in an operations related field, especially in a plant.

Some additional traits that you may need to successfully become a plant operator including analytical thinking, technical writing, problem assessment, and organization skills. Most plants have rotating shifts that may include late nights and weekends, and you should be prepared for a flexible work schedule when entering this profession. This is a relatively well paying career, and there is usually room for advancement. Due to the various types of plants, there is also an abundance of employment opportunities in this field.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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