Process Technicians: A Bright Future

 In Petrochemical Careers

One of the most crucial jobs at a chemical plant or oil refinery is a process technician, who monitors and maintains the manufacturing process that makes chemicals, fuels and plastics.

People in the Baby Boomer generation have long occupied process technician positions. With many Baby Boomers retiring from the workforce, though, there is a shortage of process technicians – particularly in the flourishing petrochemical sector. The demand for process technicians and operators who can help ensure that products and processes are safe has become even more critical. The job outlook is bright for process technicians and operators. In Texas, the overall salary potential for process technicians and operators ranges from $42,000 to $75,000.

The process technology field may appeal to you if you possess or want to develop both strong problem-solving and communication skills. You must also have a good foundation in both math and science. A process technology program will prepare you for a successful career as a process technician or operator in several industries, including petrochemical and oil and gas.

Industrial Machinery Mechanics in DemandProcess Technician Degree - TGCCCC

An industrial machinery mechanic repairs, installs, adjusts, or maintains industrial production and processing machinery or refinery and pipeline distribution systems, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In May 2012, the national median salary was $45,840 for industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers.Within the process technology field, an especially high demand exists for industrial machinery mechanics.  Employment of industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers is forecasted to grow by 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the average for all jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Generally speaking, a process technician monitors and controls various changes such as chemical fluctuations throughout different processes to manufacture a product derived from raw materials.  A process technician or operator performs the following:

  • compiles information using technology or instruments that check conditions such as pressure and temperature
  • oversees and troubleshoots equipment used in various processes
  • operates equipment to help keep plants or facilities running both safely and efficiently
  • assigns repair jobs to the appropriate departments
  • maintains a safe workplace
  • trains staff members
  • develops procedures

A process technician or operator has the opportunity to work in both indoor and outdoor settings. They work with various professionals such as engineers and maintenance staff.

Opportunities in the Process Technology FieldProcess Technician - TGCCCC

Local and international employment opportunities are also currently available for process technicians in other industries such as food and beverage, power generation, and pharmaceuticals.

In the future, it is anticipated that process technicians will take on duties that are normally handled by other professionals such as engineers. Therefore, students will need to acquire specialized degrees such as an associate’s degree in process technology that will provide instruction in areas such as physics and engineering principles. Strong technical and problem solving skills will be even more essential for process technicians.

If you value a mentally challenging job with much responsibility and where you can have a daily impact on the company’s performance, then the process technology field may be suited for you. The member colleges of TGCCCC have rigorous process technology programs that will provide you with the proper training and skills to achieve your career goals.