Why a Career as a Chemical Operator Should be on Your Radar: Job Outlook, Salary and Skills Needed

March 24, 2023

Becoming a chemical operator can be a rewarding and exciting career choice for those interested in working in the chemical manufacturing industry. Chemical operators play an important role in the production and quality control of various chemical products. Today, we will discuss the job outlook, salary, and skills needed to become a chemical operator.

Job Outlook: The job outlook for chemical operators is positive, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 4% growth rate from 2019-2029. This growth is attributed to the increasing demand for chemicals used in various industries such as pharmaceuticals, plastics, and agriculture. About 7,800 openings for chemical technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.As a result, there will be a need for more chemical operators to manage the production process and ensure quality control.

Salary: The average salary for a chemical operator varies depending on the location and experience of the individual. According to data from PayScale, the average salary for a chemical operator in the United States is around $22 per hour, with the top 10% earning around $31 per hour. Additionally, chemical operators may be eligible for benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and vacation time.

Top paying industries for Chemical Plant and System Operators:

IndustryEmployment (1)Percent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing3,2503.15$ 39.47$ 82,100
Waste Treatment and Disposal2700.28$ 36.67$ 76,270
Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing800.02$ 35.11$ 73,030
Chemical Manufacturing (3251, 3252, 3253, and 3259 only)13,3303.80$ 34.71$ 72,210
Nonferrous Metal (except Aluminum) Production and Processing400.08$ 31.44$ 65,400

Skills Needed: Becoming a chemical operator requires a specific set of skills and knowledge. Some of the skills needed include:

  1. Attention to Detail: Chemical operators must pay close attention to detail to ensure the quality and accuracy of the production process.
  2. Technical Skills: Chemical operators should have a strong technical background in chemistry and be familiar with the various processes involved in chemical manufacturing.
  3. Problem-Solving Skills: Chemical operators should have strong problem-solving skills to troubleshoot issues that may arise during the production process.
  4. Communication Skills: Chemical operators must be able to communicate effectively with their team members and supervisors to ensure that the production process runs smoothly.
  5. Safety Awareness: Chemical operators must be aware of safety protocols and follow them to prevent accidents and injuries.

Becoming a chemical operator can be a rewarding career choice for those interested in the chemical manufacturing industry. The job outlook is positive and the average salary is competitive. With the right education and training, individuals can easily pursue a successful career as a chemical operator.

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