Process Operator Job Description

Process Operators oversee and manage the full production process of a manufacturing plant or other industrial facility. They monitor equipment to ensure the quality, efficiency and safety of the plant. They are also responsible for the safe operation, basic maintenance, and troubleshooting of the facility’s equipment and instruments. Process Operators are skilled professionals who often work as part of a team and provide leadership.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track employment of Process Operators specifically, but does project strong employment growth for industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers and millwrights, which are similar jobs to process operators. Jobs in this sector are projected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024.

 

Process Operator Duties and Responsibilities 

To accomplish their primary goal of overseeing the production of industrial manufacturing, Process Operators perform many tasks. We analyzed several job listings to identify these core Process Operator duties and responsibilities.

Operate Plant Machinery

Process Operators program and operate the facility’s computer system that operates the machinery. They use the system to start up the plant, shut it down and run the production of material.

Monitor Equipment

Process Operators conduct continuous inspections of all key process points in the facility, to identify anything abnormal. If an issue is identified, they make necessary machinery and equipment adjustments and implement the proper response, including notifying supervisors.

Ensure Quality

Process Operators ensure that the products being produced under their supervision meet all specifications. They may gather samples for laboratory analysis, and perform quality control analyses.

Maintain Records

Process Operators are responsible for maintaining detailed reports of operations. They update process logbooks with activities and process adjustments made, noting any issues they encountered and measures taken.

 

Process Operator Skills

Detail-oriented with proficiency for accuracy, successful Process Operators use reason and logic to solve mechanical and chemical problems. They are dependable and persistent, and work well as part of a team. In addition to these general skills and personality traits, employers are seeking Process Operators candidates with the following skills.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Process Operators with these core skills. If you want to work as Process Operator, focus on the following.

  • Good mechanical aptitude and equipment troubleshooting abilities
  • Basic math skills and the ability to compute decimals and percentages
  • Basic computer skills
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule, including nights and weekends
  • Previous manufacturing experience
  • Able to lift, use tools, shovel, sweep, load & unload, and carry materials up to 50 pounds

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Process Operator toolbox and broaden your career options.

  • Work experience in chemical, pharmaceutical or similar industry
  • Ability to pass and attain Fork truck certification.
  • Ability to service and build manufacturing equipment

 

Process Operator Resources

We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a Process Operator. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect and engage.

On the Web

Industrial Chemicals Blog – Learn about leading innovators in the chemical industry.

Chem Ideas – Follow the key issues affecting the global chemicals industry.

Process Operator Training – Offers training for the safe, incident free startup and operation of plant facilities.

On LinkedIn

Pre-Commissioning, Commissioning & Initial Operations Oil & Gas-Refinery-Petrochemical – A group to network with Process Operators in the Oil & Gas industry.

Plant Reliability & Maintenance Professionals – PRMP – A group with over 35,000 professionals working in plant processes and reliability.

Process Operator Books

Process Operations – A reference for both theory and application of process operations.

Process Technology Plant Operations – This book examines Process Operator responsibilities and functions, from recognizing opportunities that improve process operations, to detecting and removing threats to operations.

 

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