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Career profile Gas Plant Operator

Also known as Compressor Station Operator, Engine Room Operator, Gas Controller, Gas Dispatcher, Gas Plant Operator, Gas System Operator, Liquefied Natural Gas Specialist (LNG Specialist), Liquefied Natural Gas Technician (LNG Technician), Liquid Natural Gas Plant Operator (LNG Plant Operator), Plant Operator

Gas Plant Operator

Also known as Compressor Station Operator, Engine Room Operator, Gas Controller

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$44,490 - $105,770 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
Knowledge Areas
  • Mechanical
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Production and Processing
Core tasks
  • Distribute or process gas for utility companies or industrial plants, using panel boards, control boards, and semi-automatic equipment.
  • Monitor equipment functioning, observe temperature, level, and flow gauges, and perform regular unit checks to ensure that all equipment is operating as it should.
  • Monitor transportation and storage of flammable and other potentially dangerous products to ensure that safety guidelines are followed.
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What does a Gas Plant Operator do?

Gas Plant Operators distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.

What kind of tasks does a Gas Plant Operator perform regularly?

Gas Plant Operators are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Monitor equipment functioning, observe temperature, level, and flow gauges, and perform regular unit checks to ensure that all equipment is operating as it should.
  • Monitor transportation and storage of flammable and other potentially dangerous products to ensure that safety guidelines are followed.
  • Control operation of compressors, scrubbers, evaporators, and refrigeration equipment to liquefy, compress, or regasify natural gas.
  • Start and shut down plant equipment.
  • Adjust temperature, pressure, vacuum, level, flow rate, or transfer of gas to maintain processes at required levels or to correct problems.
  • Record, review, and compile operations records, test results, and gauge readings such as temperatures, pressures, concentrations, and flows.
  • Clean, maintain, and repair equipment, using hand tools, or request that repair and maintenance work be performed.
  • Read logsheets to determine product demand and disposition, or to detect malfunctions.
  • Collaborate with other operators to solve unit problems.
  • Determine causes of abnormal pressure variances, and make corrective recommendations, such as installation of pipes to relieve overloading.
  • Test gas, chemicals, and air during processing to assess factors such as purity and moisture content, and to detect quality problems or gas or chemical leaks.
  • Contact maintenance crews when necessary.
  • Change charts in recording meters.

The above responsibilities are specific to Gas Plant Operators. More generally, Gas Plant Operators are involved in several broader types of activities:

Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

What is a Gas Plant Operator salary?

The median salary for a Gas Plant Operator is $72,970, and the average salary is $73,290. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Gas Plant Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Gas Plant Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Gas Plant Operators earn less than $44,490 per year, 25% earn less than $56,870, 75% earn less than $87,610, and 90% earn less than $105,770.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Gas Plant Operators is expected to change by -2.0%, and there should be roughly 1,500 open positions for Gas Plant Operators every year.

Median annual salary
$72,970
Typical salary range
$44,490 - $105,770
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-2.0%

What personality traits are common among Gas Plant Operators?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Gas Plant Operator are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Gas Plant Operators typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Gas Plant Operators typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Gas Plant Operator tend to value Support, Independence, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Gas Plant Operators very strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Gas Plant Operators moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Gas Plant Operators moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Gas Plant Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, attention to detail, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Gas Plant Operators, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

What education and training do Gas Plant Operators need?

Gas Plant Operators often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Gas Plant Operators usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Gas Plant Operators

  • 9.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 33.9% completed high school or secondary school
  • 33.7% completed some college coursework
  • 11.2% earned a Associate's degree
  • 11.1% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.6% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Gas Plant Operators

Gas Plant Operators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mechanical, public safety and security, or production and processing knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Gas Plant Operators might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Important Abilities needed by Gas Plant Operators

Gas Plant Operators must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Gas Plant Operators need abilities such as auditory attention, perceptual speed, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Gas Plant Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Auditory Attention
The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
Perceptual Speed
The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.

Critical Skills needed by Gas Plant Operators

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Gas Plant Operators frequently use skills like operations monitoring, monitoring, and operation and control to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Gas Plant Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Quality Control Analysis
Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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