What does a Chemical Plant Operator do?

Operators are skilled technicians who control light or heavy machinery in various fields and use their in-depth knowledge to perform tasks including producing goods or making repairs. Operators need attention to detail and to concentrate and be precise in their work. They utilize hand-eye coordination and turn to their technical and mechanical skills to operate machinery and equipment. They use and oversee equipment needed to produce items and could be hired to produce anything from high-tech gadgets to appliances.

Operators ensure their machines perform at optimal levels and follow a regular upkeep schedule, including oiling parts, refilling dispensers, or checking calibrations. They may also perform necessary repairs, including tightening bolts. Operators inspect pieces or products the machine produces and bring issues to management’s attention immediately. They abide by workplace and governmental guidelines to reduce the chance of injury to themselves and others. Operators need a high school diploma, and on-the-job training is typical.

What responsibilities are common for Chemical Plant Operator jobs?
  • Correct problems in set-up, non-conformance, tooling and machining processes.
  • Perform maintenance and routine repairs to work related equipment.
  • Handle manufacturing operations, from raw materials to finished product packaging.
  • Assist in the training of trainee operators and operators.
  • Follow all safety rules and procedures including lock out tag out.
  • Ask for input when needed in order to make the best decisions possible.
  • Ensure that safe work practices are followed by all personnel.
  • Assist in decisions on equipment selection, purchases, and processes
  • Follow safety guidelines and utilize appropriate safety devices when perform all operations.
  • Help to direct periodic inventories of all on hand materials.
  • Inspect all equipment ensure equipment is in safe working condition.
  • Receive incoming documents, identifying and organizing documents by type.
What are the typical qualifications for Chemical Plant Operator jobs?
  • Bachelor's or Graduate's Degree in computer science, engineering, information technology, sciences or equivalent experience.
  • A leader and problem solver with a focus on continuous improvement.
  • Pays attention to detail.
  • Fluent in statistics and has sound computer literacy.
  • Spearheads decision making as needed.
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.1 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.2 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

How much does a Chemical Plant Operator make near United States?

$67,552 /yr
Total Pay

Base Pay


Additional Pay


 / yr
Most Likely Range
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Chemical Plant Operator Career Path

Learn how to become a Chemical Plant Operator, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Senior Operator
Operator IV
Chemical Plant Operator

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Chemical Plant Operator Insights

Read what Chemical Plant Operator professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Green Bay PackagingGreen Bay Packaging
Autobander Operator
Mar 17, 2023

“It was also really hard and fast paced work I felt tired at the end of the day every day.”

Allied UniversalAllied Universal
Security Operator
Nov 30, 2021

“I use to work for G4S and Allied completed their merger/buyout this October the weekly pay is good”

Chemical Operator
Jul 20, 2022

“Some plants are great to work at and others.... well... it's bad.”

Game Operator
Dec 13, 2021

“Salary was really good and they did pay for overtime as well without any issues.”

Run VT
Senior MCR Operator
Oct 5, 2021

“Staff are trained in all aspects of production and post production offering multiple opportunities for career progression and client support.”

Oryx Energies
Depot Operator
Aug 16, 2021

“Much career advancement opportunities and I think it gives people a feeling of been part of the production because everyone is involved”

Operator Assistant
Nov 10, 2022

“If your looking to buy the new raptor maybe look somewhere else cause the pay is not great.”

Angus Consulting Management LimitedAngus Consulting Management Limited
Building Operator
Jul 15, 2022

“I have nothing bad to say about them other than their salary was not the best.”

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Chemical Plant Operator Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of operators

The typical day of an operator involves maintaining, setting up, adjusting, utilizing, and repairing equipment or machinery. Operators typically specialize in a particular area, such as heavy equipment or production machinery. The operator must have an in-depth understanding of how to safely and efficiently operate their machinery or tools.

One advantage of this job is that it's relatively easy to become an operator as you can often get started with just a high school diploma. That makes it an ideal career for those who want to bypass college and get to work quickly. It is also a good job for those who are alert, quick to respond, and detail-oriented.

The average pay for operators is $67,552 a year. One of the best ways to increase your salary is by continuing education and advanced certifications. Learning to use multiple pieces of equipment or machinery increases your usefulness and value on most job sites.

Working as an operator can be dangerous, particularly when you're using heavy machinery and equipment. It's important for operators to stay vigilant on the job. Some challenges of being an operator include heavy lifting, long hours on your feet, and other strenuous physical activities.

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Chemical Plant Operator Jobs