Chemical Plant and System Operators: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Chemical Plant and System Operators control or operate entire chemical processes or system of machines.

  • Monitor recording instruments, flowmeters, panel lights, or other indicators and listen for warning signals to verify conformity of process conditions.
  • Regulate or shut down equipment during emergency situations, as directed by supervisory personnel.
  • Control or operate chemical processes or systems of machines, using panelboards, control boards, or semi-automatic equipment.
  • Move control settings to make necessary adjustments on equipment units affecting speeds of chemical reactions, quality, or yields.
Read more about what does a Chemical Plant and System Operator really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$61570 per year

Average hourly wage
$30 per hour

Chemical Plant Operators with little to no experience tend to make between $34830 and $46450 while the more experienced ones can earn over $76630 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
WY $35 $72,950
TX $33 $69,010
AL $33 $68,800
LA $33 $68,150
IL $32 $66,700

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Chemical Plant and System Operator is to move to a higher paying state like WY. Right now, the highest paying states for Chemical Plant Operators are WY, TX, AL, LA and IL.

However, a higher pay at WY doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at WY might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Chemical Plant and System Operator is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
No degree required

We asked other Chemical Plant Operators what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a High School Diploma followed by a Bachelor’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Chemical Technology/Technician
Chemical Process Technology
Read more about how to become a Chemical Plant and System Operator and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Chemical Plant and System Operator.

Suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
Suitable for people who wants to work in a supportive work environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work both indoors and outdoors.
It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Normal working hours (40 hours per week)
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Demand for this career is declining

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

57% of Chemical Plant Operators said they were satisfied with their job and 43% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Builders and The Organizers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery..

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Learn more about Chemical Plant Operators

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