Control Panel Operator: Job Description and Requirements for Becoming a Control Panel Operator
A Control Panel Operator typically works in a petroleum refinery and is responsible for regulating the pressure, flow, rate and temperature of the processing units. Applicants should have either a college degree or a high school diploma plus several years of work experience, on-the-job training or an apprenticeship.
Career Definition: Control Panel Operator
A Control Panel Operator, also called a process operator, is responsible for overseeing, reading, and maintaining the equipment that controls the temperature and flow of product in a petroleum refinery. Specific duties may include watching gauges, inspecting product, troubleshooting, record keeping, and preparing written documents for supervisors or safety inspectors. A Control Panel Operator may have supervisory and/or training responsibilities and may be required to rotate shift cycles or work sites.
How to Become a Control Panel Operator
Education Required for a Career in Control Panel Operation
A bachelor's degree in process operation sciences or a related field may be necessary for some positions; however, many Control Panel Operators have worked their way up to this position through apprenticeships or by taking certification courses offered through their employer. Other certifications may be needed if refrigerants, hazardous materials or certain kinds of equipment will be used by the Control Panel Operator. These requirements vary state-to-state.
Skills Required for a Career in Control Panel Operating
Excellent troubleshooting skills, a mechanical aptitude and attention to detail are needed for a successful career in Control Panel Operation. A strong background in math and science are needed, especially for job seekers who lack a college degree. The work of a Control Panel Operator can be mentally demanding due to the high levels of responsibility they are given, so the ability to manage stress is a valuable asset.
Career and Economic Outlook for Control Panel Operating
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reported the mean annual wage for refinery operators as $54,950 in 2008. The BLS lists Louisiana as the state with the highest concentration of workers in this field, while California rates as the top payer.
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