Gas Compressor Operator: Job Description, Outlook and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a gas compressor operator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and occupational outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

Gas compressor operators work in the oil and gas industry, using equipment to compress gases, and may be responsible for maintaining equipment. This job requires keeping records of readings, collecting samples, and driving. A high school diploma or the equivalent, supplemented by on-the-job training, is the usual requirement.

Essential Information

Gas compressor operators work with gas compression equipment to transfer, compress and recover different types of gases. They are often responsible for maintaining, troubleshooting, repairing and operating compressors. This occupation doesn't have significant education requirements; gas compressor operators typically learn what they need to know through on-the-job training.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Projected Job Growth -3% (2014-2024)*
Median Salary $58,350 annually (2015)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET Online

Gas Compressor Operator Job Description

Gas compressor operators follow a schedule provided by petroleum engineers or production supervisors to operate compressor engines, pumps and auxiliary equipment in a way that allows for appropriate flows of gas. They are responsible for adjusting controls and valves, regulating pressures and monitoring meters. Gas compressor operators keep records of meter and gauge readings to determine the temperature, amounts of gas received and dispensed, pressure and consumption rate variations. They may also collect gas samples for laboratory testing.

Gas Compressor Operator Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 3% decline in employment for gas compressor and gas pumping station operators during the 2014-2024 decade. While around 16,700 people were employed in the field in 2014, the decline is expected to result in a loss of 600 jobs by 2024.

Gas Compressor Operator Requirements

Most gas compressor operators do not have formal education credentials beyond a high school diploma or its equivalent. Most of the skills needed for this type of work can be learned on the job from supervisors and other experienced workers. However, employers often require that job candidates have basic arithmetic, writing and computer skills, as well as customer service and teamwork skills.

In addition, some positions may require driving, and employees may need a valid state driver's license and good driving record. Gas compressor operators should be physically fit since they may be required to spend a lot of time standing, walking, climbing, squatting and performing heavy lifting. They may also be required to work outdoors in undesirable conditions, such as extreme temperatures, confined areas and heights. Individuals may also be exposed to hazardous substances, including natural gas, liquid hydrocarbons, methanol and solvents.

Gas compressor operators typically learn how to use and maintain equipment, keep records and follow their schedules through on-the-job training. A high school degree is typically the minimum education requirement. Job outlook for this field is predicted to decline over the next ten years.

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