Gas Plant Operator: Job & Career Info

Find out what gas plant operators do and see how you can become one. Get information about the career prospects and earning potential of gas plant operators to see if this is the right job for you.

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Career Definition for a Gas Plant Operator

Gas plant operators help to supervise and control the storage and distribution of natural gas. Common duties of gas plant operators include monitoring equipment; observing temperature, pressure, level, and flow gauges; controlling compressor, evaporator, scrubber, and refrigeration equipment; cleaning, maintaining, and repairing equipment; recording data; and other duties as assigned. A key duty of gas plant operators is to ensure the safety of equipment and personnel on site.

Education High school diploma or GED; associate's degree helpful
Job Skills Math, chemistry, and communication skills; familiar with office applications and safety protocols
Median Salary (2015)* $66,010
Job Growth (2014-2024)* -3%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

To start a career in plant operations, you'll need a minimum of a high school diploma or the GED equivalent. Although much training in this industry is done on the job, education from a 1- or 2-year technical or vocational school will make you more competitive for a position as a gas plant operator. Courses that will help prepare you for a career as a gas plant operator include basic office applications, physics, chemistry, mechanical equipment, and communications.

Skill Requirements

For a career in plant operations, you'll need math, chemistry, and communications skills. Familiarity with common office applications and safety protocols will also be needed for a career as a gas plant operator.

Economic and Employment Outlook

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),, employment of gas plant operators will decline by 3% from 2014-2024. Although the number of positions will decrease, many people currently employed in the workforce are nearing retirement age, so there are expected to be many openings in the field in the coming decade. Median annual earnings for this sector in 2015 were $66,010, according to the BLS.

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Alternate Career Options

Similar careers to a gas plant operator include:

Power Plant Operator

Power plant operators oversee the production of electricity; they manage the performance and output of the generators. Aspiring power plant operators may need to take the Power Plant Maintenance (MASS) and Plant Operator (POSS) aptitude tests prior to employment. A minimum of a high school diploma is required, and a college degree is often preferred; new hires undergo a significant amount of training. Depending on the job and the assigned responsibilities, licensing and certification requirements may apply. The BLS anticipates that jobs for power plant operators will decline by 6% from 2014-2024; it also reports that power plant operators earned median pay of $75,660 in 2015.

Water Treatment Plant and System Operator

Water treatment plant and system operators manage the operation of systems that prepare pumped in freshwater for delivery to commercial and residential customers. They take steps to disinfect and purify water, test samples, measure incoming and outgoing water levels, and make sure that Environmental Protection Agency standards are upheld. It's possible to get a job with a high school diploma, but employers sometimes prefer to hire candidates with a relevant certificate or associate's degree. Extensive on-the-job training is required, as is state licensing. This occupation is expected to expand 6% from 2014-2024, per the BLS. The BLS also reports that water treatment plant and system operators earned median pay of $44,790 in 2015.

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