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Chemical Plant Operator

No Formal Qualifications On The Job Training Traineeship Year 10 Preferred

Also known as Chemical Process Operator and Petroleum and Gas Process Operator.

Chemical plant operators control the operation of chemical production equipment used in processing minerals and in manufacturing a range of products such as drugs, textiles, ammunition and plastics.

Chemical plant operators may work in production areas that are noisy, hot, dusty and, at times, contain fumes. However, the work environments are generally spacious, ventilated and well lit.

The majority of the work may be completed while standing. Shiftwork is sometimes required.

Plant operators usually work in teams and must adhere to safety regulations due to the nature of the work.

Protective equipment is supplied.


    Chemical plant operators may perform the following tasks:

  • prepare and measure raw materials
  • feed raw materials and processing agents into plant machinery
  • set controls and operate machinery
  • check instruments and equipment to ensure correct operation, and attend to any abnormal operating conditions
  • take samples for testing, test products and record process data


  • enjoy practical and manual activities
  • able to work as part of a team
  • able to follow written instructions
  • good communication and numeracy skills
  • able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • mechanical aptitude
  • good problem-solving and analytical skills
  • aptitude for working with computers
  • good hand-eye coordination

Interest Area

Manual/Practical Clerical/Administrative


Chemical and Hydrocarbon Plant Technician - controls the operation of plant machinery and equipment to produce chemical products and to extract, refine and distribute hydrocarbon and oil products. They generally work at a more senior and more technical level to operators and will often be responsible for the supervision of staff.


No Formal Qualifications On The Job Training Traineeship Year 10 Preferred

You can work as a chemical plant operator without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job.

You can also become a chemical plant operator through a traineeship in Process Plant Operations or Process Plant Technology.

Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Additional Information

    Once you are employed, you may be able to develop, and have recognised, additional skills under the Chemical, Hydrocarbons and Refining Training Package that will expand your career opportunities within this industry.


Chemical plant operators are employed in industries that produce pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, plastics, paint, explosives, industrial gases, fertilisers and cosmetics, as well as in industries that process minerals and treat waste materials. In the minerals industry they are employed in onshore and offshore oil and gas wells or rigs, in refineries and in oil storage facilities (terminals).

Employment opportunities depend on the profitability of these sectors, the price and quantity of similar chemicals imported from overseas, advancements in technology and government controls restricting the nature of by-products.

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