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Career and Education Opportunities for Gas Plant Operators in Chicago, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for gas plant operators in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 780 working gas plant operators in Illinois; this should shrink by 10% to 710 working gas plant operators in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for gas plant operators are expected to shrink by about 4.2%. Gas plant operators generally distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.

Gas plant operators earn about $26 per hour or $54,420 yearly on average in Illinois and about $26 hourly or $55,760 yearly on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Chemical and Gas, people working as gas plant operators in Illinois earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Chemical and Gas nationally.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including one within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as a gas plant operator. Gas plant operators usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a gas plant operator if you already have a high school diploma.


Gas Plant Operator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, gas plant operators distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.

Gas plant operators adjust temperature and/or transfer of gas to maintain processes at required levels or to fix problems. They also start and shut down plant equipment. Equally important, gas plant operators have to record and compile operations records and gauge readings such as temperatures and flows. They are often called upon to monitor equipment functioning and flow gauges, and perform regular unit checks, in order to insure that all equipment is operating as it should. They are expected to clean and repair equipment, using hand tools, or request that repair and maintenance work be performed. Finally, gas plant operators control operation of compressors and refrigeration equipment so as to liquefy or regasify natural gas.

Every day, gas plant operators are expected to be able to focus on a single sound in a noisy environment. They need to imediately see the relationships between collections of numbers, images, and patterns.

It is important for gas plant operators to test gas and air during processing to gauge factors such as purity and moisture content, and to uncover quality problems or gas or chemical leaks. They are often called upon to decide on causes of abnormal pressure variances, and make corrective recommendations, such as installation of pipes to relieve overloading. They also monitor transportation and storage of flammable and other potentially dangerous products to insure that safety guidelines are followed. They are sometimes expected to change charts in recording meters. Somewhat less frequently, gas plant operators are also expected to start and shut down plant equipment.

Gas plant operators sometimes are asked to calculate gas ratios to uncover deviations from specifications, using testing apparatus. They also have to be able to control fractioning columns and related equipment so as to extract nitrogen and oxygen from air and signal or direct staff who tend auxiliary equipment. And finally, they sometimes have to control fractioning columns and related equipment so as to extract nitrogen and oxygen from air.

Like many other jobs, gas plant operators must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Chemical Plant Operations Technician. Control or operate an entire chemical process or system of machines.
  • Petroleum Refinery Worker. Control the operation of petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.
  • Power Plant Operator. Control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Includes auxiliary equipment operators.


Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties which graduated ten and nine students respectively in 2008.


Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.