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Career and Education Opportunities for Chemical Plant Operations Technicians in Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for chemical plant operations technicians. There are currently 320 working chemical plant operations technicians in Maryland; this should shrink by 10% to about 290 working chemical plant operations technicians in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for chemical plant operations technicians are expected to shrink by about 20.6%. In general, chemical plant operations technicians control or operate an entire chemical process or system of machines.

Chemical plant operations technicians earn approximately $23 hourly or $49,440 per year on average in Maryland. Nationally they average about $25 per hour or $52,480 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Chemical and Gas, people working as chemical plant operations technicians in Maryland earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Chemical and Gas nationally.

The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a chemical plant operations technician. Chemical plant operations technicians usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a chemical plant operations technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Chemical Plant Operations Technician

Chemical Plant Operations Technician video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, chemical plant operations technicians control or operate an entire chemical process or system of machines.

Chemical plant operations technicians talk with technical and supervisory personnel to report or resolve conditions affecting safety and product quality. They also regulate or shut down equipment during emergency situations, as directed by supervisory personnel. Equally important, chemical plant operations technicians have to control or operate chemical processes or systems of machines, using panelboards, control boards, or semi-automatic equipment. They are often called upon to monitor recording instruments and other indicators, and listen for warning signals, in order to confirm conformity of process conditions. They are expected to draw samples of products, and conduct quality control tests in order to track processing, and to insure that standards are met. Finally, chemical plant operations technicians direct staff working on operating machinery that regulates the flow of materials and products.

Every day, chemical plant operations technicians are expected to be able to focus attention on specific tasks without being distracted. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for chemical plant operations technicians to turn valves to regulate flow of products or byproducts through agitator tanks or neutralizer tanks. They are often called upon to inspect operating units such as towers, soap-spray storage tanks and driers to insure that all are functioning, and to maintain maximum efficiency. They also interpret chemical reactions visible through sight glasses or on television monitors, and review laboratory test summaries for process adjustments. They are sometimes expected to patrol work areas to insure that solutions in tanks and troughs are not in danger of overflowing. Somewhat less frequently, chemical plant operations technicians are also expected to record operating data such as process conditions and instrument readings.

They also have to be able to defrost frozen valves, using steam hoses and direct staff working on operating machinery that regulates the flow of materials and products. And finally, they sometimes have to talk with technical and supervisory personnel to report or resolve conditions affecting safety and product quality.

Like many other jobs, chemical plant operations technicians must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Engraver. Engrave or etch metal, wood, or other materials for identification or decorative purposes. Includes such workers as etcher-circuit processors, pantograph engravers, and silk screen etchers.
  • Prepress Technician. Set up and prepare material for printing presses.
  • Sewage Treatment Plant Operator. Operate or control an entire process or system of machines, often through the use of control boards, to transfer or treat water or liquid waste.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Chemical Plant Operations Technician Training

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has a one to two year program in Chemical Technology/Technician.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.