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Career and Education Opportunities for Chemical Plant Operations Technicians in Detroit, Michigan

If you want to be a chemical plant operations technician, the Detroit, Michigan area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. The national trend for chemical plant operations technicians sees this job pool shrinking by about 20.6% over the next eight years. Chemical plant operations technicians generally control or operate an entire chemical process or system of machines.

Chemical plant operations technicians earn approximately $25 hourly or $52,890 per year on average in Michigan. Nationally they average about $25 hourly or $52,480 per year. Earnings for chemical plant operations technicians are better than earnings in the general category of Chemical and Gas in Michigan and better than general Chemical and Gas category earnings nationally.

The Detroit area is home to seventy-three schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Detroit where you can get a degree as a chemical plant operations technician. Given that the most common education level for chemical plant operations technicians is a high school diploma or GED, 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 Detroit include:

  • Gas Plant Operator. Distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.
  • 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.
  • Photographic Processing Machine Operator. Operate photographic processing machines, such as photographic printing machines, film developing machines, and mounting presses.
  • Prepress Technician. Set up and prepare material for printing presses.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Chemical Plant Operations Technician Training

Lawrence Technological University - Southfield, MI

Lawrence Technological University, 21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075-1058. Lawrence Technological University is a small university located in Southfield, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,318 students and an admission rate of 60%. Lawrence Technological University has an associate's degree program in Chemical Technology/Technician.


Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan photo by Durova

Detroit is located in Wayne County, Michigan. It has a population of over 912,062, which has shrunk by 4.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Detroit, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Detroit are priced at $108,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, eighty-five new homes were built in Detroit, down from one hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Detroit are health care, educational services, and transportation equipment. For men, it is transportation equipment, construction, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 11.0% of Detroit residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Detroit is 27.0%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Detroit residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.7%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Detroit is home to the Memorial Park Marina and the Detroit Golf Club as well as Chene Park and Mallett Playground. Visitors to Detroit can choose from Corktown Inn, Clark's Motel and Days Inn of Downtown Detroit for temporary stays in the area.