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Career and Education Opportunities for Chemical Plant Operations Technicians in St. Louis, Missouri

Chemical plant operations technicians can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the St. Louis, Missouri area. 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 about $21 per hour or $43,810 per year on average in Missouri and about $25 per hour or $52,480 annually on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Chemical and Gas, people working as chemical plant operations technicians in Missouri earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Chemical and Gas nationally.

The St. Louis area is home to seventy-one schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of St. Louis 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 it will take only a short time to learn to be 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 St. Louis 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.
  • Prepress Technician. Set up and prepare material for printing presses.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Chemical Plant Operations Technician Training

Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley - Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley, 3400 Pershall Rd, Saint Louis, MO 63135. Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley is a medium sized college located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,515 students. Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Chemical Technology/Technician which graduated zero and seven students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri photo by Dschwen

St. Louis is located in St. Louis City County, Missouri. It has a population of over 354,361, which has grown by 1.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in St. Louis, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in St. Louis are priced at $111,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-seven new homes were built in St. Louis, down from two hundred sixty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in St. Louis are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 19.1% of St. Louis residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in St. Louis is 10.9%, which is greater than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

Nativity of Our Lord Church, Church of the Good Shepard and Church of the Holy Communion are among the churches located in St. Louis.

St. Louis is home to the Terminal Railroad Association Building and the Memorial Home as well as Washington Park and Willmore Park. Shopping malls in the area include Hampton Village Shopping Center and Loughborough Shopping Center.