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Career and Education Opportunities for Petroleum Refinery Workers in Charleston, South Carolina

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for petroleum refinery workers in the Charleston, South Carolina area. The national trend for petroleum refinery workers sees this job pool shrinking by about 15.2% over the next eight years. In general, petroleum refinery workers control the operation of petroleum refining or processing units.

The average wage in the general category of Chemical and Gas jobs is $21 per hour or $42,750 per year in South Carolina, and an average of $24 per hour or $48,882 per year nationwide.

The Charleston area is home to fourteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can get a degree as a petroleum refinery worker. The most common level of education for petroleum refinery workers is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn to be a petroleum refinery worker if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Petroleum Refinery Worker

Petroleum Refinery Worker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, petroleum refinery workers control the operation of petroleum refining or processing units. They also may specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.

Petroleum refinery workers signal other staff by telephone or radio to operate pumps, open and close valves, and check temperatures. They also verify that incoming and outgoing products are moving through the correct meters, and that meters are working properly. Equally important, petroleum refinery workers have to maintain and repair equipment, or report malfunctioning apparatus to supervisors so that repairs can be scheduled. They are often called upon to start pumps and open valves or use automated apparatus to regulate the flow of oil in pipelines and into and out of tanks. They are expected to formulate movement of products through lines to processing and shipping units, utilizing knowledge of system interconnections and capacities. Finally, petroleum refinery workers record and compile operating data and results of laboratory analyses.

Every day, petroleum refinery workers are expected to be able to imediately see the relationships between collections of numbers, images, and patterns. They need to evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for petroleum refinery workers to patrol units to track the amount of oil in storage tanks, and to confirm that efforts and operations are safe and in adherence to regulations. They are often called upon to operate auxiliary equipment and control multiple processing units during distilling or treating operations, moving controls that regulate valves and auxiliary equipment. They also operate control panels to schedule and regulate process variables such as temperature and pressure, and to direct product flow rate, in line with process schedules. They are sometimes expected to control or operate manifold and pumping systems to circulate liquids through a petroleum refinery. Somewhat less frequently, petroleum refinery workers are also expected to control or operate manifold and pumping systems to circulate liquids through a petroleum refinery.

They also have to be able to collect product samples by turning bleeder valves, or by lowering containers into tanks to obtain oil samples and lower thermometers into tanks to obtain temperature readings. And finally, they sometimes have to direct shutdowns and major projects.

Like many other jobs, petroleum refinery workers must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Charleston include:

  • Gas Plant Operator. Distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.
  • Power Plant Operator. Control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Includes auxiliary equipment operators.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Petroleum Refinery Worker Training

Trident Technical College - Charleston, SC

Trident Technical College, 7000 Rivers Avenue, Charleston, SC 29423-8067. Trident Technical College is a large college located in Charleston, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,758 students. Trident Technical College has an associate's degree program in Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties which graduated one student in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

API 510 Pressure Vessels Inspector Certification: The American Petroleum Institute (API) initiated a Pressure Vessel Inspector Certification Program to improve management control of process unit operation, repair, and maintenance; reduce the potential for inspection delays resulting from regulatory requirements; and provide a continued high level of safety.

For more information, see the American Petroleum Institute website.

API 570 Piping Inspector Certification : The American Petroleum Institute (API) initiated the Piping Inspector Certification Program (PICP) to provide a continued high level of safety through the use of inspectors specialized in process piping; to improve management control of process unit inspection, repair, alteration and rerating; and to reduce the potential for.

For more information, see the American Petroleum Institute website.

API 653 Aboveground Storage Tanks Inspector Certification : The American Petroleum Institute (API) initiated an Aboveground Storage Tank Inspector Certification Program with the issuance of Supplement 1 to API 653, Tank Inspection, Repair, Alteration, and Reconstruction.

For more information, see the American Petroleum Institute website.

API 936 Refractory Personnel Certification : Refractory Personnel Certification Program is based on testing candidates' knowledge of API Recommended Practice 936, Refractory Installation Quality Control Guidelines.

For more information, see the American Petroleum Institute website.

API TES Tank Entry Supervisor Certification : This third-party certification program qualifies participants as having the minimum knowledge, experience and skills needed to safely perform duties required by tank entry supervisors.

For more information, see the American Petroleum Institute website.

UT Shear Wave (Detection) Qualification Certification : The API Subcommittee on Inspection (SCI) has initiated a new program covering the qualification of ultrasonic (UT) technicians conducting inspections.

For more information, see the American Petroleum Institute website.

Standard Journeyman Mechanical: The International Code Council's National Contractor Trades Examination Program is an independent testing program designed to provide licensing agencies with information regarding.

For more information, see the International Code Council website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina photo by AudeVivere

Charleston is situated in Charleston County, South Carolina. It has a population of over 111,978, which has grown by 15.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston cost $157,600 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, five hundred eight new homes were built in Charleston, down from eight hundred seventy-eight the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 37.5% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 10.5%, which is less than South Carolina's average of 12.0%.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 42.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Plymouth Congregational Church, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Charleston is home to the United State Department of Agriculture and the The Center as well as Harmon Field and Stoney Field. Shopping malls in the area include Church Creek Plaza Shopping Center, Citadel Mall Shopping Center and South Windermere Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from French Quarter Inn, Fulton Lane Inn and Budget Inn for temporary stays in the area.