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Career and Education Opportunities for Chemical Plant Operations Technicians in Seattle, Washington

Chemical plant operations technician career and educational opportunities abound in Seattle, Washington. About 300 people are currently employed as chemical plant operations technicians in Washington. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 7% to about 320 people employed. 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.

A person working as a chemical plant operations technician can expect to earn about $23 per hour or $49,300 yearly on average in Washington and about $25 per hour or $52,480 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Chemical plant operations technicians earn less than people working in the category of Chemical and Gas generally in Washington and more than people in the Chemical and Gas category nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can study to be a chemical plant operations technician, among sixty-five schools of higher education total in the Seattle area. 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 Seattle 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.
  • 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

Lake Washington Technical College - Kirkland, WA

Lake Washington Technical College, 11605 132nd Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034-8506. Lake Washington Technical College is a small college located in Kirkland, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,010 students. Lake Washington Technical College has an associate's degree program in Chemical Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.