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Career and Education Opportunities for Gas Plant Operators in Seattle, Washington

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for gas plant operators in the Seattle, Washington area. The national trend for gas plant operators sees this job pool shrinking by about 4.2% over the next eight years. In general, gas plant operators distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.

Gas plant operators earn approximately $23 hourly or $49,540 annually on average in Washington. Nationally they average about $26 per hour or $55,760 per year. Incomes for gas plant operators are not quite as good as in the overall category of Chemical and Gas in Washington, and better than the overall Chemical and Gas category nationally.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as a gas plant operator. Gas plant operators usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a gas plant operator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Gas Plant Operator

Gas Plant Operator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, gas plant operators distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.

Gas plant operators adjust temperature and/or transfer of gas to maintain processes at required levels or to fix problems. They also start and shut down plant equipment. Equally important, gas plant operators have to record and compile operations records and gauge readings such as temperatures and flows. They are often called upon to monitor equipment functioning and flow gauges, and perform regular unit checks, in order to insure that all equipment is operating as it should. They are expected to clean and repair equipment, using hand tools, or request that repair and maintenance work be performed. Finally, gas plant operators control operation of compressors and refrigeration equipment so as to liquefy or regasify natural gas.

Every day, gas plant operators are expected to be able to focus on a single sound in a noisy environment. They need to imediately see the relationships between collections of numbers, images, and patterns.

It is important for gas plant operators to test gas and air during processing to gauge factors such as purity and moisture content, and to uncover quality problems or gas or chemical leaks. They are often called upon to decide on causes of abnormal pressure variances, and make corrective recommendations, such as installation of pipes to relieve overloading. They also monitor transportation and storage of flammable and other potentially dangerous products to insure that safety guidelines are followed. They are sometimes expected to change charts in recording meters. Somewhat less frequently, gas plant operators are also expected to start and shut down plant equipment.

Gas plant operators sometimes are asked to calculate gas ratios to uncover deviations from specifications, using testing apparatus. They also have to be able to control fractioning columns and related equipment so as to extract nitrogen and oxygen from air and signal or direct staff who tend auxiliary equipment. And finally, they sometimes have to control fractioning columns and related equipment so as to extract nitrogen and oxygen from air.

Like many other jobs, gas plant operators must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle include:

  • Chemical Plant Operations Technician. Control or operate an entire chemical process or system of machines.
  • 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.
  • Power Plant Operator. Control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Includes auxiliary equipment operators.
  • 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: Gas Plant Operator Training

Bates Technical College - Tacoma, WA

Bates Technical College, 1101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405. Bates Technical College is a medium sized college located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,807 students. Bates Technical College has a less than one year program in Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties which graduated fifty-six students 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.