Process Technology

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Chris in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

70 months ago

I am currently in school, working toward a PTEC degree. I have a few questions.

I know it varies, but, typically, what is the average starting pay, for a process technician. What does pay typically top off at, or does it top off? Are there specific pay scales, or do you receive a percentage pay raise, every year. If someone starts at $22/hr, what would they typically be making 5 years, 10 years, 20 years later?

I've seen some great salaries posted by process technicians. I've heard, on more than one occassion, of guys pulling in $90-$100K+. I'm wondering -- to pull in that kind of money, does it require constant over-time?

Just trying to get a gouge og pay. I've done research, and it all points to this being a great paying career, but most of the pay refers to starting pay, and doesn't mention expectations, beyong that. Such as, once you've been a process technician for 5-10+ years, etc.

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Chris in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

70 months ago

operator in Destrehan, Louisiana said: average starting pay is 22 dollars a hour, but also oil companies pay more then chemical companies, it tops off at around 33 dollars a hour, pay raise is you usually get a raise after 6 months, then year, then two years, I made 50 grand last year and didnt work any overtime with just startng out as a operator,

Thanks for the reply. I'm looking forward to starting in the field. As for over-time; is overtime typically available, for those who want it? What type of schedule do you typically work?

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operator in Chicago, Illinois

67 months ago

Starting pay is typically $23/hr where I am...top pay is $34 and chief pay (head of unit) is $36/hr. I work a 2-3-2 schedule and overtime is common if you want it. This is my 3rd year and by the end of May I had made $57k. I'm guessing I will make $130-135 this year. I had no experience or special training prior to the position, however I did have an Associates degree and 5yrs in the Navy. I'm sure that helped.

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jim in Beaumont, Texas

60 months ago

operator in Destrehan, Louisiana said: average starting pay is 22 dollars a hour, but also oil companies pay more then chemical companies, it tops off at around 33 dollars a hour, pay raise is you usually get a raise after 6 months, then year, then two years, I made 50 grand last year and didnt work any overtime with just startng out as a operator,

can seem to get a job without experience ant tips would help thanks

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bcorley

60 months ago

jim in Beaumont, Texas said: can seem to get a job without experience ant tips would help thanks

I understand.. do you have the process degree? I graduated in may and no luck so far.. I'm in nederland so I'm in the same boat you are.. Best advice I can give is to apply every chance you get.. most of my applications and testing were for Houston companies.. The golden triangle is hurting right now... Especially with all the cutbacks on expansions but motiva is still full speed ahead with there's so hopefully it will turn around this year and some more people will retire that couldn't in 08 and 09

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WaKaMolay in Houston, Texas

60 months ago

jim in Beaumont, Texas said: can seem to get a job without experience ant tips would help thanks

Tip for interview? Tell them this......

Interviewer: "Do you have any experience?"

You: "No, sir, I have no experience but I'm a big fan of money. I like it, I use it, I have a little. I keep it in a jar on top of my refrigerator. I'd like to put more in that jar. That's where you come in.

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2chase3 in League City, Texas

56 months ago

Will be finishing my degree in the spring of next year..I will apply for those that I can but will not hold my breath..wasn't the long term goal anyway..Being in a unique position where I won't starve..I will tranfer to UofH clearlake and continue on my BA in Petroleum Eng. Thats where the cash is...well until we run out of oil...lol

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operator82 in Houston, Texas

55 months ago

You can make as money as you want as long as there is overtime. My 1st year in the business I made 88k and I hardly worked. The more you work the more you make. Its not hard to make 100k ,but you'll never be off from work.

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Charles Spooner II in Sorrento, Louisiana

54 months ago

Does anyone has any insight about offshore process operator jobs,pay etc.?

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john in Port Neches, Texas

54 months ago

Besides liking the money,do any process operators hate the erattic work schedules rotating from nights and days?Are there any PTEC jobs where you work only days or only nights?

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John in Port Arthur, Texas

53 months ago

how much do the unit operations engineer make compared to the process operator?

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m57 in Port Neches, Texas

51 months ago

i am 45 years old female and would like a career change in this industry as a process operator...is it too late for me at my age of getting hired..rumor they only hire young for the long haul...please experience process operators give me some feedback...want to start in spring for certificate.

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operator82 in Beaumont, Texas

51 months ago

m57 it all depends on you and how you present yourself. age has nothing to do with getting hired. also forget getting the certificate you need the degree if you don't have experience. no one hires with just the certificate. also look into getting an internship somewhere.

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syrinx2012 in Houston, Texas

51 months ago

I beg to differ. Of course most plants would prefer the degree over the certificate, but the certificate is enough for some plants. I know several fellow students that were hired recently with just the certificate and no experience (actually they don't have it until December). If you can get the degree, get it. If you can only get the certificate, then get that. There are going to be many openings in the next few years as many operators have reached retirement age and are ready to retire, but can't because of the economy. But then again, who knows when that will improve?

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wbray in Houston, Texas

51 months ago

Operator82 a degree is not necessary although it surely wouldn't hurt your chances. I only have a certificate and hired in with "zero" experience to a very large well known refining and chemical company, so that kinda blows the whole degree theory out the window. I have seen several "new hires" come in to our refinery that are around your age m57, operator82 is right about "it's all in how you present yourself."

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Lee in Baytown, Texas

51 months ago

Maybe for some.

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wbray in Baytown, Texas

50 months ago

Well kudos to you Moblack, all I'm saying is that a degree isn't necessary. I'm not saying that you shouldn't get one, by all means if you have the time and resources to do it then more power to you. By the way we "top" out at 34.75 an hour there isn't much further you could go on any pay scale than that without joining the salary ranks ie: engineers etc.

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2chase3 in League City, Texas

50 months ago

wbray in Baytown, Texas said: Well kudos to you Moblack, all I'm saying is that a degree isn't necessary. I'm not saying that you shouldn't get one, by all means if you have the time and resources to do it then more power to you. By the way we "top" out at 34.75 an hour there isn't much further you could go on any pay scale than that without joining the salary ranks ie: engineers etc.

Granted anyone gained employment without a degree is a very rare occurance for most Process techncian positions. It is not impossible, and I dont believe anyone will argue that fact. Winning the lotto is neither impossible either. Yet the odd's are dramtically low considering its difficult to obtain employment even with the degree.

To consider education in a industry which has crucial and potentially disasterous consequences for mistakes. It would be foolish to think less is more. Considering the steep learning curve (a 2year degree is considered 3-6 months of new hire experience).....Pig picture...its nothing. It will take years to understanding a series of units and to be an proficient operator within one certain unit, not taking in account of fully understanding upstream or down..of that little world.

In short, yes a degree is not required, just as well as a bullet in a pistol is not required when you can use it as a club. But you must ask yourself how effective is it? (I will argue the fact That I guarantee no employment with certain companies because it was straight from a recruiters mouth) So it boils down to how lucky do you feel winning the lotto???

I can tell you this, Operator positions are headed to 4 yr degrees. plain and simple.

Definitely not trying to be the bearer of bad news here..But do some research before jumping head first into this field and make a educated decision for yourself.

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khan3378 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

50 months ago

Does your school offer any internships? I wqas interested in either the PTEC or Instrumentation and Controls Program? Are their a lot of job offers for student who complete their studies in I&C?

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2chase3 in League City, Texas

50 months ago

Yes most schools offer "Assistance" in internship meaning you are informed when internships for certain companies are available, again its your responsibility to qualify (Minimal GPA average, college hours, etc:) then applying for intern spot.

But be aware of the big picture, say 4 spots are open, all with a 3.0 and 30 collges hours are applicable..so your possibly looking at 25-40 applying from your college alone. Its not impossible, but determination is needed.

As for Instrumentation, are you dead set on working for Plant or contractor? the same rules follow, The up side is the pay is competitive working for a contractor, yet you are still prone to lay off's and traveling.

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khan3378 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

49 months ago

supasam 225 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana said: Im in school for my ptech degree. I go to ITI tech in Baton Rouge La and My school is the top Ptech school in the nation all our teacher are retired operators and engineers and jobs are plentiful here If you keep a good atendance record and can keep a 3.0 or better your pretty much have a job. Every guy that finished befor me that had good school atendance and had a good GPA had a job befor they graduated they do mock interviews for you and everything as many as u want and the people who give the mock interviews are all people who do the interviews at the local plants in my area like from dow, exxon, air products, shell, valero, marathon, and ect.Dow usualy picks up alot of our people.

How is there Instrumentation and Controls Program?

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JimTexas68 in Pasadena, Texas

49 months ago

I have been an operator for close to twenty years. I took the Ptech class at San Jacinto College years ago when it was a certification course (8 weeks long). In my carrer I have worked for two different companies in four different plants...by my own choosing. I have worked in the chemical and refining industries. All of you people that have spent the time and money to take the degreed ptech school have done something that is valuable to attaining the career you want but not so much that you have seperated yourself from the crowd. It will help but not nearly as much as work experience. I'm not necessarily talking about operations experience, but work experiences. There are things that you can do to tremendously help yourself get an edge on the rest of the crowd during an interview. The poster that stated something along the lines of how important it it to present yourself in a positive light is correct. How you handle yourself under pressure is key. There are instances where you will be invited to interview with a panel of people that will incluse an HR representative and multiple operations employees that will be asking you various questions. These are the people that will be generally working with you. They are paying close attention to your body language as much as what you say. They want to know if you are a ridged person or flexible in your thinking, They want to know if you take yourself too seriously, and most importantly they want to know that if you are unsure of an answer will you admit it and take the time to find the correct answer or will you wing it and lie. In our business it's not important to know everything, but it's important to know where to find information to help you get the right answer. Human resources will only allow them to ask very specific canned questions. But, it is enough to get the information out of you that they need to decide on whether or not you will be a successful candidate.

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JimTexas68 in Pasadena, Texas

49 months ago

Some of the things that will help you people that I have learned over the years:
1. Try to get a job with a contract company inside a plant or refinery. Even as a craft helper you will propably make more money than you are now and it will help you get familiar with the environment. You will learn about energy isolation and lock out policies that will help you during an interview when you are possibly asked if you understand or have you ever been exposed to lock tag and try. You will learn other important job and safety policies, permitting policies, and also will be exposed to sweating and freezing in a hard hat and flame retardent clothing all day. This could help you decide if this is the correct career move for you before you spend alot of money on the ptech school.
2. Joint a local volunteer fire department. This is the single most helpfull thing a person with no experience can do to set him/herself apart from other candidates. You learn inportant firefighting skills (which you WILL use in a plant) and you let the interviewer know that you would be an experienced FF for the plant fire brigade.
3. If you want to take a course or read some material that will help you get hired. Read or take a course on Process Safety Management. An understanding of PSM (for short)and its components will help you speak with knowledge during an interview.

If you do these three things...you will have a much easier time getting hired. You will also have a better knowledge of what you are in for as an operator.

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syrinx2012 in Houston, Texas

47 months ago

I would like to hear from experienced operators. I recently received a certificate in process tech. I know an associates degree is better, but not required for some plants. I recieved a 3.5 GPA, but my concern is my troubleshooting skills. I got a "C" in that class, but I was definitely struggling. I do have 18 years in refineries as a contractor. As a new operator in the field, how much will be expected of me in this area? I know it is obviously critical to the job...

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Operator 2 in Pensacola, Florida

46 months ago

@ syrinx2012, the entire process for a new operator is training. You will find that your degree familiarize you with the jargon and language operators use. As far as troubleshooting goes, you will be trained by the company that hires you. It is nothing that you will learn in a short time frame, it takes years to become an excellent troubleshooter.

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Operator44 in Houston, Texas

46 months ago

Has anyone gone through the interview process this year and how was it. My cousin passed the test a few weeks ago but has not been called to the interview.

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NDTInspector85 in Houston, Texas

45 months ago

Hey I have a degree in Industrial Technology how does that translate to Process Tech I do NDT inspection at the moment but want to get into operations in the near future

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J_Kingrey@yahoo.com in Vidor, Texas

45 months ago

I heard that they look for young guys with process degrees so you can start a contract and work for the company a long time??? Does anyone know how true this is??

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jimtexas68 in Pasadena, Texas

45 months ago

syrinx2012- The above is correct, becoming a good troubleshooter will take time. The best thing to do when trying to become a better troubleshooter is understand the logical thinking behind what the company is trying to acomplish with the plant process. If you truly understand the logic behind what is going on you will not forget it. But, if how you go about your job is my trying to memorize things or rely on past experiences alone to help you troubleshoot a problem you wil never be as good as you could be. This type of person is known as an alarm operator. These guys never react to a situation until they have a console alarm honking at them telling rhem there is an issue with something. Don't misunderstand, there are lots of times the console will notify you of a situation but learn to be the type of operator that learns to think and see through the pipes and has a full grasp of the four key control elements (Temperature,Level,Pressure and Flow).

The type of testing that is given is generally a Bennett mechanical aptitude test. Google is your friend for some type of study guide but it generally has to do with your ability to use deductive reasoning and simple mechanics with some light math (simple single variable algebra and below nothing major). You will be shocked how many people are culled out of the interview process because they cant pass this test. IT IS NOT HARD!

The statement about the money above is fairly true. You can make north of 100K a year fairly easy once you top out in your unit. I'm a console operator plus I step up as a supervisor when they're on vacation and I step down to work the field jobs when necessary as well. I made a little over 140K last year. If you have a desire to learn, your not lazy and are willing to put the hours in then there is money to be made.

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syrinx2012 in Houston, Texas

45 months ago

Just landed an internship with Shell in Deer Park. They will hire 22 of the 25 interns. If anyone works there, a heads up on what to expect would be great. Is there any overtime available for new hires beyond the regular shift schedule?

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alphaman4ever in Houston, Texas

45 months ago

syrinx2012 in Houston, Texas said: Just landed an internship with Shell in Deer Park. They will hire 22 of the 25 interns. If anyone works there, a heads up on what to expect would be great. Is there any overtime available for new hires beyond the regular shift schedule?

Are the courses in process technlogy rigorous or difficult? I'm looking into getting into a PTECH program in the near future but would like to know what I'm getting myself into..... I greatly appreciate the advice.

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syrinx2012 in Houston, Texas

45 months ago

alphaman4ever in Houston, Texas said: Are the courses in process technlogy rigorous or difficult? I'm looking into getting into a PTECH program in the near future but would like to know what I'm getting myself into..... I greatly appreciate the advice.

Don't know where you would be going to school, but at San Jac the only difficult classes for me were Physics, instrumentation, technical math and troubleshooting. The rest were a breeze.

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alphaman4ever in Houston, Texas

45 months ago

I'm thinking about San Jac PTech program, I'm just not sure yet....the goal is to get in and get out. I've taken the basics already.

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Mike in Deer Park, Texas

44 months ago

PTEC is alot like any other field that is mechanical. You must apply yourself and be willing to work hard, and long hours, day or night shifts. The shifts alternate weekly from day to night.
I worked in manufacturing for 14 years making semiconductors. I returned to college to get an associate degree in PTEC, and finished with a Bachelor's in PTEC and Applied Arts and Sciences.
I believe that anyone who is dedicated and values his education can do it easily. It is NOT rocket science. This is a BLUE COLLAR job, and basically vocational in nature.
If you do well in school, you should get hired in a good paying job. I worked in the chemical industry for 7 years making $70,000.00 per year, and now make $120,00.00 and upwards in oil refining. I make GASOLINE for Citgo. BUT, it took me 7 years of interviews to get in the oil business. It can be done if you keep an eye out for the jobs.
Pursue your dreams, and do not place anyone, or anything in your way. You will succeed, my GPA is 3.85, and I dropped out of high school to join the Navy on a GED. If I can do it, anyone can.

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Jonah25 in New Orleans, Louisiana

44 months ago

Can anyone tell me whats a Operator Trainee job because I saw one of the local refinery plants hiring for this in my area and would like to know more about it. So if anyone either applied for this or know anything about it please let me know. thanks

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Terry68 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

44 months ago

I'm in a PTEC program and recently tested for the Shell internship. I passed and got interview, now I'm just waiting on the final word. Hopefully they will make announcements soon. But I have a few questions about working offshore with a PTEC degree. I know there are drilling rigs and production rigs and that PTEC guys go to production rigs. What do the guys on production rigs do? What are the various positions? How do you advance out there? Any help would be appreciated.

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supasam225 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

44 months ago

well I just finished up an internship with shell inland at one of the refinery and one of the guys in my class got one offshore and he said its laid back 14 on 14 off. they wash your close for u feed u every day all the rooms have 32" flat screens and ps3s and they even have people to clean your room 9 times out of 10 they will hire u on after your internship because the guy I go to school with just got an offer to work fulltime after he graduates and they just told me today their going to hire me at the refinery so if u get in just handle your buisness and u will be cool

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supasam225 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

44 months ago

you must be talkin about the velaro job its just an entrylevel position if ur in school for ptech u might get it the plants here in louisiana been hireing like crazy just got on at shell motiva and got a job offer for dow chem so just try it

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Operatorjoe in Houston, Texas

44 months ago

Jonah25 in New Orleans, Louisiana said: Can anyone tell me whats a Operator Trainee job because I saw one of the local refinery plants hiring for this in my area and would like to know more about it. So if anyone either applied for this or know anything about it please let me know. thanks

Trainee means you will be In a 2 to 4 year training program. You'll work or cover the overtime in your unit. The life of a trainee can be hard depending if they move you from shift to shift. Don't let that scare you away.

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jdavis in Plano, Texas

44 months ago

Has anyone graduated from LIT and got a job recently (last 6-9 months)Im thinking about enrolling this summer for the PTECH program but im curious to know how easy/hard it is to get hired on at a local refinery

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Tomtom in Groves, Texas

44 months ago

Don't waste your time getting the two year ptech degree if you don't have any prior work experience related to the manufacturing,construction,petrochemical,ect fields.LIT increased the degree to 75 credits as opposed to the old 60 credit curricullum.All my friends who graduated from LIT with the ptech degree cannot find any jobs because they don't have any prior work experience related to the field.An intership after graduating doesn't guaranttee you a job offer.My cousin got hired from a well known refinery as a process operator without the ptech degree.

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Lavelle in Little Elm, Texas

44 months ago

I'm enrolling into the PTEC program this summer and I'm really excited to work toward a new career. My Dilemma is choosing the right school. My choices are between Nunez Community College in Chalmette La. and College of the Mainland in Texas City TX. Can anyone advise on they're experience at either school or a 3rd party conversation on how they felt about either one.

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kinglineman79 in Houston, Texas

44 months ago

Guys im 19 i failed out of engineering,(couldn't get past cal 2) im extremely worried that I wont have a future so now im looking at going for my associates in plant operations technology from San Jacinto community college. Honestly speaking how is the job opportunity outlook in the houston/texas city/galena park/etc area and what can I do to gain some sort of experience in this field ? Also what are avg union dues and is it all unionized?

If this dont work guys ill prob try to become an electrician or a lineman for center-point.

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supasam225 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

44 months ago

Well I live in louisiana and texas and louisiana are about the same when it comes to PTECH jobs because we both prety much have all the same plants evry plant here prety much has the same one in texas and here things are rolling and picking up more and more every year so I know it has to be about the same there. So that means your geting in at a good time because alot of operators are between the ages ou 50 & 60 so there are guys leaving these jobs left and right. I was able to get an internship at one of the shell refineries here in louisiana called motiva and about 60% of he guys their were 50 or older so your talking about job openening up month after month every were. So to me it the best job hands down because no matter what these job will always be in demand crude oil is this contries life blood and you will be suprised what all comes from it that we use on a day to day basis stuff like soap, plastic, polyester in clother, toothpaste, jet fuel antifreez, ect all these thing come from crude oil or either components in the crude oil so on top of just gas maybe 80% or more of the stuff we use on a day to day basis comes from this stuff so that means plant after plant running and having jobs for years to come and not being efected by the economy. When I was interning at shell all the operatores I talked to averaged between 100k to 160k a year thats good money. After my internshiph shell hired me to come work for them after I graduate but I got many other offers to from other plant like Dow chem and others and prety much every dude in my class that handled business got a job even the green ones pepole may say yea u need experience its like this you get out of it what you put in to it handle your business and you'll be good just like one operator told me befor they cut you losse in the plant they gona teach you every thing you need to know pluss even if your green in your interview they can tell if you have potential so handle your business in school and no calculu

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kinglineman79 in Houston, Texas

44 months ago

So were you green going into the internship ? And what kind of work did you do before you went into PTECH? Also can i expect decent hours ?

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Old Timer in Mississippi

44 months ago

kinglineman79 in Houston, Texas said: So were you green going into the internship ? And what kind of work did you do before you went into PTECH? Also can i expect decent hours ?

You ork can't expect decent hours. Most operator jobs involve shift work. That means you will be working when most people are sleeping. You will work all holidays except if you are scheduled to be off. If you have a family you will work Christmas and miss out on childrens activity.It is a very stressful occupation but tou can make a lot of money. I am a retired supervisor so I know what it's like

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kinglineman79 in Houston, Texas

44 months ago

www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs008.htm according to this theres been a 22% drop expected in bot salary and the hiring of new operators in the coming years. Fact of the matter is I want a family someday and i also don't want to miss a single christmas....

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NDTinspector85 in Baytown, Texas

44 months ago

kinglineman79 in Houston, Texas said: www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs008.htm according to this theres been a 22% drop expected in bot salary and the hiring of new operators in the coming years. Fact of the matter is I want a family someday and i also don't want to miss a single christmas....

A little advice your 19 if you were to pursue a operators job and continue ur education you would maybe miss a few xmas n other holidays but in 3-5 years you will have a engineer degree and experience so you could move up now in my opinion life is about sacrifice you have to give to get

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supasam225 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

44 months ago

when I went into my internship I had 6 years industrial experience but that don't really matter Iv seen guys leaving school every day with no plant experience landing jobs when your a contractor working in the plan your on the out side looking in so when you get on the other side stuff is total different. if your in a good school you will know more than a contractor working in a plant for 20 years I was shocked about how much more I knew than then some of the operators during my internship guys that been doing that type of work for years on the job experience teaches them how and what to do but school gives you an edge because you know why its doing what its doing like for instance here they teach us chemistry we have to take three different types of chemistry in certain parts of the process the operators knew what was going on but not why it was going on. It makes you a more well rounded operator every dude from my school kills it on interviews because the school make you so knowledgeable and when the big wigs see that they eat it up because that mean your teachable. And for the day working its like this were else can you go and make six figures a year working a little over six months a year every plant is different, different schedules all that some you work 7 on 7 off some 4 on 4 off or whatever yea you may miss some holidays but its not like you there all day at shell we get off at 4 still time to kick it with the family one of the operators I worked with was 26 made 140k a year and lived in a 400k house at 26 come on that cool say you may have 4 days off during your rotating schedule you can get some one to pick up you shift the day before an after and have six days off to maybe take a mini vacation with the family stuff like that you can do on no other job.

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Old Timer in Mississippi

44 months ago

kinglineman79 in Houston, Texas said: www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs008.htm according to this theres been a 22% drop expected and the hiring of new operators in the coming years. Fact of the matter is I want a family someday and i also don't want to miss a single christmas....

Working holidays isn't the worse part of the job.Being an operator the plants all run 24/7 rain shine sleet or snow. You can't tell your supervisor you can't work out side because the rain is too hard. There is a lot of physical work involved such as climbing ladders and opening and closing large valves. You will spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your family.For the first years you are the bottom of the pile. That means you get all the crappy jobs in the unit.

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