Process Technology

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Chris in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

66 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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operator in Destrehan, Louisiana

66 months ago

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,

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Chris in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

66 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

63 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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joembrown1026 in Shreveport, Louisiana

58 months ago

stooie in Nederland, Texas said: joembrown,
Im not sure what u are referring to when you say 14/7. But where i work, we get 84 straight time hours in 2 weeks. it was negotiated through the union that we work all 84 on straight time. Hope that helped.

thanks. that is exactly what I had thought. needed a second opinion. I appreciate it.

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Bigiron in Houston, Texas

58 months ago

It's REALLY hard to get an operators job here in Houston , you have to KNOW someone , I would love to make this career change, but really don't have any connections , thinking about going back to school !!

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syrinx2012 in Houston, Texas

57 months ago

I will be entering the San Jacinto College Process Tech Certificate program in January. I was told By Michael Speegle (runs the program) that jobs are scarce right now in the Houston area, but should pick up over the next 3 - 4 years because of retirement. Has anyone gotten an operator job with just the certificate, or do I need the associates degree?

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syrinx2012 in Houston, Texas

57 months ago

I have 18 years in refineries as a contractor doing catalyst change-out, not process, but I'm hoping that, with the certificate will get me in somewhere. Bcorley, you have no experience in refineries, or just no process experience?

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bcorley

57 months ago

syrinx2012 in Houston, Texas said: I have 18 years in refineries as a contractor doing catalyst change-out, not process, but I'm hoping that, with the certificate will get me in somewhere. Bcorley, you have no experience in refineries, or just no process experience?

No plant experience at all. I'm 23 so I've just had a job at a credit union through college. But like I said I have the operations degree.

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syrinx2012 in Houston, Texas

57 months ago

If the economy ever recovers, there will be jobs out the wazoo. There are many operators that want to retire, but can't in this economy. When it recovers, there should be plenty of openings.

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bcorley

56 months ago

Thanks. I sure hope so. I've considered going back to school for other things but I really want to be an operator. And I know as soon as I go back to school, jobs will open up everywhere. It just feels like in sitting here with my hands tied. I know I'm not alone though. The economy is affecting everyone.

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rperez601 in Texas City, Texas

56 months ago

bcorley said: Thanks. I sure hope so. I've considered going back to school for other things but I really want to be an operator. And I know as soon as I go back to school, jobs will open up everywhere. It just feels like in sitting here with my hands tied. I know I'm not alone though. The economy is affecting everyone.

I know exactly what you are througt bcorley I was thinking about going back to school but I really want to be a operator. I also have the Associate degree in ptech and having a hard time finding a job. When I graduated in May 2007 I had no problem finding a job. Their were lots of places hiring operators. I did land a operator job but unfortunately I was laid off. It is real competitive for these jobs right now.I think the economy is going to get better soon. You just have think positive and remain confident. I hoping to land another operator job soon after the new year.

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WaKaMolay in Houston, Texas

56 months ago

I did an internship offshore with Shell, but no one was hired due to "economic conditions". This was back in April and still have not been able to land an operator job either offshore or here in town with any company.

I heard a few people say that it should pick up after the new year. Honestly, I stll feel that operator jobs will continue to be scarce. The fact that operators are not retiring, combined with the back up of recent graduates plus the new and upcoming graduates in PTEC, will continue to make operator positions harder to land.

A friend of mine who works with Exxon has said that there is alot of talk from management that if the Climate Bill gets passed next year, that there could a negative impact on jobs. I hate to throw politics in the mix, but its a fact that what happens in D.C. affects what happens in this industry.

I think the best option would be to continue going to school during this time to learn other specialties, to become a more valuable asset. We just have to keep trying. Good luck out there people.

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Old Timer in New Albany, Mississippi

56 months ago

WaKaMolay in Houston, Texas said: I did an internship offshore with Shell, but no one was hired due to "economic conditions". This was back in April and still have not been able to land an operator job either offshore or here in town with any company.

I heard a few people say that it should pick up after the new year. Honestly, I stll feel that operator jobs will continue to be scarce. The fact that operators are not retiring, combined with the back up of recent graduates plus the new and upcoming graduates in PTEC, will continue to make operator positions harder to land.

A friend of mine who works with Exxon has said that there is alot of talk from management that if the Climate Bill gets passed next year, that there could a negative impact on jobs. I hate to throw politics in the mix, but its a fact that what happens in D.C. affects what happens in this industry.

I think the best option would be to continue going to school during this time to learn other specialties, to become a more valuable asset. We just have to keep trying. Good luck out there people.

Technology has reduced the number of operators required to run a unit.A few years ago the big plants had several control rooms with an opoerator in each control room and several outside operators. Now they have one central control room with one operator controlling several units. The biggest demand now is in safety and environmental field. SanJacinto college and Lamar both have excellent programs in the HSE field.Also instrument & electrical techs are in demand.

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syrinx2012 in Houston, Texas

56 months ago

How is the pay in those fields?

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WaKaMolay in Houston, Texas

56 months ago

You are absolutely correct Old Timer. I have heard the same thing. Some companies are already requiring Instrumentation Techs to know Electrical and vice versa. I have also been told that soon, more and more places will contract mechanical trades.

As far as pay in those fields, I have heard that they get the same hourly rate as operators. If they happen to work for a contractor though, they can be paid considerably more per hour.

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jim in Beaumont, Texas

56 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

56 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

56 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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operator82 in Houston, Texas

55 months ago

There are jobs, but I will tell you guys companies or big places want experience. I first start was being an Intern. I used that experience to land two jobs. I've been at my job for 2 years. Next week I start at Exxon. My advice is apply for any and other jobs. Don't be an idiot to turn down a 13 dollar operations jobs.

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Stephanie

55 months ago

WaKaMolay in Houston, Texas said: 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.

lol your funny!! how mechanically inclined do you need to be to become a process tech? I'm debating over process tech and environmental,safefty technician. I'll have to progressively learn algebra though I had a class made an 87% in it but I dont feel as though I learned enough. This economy seems to be hurting us all unfort. I'm female would that hurt or help me to land a job? Have a great weekend everyone

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syrinx2012 in Houston, Texas

55 months ago

The first day of my Process tech classes, one of the instructors said "2 people in this classroom will be able to get a operator job right away" There were 2 females in the room...

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Stephanie

55 months ago

whoa that is awesome!! the career sounds like a good fit although I'll have to self teach myself chemistry and physics. I really need a great career and a career that will pay well. I plan on helping my parents out as much as possible. I am currently working a full time job and a part time job in order to help my mom out because she has lost alot of money in these past couple years due to the recession but still with two low paying jobs it's incredibly hard to do. Thank you for replying back to me :) I really appreciate it.

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WaKaMolay in Houston, Texas

55 months ago

You dont have to be mechanicall inclined, although it helps alot. All you need is the "desire" to learn. Virtually any skill can be learned.

I think being a female and a minority in this industry is a very strong advantage. Many of these companies are diversifying their work force. I personally want to get hired due to my education, skills, and personality and not my race.

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stephanie in Kansas City, Missouri

55 months ago

WaKaMolay in Houston, Texas said: You dont have to be mechanicall inclined, although it helps alot. All you need is the "desire" to learn. Virtually any skill can be learned.

I think being a female and a minority in this industry is a very strong advantage. Many of these companies are diversifying their work force. I personally want to get hired due to my education, skills, and personality and not my race.

I agree. But as a female I also know how hard it is to "qualify" for a job even with the right credentials if and when you are working with mostly men. unfort. the college I was looking into was in Kilgore Texas I saw the KC and mistook it for Kansas City which is where I live. Thank You for the reply though :)

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monielove in Beaumont, Texas

54 months ago

WaKaMolay in Houston, Texas said: All you need is the "desire" to learn. Virtually any skill can be learned.

I think being a female and a minority in this industry is a very strong advantage. Many of these companies are diversifying their work force. I personally want to get hired due to my education, skills, and personality and not my race.

I'm not sure if I should be offended by your statement or feel sorry for you. I am a black female PTEC graduate. I finished with a gpa of 3.9, and thats because I worked my butt off to learn and demonstrate the same skills(maybe better) as my male classmates. Thankfully, I've landed a job with Exxon. I strongly believe it was because of my unique qualities, and the fact they saw I would be a valuable asset to the company, that I was hired. and not the fact that I'm a double minority.Perhaps its not workforce diversity as you put it, instead the company wanting the best man or in my case woman for job

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WaKaMolay in Houston, Texas

54 months ago

Congratulations. I really hope that you were indeed hired due to your academic qualifications and a strong work ethic versus your gender or color.I really feel for the most part, the majority of the people these big companies hire are due to the academic qualifications and the great attitudes that the applicants exude. The fact is though, that these companies must prove to the government that they seek to employ a diversified workforce.This means that there is bound to be some applicants who may be hired on due to their race or gender. This may be dependant on wheather or not the company in question is lacking in a cetain catagory of employees based on gender or race.What do you think the EEOC survey is about when filling out an application?
An example would be a plant or refinery that has too many employees of one race or gender.They may start to seek to hire more minorities. "How is this possible" one may ask? Well, it could very well be the luck of the draw. If there were more whites than minorities who graduated from the PTEC program, there will most likely be more whites than minorities applying to a particular plant or refinery the year of graduation. If this were to happen during two or more consecutive hirings, then eventually someone in HR of one of these companies would have to point out and say"hey, we are beginning to lack diversity in our workforce." They would have to begin to "diversify" to minimize the chances of lawsuits being filed against them by a bitter applicant who was denied because he thought that he(or she) was not hired due to their ethnicity or gender.A friend who is in HR of one of the well know companies has confirmed that this happens very often. I have also seen two females who graduated with me get hired on over more qualified applicants. I mean, these two girls could not troubleshoot their way out of a locked car.

www.hr411.com/legal-updates/?lu=69770&lus=

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syrinx2012 in Houston, Texas

54 months ago

Look at it this way. Exxon is showing they have a diverse workforce by hiring you. They also got a well qualified, sharp individual they are proud to have. They got the ideal employee. But, affirmative action and equal opportunity hiring (quotas)is a fact of life. Sometimes they don't get the whole package as they did with you, but still need to be diverse. More qualified candidates are sometimes passed over.

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Brad in Spring, Texas

52 months ago

monielove in Beaumont, Texas said: I'm not sure if I should be offended by your statement or feel sorry for you. I am a black female PTEC graduate. I finished with a gpa of 3.9, and thats because I worked my butt off to learn and demonstrate the same skills(maybe better) as my male classmates. Thankfully, I've landed a job with Exxon. I strongly believe it was because of my unique qualities, and the fact they saw I would be a valuable asset to the company, that I was hired. and not the fact that I'm a double minority.Perhaps its not workforce diversity as you put it, instead the company wanting the best man or in my case woman for job

Actually, Exxon has a specific criteria they hire on everytime they do hire Operators and Maintenance staff and even Engineers. Before anyone shows up they have listed that they will hire out of 15 people 8 whites, 4 hispanic, and 3 black. This is just an example but TRUST ME this is the way it is. I KNOW.

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missbrown in Houston, Texas

52 months ago

Well good luck to ya. I've had my degree since 2003 and whenever I did land a job at a plant, I think I was the only one there with a degree. I really want and NEED a better job.

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2chase3 in League City, Texas

52 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

51 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

50 months ago

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

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john in Port Neches, Texas

49 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

49 months ago

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

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m57 in Port Neches, Texas

47 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

47 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

47 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

46 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

46 months ago

Maybe for some.

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wbray in Baytown, Texas

46 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

46 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

46 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

46 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

45 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

45 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

45 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

43 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

42 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

42 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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