Chemical Plant Operators
Chemical Plant Operators control the operation of chemical production plant.
Specialisations: Chemicals Distiller, Chemicals Fermentation Operator, Industrial Gas Production Operator, Paint Maker, Pharmaceutical Plant Operator, Pilot Plant Operator.
Formal qualifications are not essential to work as a Chemical Plant Operator. Although some workers have a certificate III or IV in process plant operations.
Controls equipment that performs continuous and batch processes to process chemicals.
Controls the preparation, measuring and feeding of raw material and processing agents such as catalysts and filtering media into plant.
Patrols and inspects equipment to ensure proper operation and sets operating controls on equipment.
Analyses samples and readings and records test data.
Controls records of production, quantities transferred and details of blending and pumping operations.
Checks equipment for malfunctions and arranges maintenance.
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Informal or on-the-job
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. Employment projections data are only produced for occupations at the broad four digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) level. While data are not available for this occupation, projections data are available for the parent occupation, Chemical, Gas, Petroleum & Power Plant Operators, under the outlook section.
Earnings and hours
Around 94% of people employed as Chemical Plant Operators work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 28 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 45 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Sources:Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average.
Most Chemical Plant Operators work in the Manufacturing industry. They are also employed in industries like:
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Chemical Plant Operators||All Jobs Average|
Around 43% of Chemical Plant Operators live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Western Australia has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Chemical Plant Operators is 47 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 4% of the workforce. This is 44 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Chemical Plant Operators||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||2.1||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
Formal qualifications are not essential to work as a Chemical Plant Operator. Although some workers have a certificate III or IV in process plant operations.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Resources and Infrastructure Industry, Gas Industry, National Water Industry, Chemical, Hydrocarbons & Refining, Electricity Supply Industry - Generation Sector VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Chemical Plant Operators||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||1.3||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||20.6||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Boat Builders and Shipwrights who are reliable, work well in a team and have a strong work ethic.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
55%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Reading work related information.
50%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
45%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Talking to others.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
43%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
39%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.
39%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
42%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
41%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
39%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
39%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
36%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
29%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
28%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
27%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
21%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
17%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
14%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Communicate by speaking.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
52%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Read and understand written information.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
See details that are far away.
Quickly move your hand, finger, or foot when a sound, light, picture or something else appears.
Pay attention to a certain sound when there are other distracting sounds.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
43%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Tell the difference between sounds.
Notice differences between colours, including shades of colour and brightness.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
66%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
65%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
64%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
63%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
62%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
58%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
57%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
56%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
52%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
51%Working with mechanical equipment
Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment.
48%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
47%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
46%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
44%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
43%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
43%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
38%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
38%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
38%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
28%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Talk with people face-to-face.
100%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
Work near dangers like high voltage electricity, flammable material, explosives or chemicals.
97%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
96%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
95%Indoors, not heat controlled
Work indoors without heating or cooling (e.g., warehouse without heat).
93%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
Talk on the telephone.
91%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
91%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
89%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
89%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
88%Pace of work set by equipment
Pace of work depends on the speed of equipment or machinery.
87%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
84%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
83%Outdoors, under cover
Work outdoors, under cover (e.g., in an open shed).
83%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
Work to strict deadlines.
Work with people in a group or team.
81%Very hot or cold temperatures
Work in very hot or cold temperatures.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 51-8091.00 - Chemical Plant and System Operators.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.