Becoming a gas plant operator generally requires a high school diploma or equivalent, and taking related courses in high school can be helpful preparation. Earning a degree from a technical school may increase an individual's chances to become a gas plant operator. This education can also be obtained through online degree programs. In addition to education, experience and certifications can also expand options for becoming a gas plant operator.
Gas plant operators generally work with caustic or volatile chemicals or liquids, such as petroleum, oil, or natural gas. It is often useful to have some sort of related job experience. This could include work in the utilities field, as a gas technician, or even certain experience working in a gas station. Such experience can also help people determine if they would like to become a gas plant operator.
Some classes that may help in gaining the necessary knowledge to become a gas plant operator include science courses, such as chemistry and physics, math courses, communications courses, mechanics and instrumentation courses, and computer courses. All of these classes should help broaden the student's knowledge in the field of gas plant operation. Since safety is an important part of the job, certifications, such as those offered through Operator Qualification courses, for example, can be obtained from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the U.S. This certification may also increase someone's chances to become a gas plant operator.
On-the-job training is another way individuals can increase the knowledge base necessary to become a gas plant operator. This often includes a combination of training both in the operating plant and in a classroom. Examples of what may be learned in classroom training include information about the properties of gas, plant safety, and emergency procedures. Plant safety and emergency procedures may vary from organization to organization, making on-the-job classes or training in these areas necessary.
Once classroom training is completed, operators are trained in the plant, often by an experienced employee. Some of the areas this training covers include how to maintain and repair equipment, such as broken or leaky valves, how to control gas flow and transfer gas, and how to record gas levels. This is practical, hands-on training for the job. Gas plant operators usually work for organizations such as oil companies or natural gas companies.