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Plant operators are specialists that oversee and supervise operations in an industrial setting. As a plant operator, you are primarily responsible for controlling equipment and machinery. You may also need to respond to inquiries and issues and also perform basic troubleshooting. In addition, you are to monitor the quality of progress among the departments or units.

As a plant operator, you are to conduct regular inspections and maintenance to ensure a safe workspace for everybody. While doing this, you must implement the plant's safety policies and regulations. Furthermore, you must provide training to all vendors and contractors and ensure participation in safety meetings.

To be a plant operator, you could study environmental control technologies, general studies, or business. You could work with either a high school diploma or a bachelor's degree. Plant operators make an average salary of $38,410 per year.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a plant operator. For example, did you know that they make an average of $17.96 an hour? That's $37,366 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -5% and produce -6,100 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Plant Operator Do

There are certain skills that many plant operators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, math skills and detail oriented.

Learn more about what a Plant Operator does

How To Become a Plant Operator

If you're interested in becoming a plant operator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 26.4% of plant operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 1.7% of plant operators have master's degrees. Even though some plant operators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a plant operator. When we researched the most common majors for a plant operator, we found that they most commonly earn high school diploma degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on plant operator resumes include associate degree degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a plant operator. In fact, many plant operator jobs require experience in a role such as maintenance technician. Meanwhile, many plant operators also have previous career experience in roles such as operator or heavy equipment operator.

Plant Operator Career Paths

Average Salary for a Plant Operator

Plant Operators in America make an average salary of $37,366 per year or $18 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $46,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $29,000 per year.
Average Plant Operator Salary
$37,366 Yearly
$17.96 hourly
$29,000
10 %
$37,000
Median
$46,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Plant Operator Education

Plant Operator Majors

18.7 %

Plant Operator Degrees

High School Diploma

33.5 %

Bachelors

26.4 %

Associate

24.0 %

Top Colleges for Plant Operators

1. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,880
Enrollment
6,590

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

3. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

4. University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Lafayette, LA • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,912
Enrollment
14,245

5. SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

Alfred, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,570
Enrollment
3,721

6. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

7. Sacred Heart University

Fairfield, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$41,420
Enrollment
5,907

8. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

10. Siena Heights University

Adrian, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$27,124
Enrollment
2,035

Top Skills For a Plant Operator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.0% of plant operators listed plant equipment on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and math skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Plant Operator Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Plant Operator templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Plant Operator resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Plant Operator Demographics

Plant Operator Gender Distribution

Male
Male
94%
Female
Female
7%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among plant operators, 6.5% of them are women, while 93.5% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among plant operators is White, which makes up 76.1% of all plant operators.

  • The most common foreign language among plant operators is Spanish at 66.1%.

Online Courses For Plant Operator That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
SAP Plant Maintenance(PM) Module Online Classes
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Functional Module SAP Plant Maintenance(PM) with Configuration...

SAP PM Plant Maintenance (beginner to advanced level) 2021
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Learn SAP PM (Plant Maintenance) module in a step-by-step manner with practical examples. Become SAP PM Consultant today...

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Learn SAP PM Module, by learning the different transactions and business processes in SAP PM, also the configuration...

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Best States For a Plant Operator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a plant operator. The best states for people in this position are Idaho, Maine, North Dakota, and Nevada. Plant operators make the most in Idaho with an average salary of $54,242. Whereas in Maine and North Dakota, they would average $52,465 and $51,658, respectively. While plant operators would only make an average of $51,339 in Nevada, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. North Dakota

Total Plant Operator Jobs:
40
Highest 10% Earn:
$60,000
Location Quotient:
1.14 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Idaho

Total Plant Operator Jobs:
66
Highest 10% Earn:
$63,000
Location Quotient:
1.06 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Nevada

Total Plant Operator Jobs:
85
Highest 10% Earn:
$59,000
Location Quotient:
1.08 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Plant Operators

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Top Plant Operator Employers

Most Common Employers For Plant Operator

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Martin Marietta$44,063$21.1848
2The Dow Chemical Company$41,182$19.8030
3Air Products$40,739$19.5938
4Kinder Morgan$40,237$19.3434
5DCP Midstream$40,045$19.2540
6Vulcan Materials$39,387$18.9443
7Chevron$38,681$18.6030
8Stericycle$38,433$18.4832
9Gopher Resource$38,060$18.3038
10Halliburton$38,023$18.2875

Plant Operator Videos

Becoming a Plant Operator FAQs

Do plant operators make good money?

No, plant operators do not make good money. The average plant operator earns $38,000 a year, with the top earners averaging between $60,000 and $80,000 a year.

There are some companies and industries that pay plant operators better than others. A Marathon petroleum plant operator, for example, averages $80,084 a year (range: $43K - $91K), which is 71% higher than the national average.

How much do operators at plants make?

Operators at plants make $38,000 a year, on average ($18.47 an hour). However, there is some variability in how much a plant operator can make, starting from as low as $27,000 a year to as high as $83,000 a year. Factors such as the location and industry impact how much an operator at a plant can make.

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