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Working as a Plant Operator

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 $18.06 an hour? That's $37,572 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.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a plant operator, we found that a lot of resumes listed 13.0% of plant operators included plant equipment, while 12.7% of resumes included facility, and 5.7% of resumes included preventive maintenance. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the plant operator job title. But what industry to start with? Most plant operators actually find jobs in the manufacturing and energy industries.

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 19.7% of plant operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 2.4% 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 operator. Meanwhile, many plant operators also have previous career experience in roles such as maintenance technician or supervisor.

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Average Salary$37,572
Job Growth Rate-5%

Plant Operator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Plant Operator

Top Careers After Plant Operator

Operator
10.3 %

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Plant Operator

Plant Operators in America make an average salary of $37,572 per year or $18 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $50,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $27,000 per year.
Average Salary
$37,572

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Stockton, CA
Salary Range50k - 83k$65k$64,761
Ankeny, IA
Salary Range43k - 65k$53k$53,421
Idaho Falls, ID
Salary Range42k - 63k$52k$51,646
Scottsdale, AZ
Salary Range38k - 62k$49k$49,169
Eagan, MN
Salary Range38k - 59k$48k$47,560
Cincinnati, OH
Salary Range36k - 55k$45k$44,892
$23k
$83k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Chemical Plant Operator Mb538
Chemical Plant Operator Mb538
Edwards Place of Employment
Edwards Place of Employment
01/30/2021
01/30/2021
$25,04401/30/2021
$25,044
Plant Operator-Furnace & Refining
Plant Operator-Furnace & Refining
Gopher Resource
Gopher Resource
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$52,11201/29/2021
$52,112
Tampa Plant Operator
Tampa Plant Operator
Gopher Resource
Gopher Resource
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$37,77501/29/2021
$37,775
Flaking Plant Operator
Flaking Plant Operator
Aventure Staffing Professional Placement
Aventure Staffing Professional Placement
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$35,47901/28/2021
$35,479
Plant Operations Staff
Plant Operations Staff
Southern Pines Healthcare Center
Southern Pines Healthcare Center
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$30,26201/27/2021
$30,262
See More Recent Salaries

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Plant Operator Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Plant Operator. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Plant Operator Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Plant Operator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Plant Operator Demographics

Gender

male

88.5 %

female

7.9 %

unknown

3.6 %

Ethnicity

White

76.4 %

Hispanic or Latino

10.4 %

Black or African American

8.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.1 %

Carrier

6.1 %

French

5.2 %
See More Demographics

Plant Operator Education

Majors

Business
21.5 %

Degrees

High School Diploma

41.0 %

Bachelors

19.7 %

Associate

18.6 %

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 • Public

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

4. University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Lafayette, LA • Public

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

5. SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

Alfred, NY • Public

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
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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.

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 California, Idaho, Iowa, and Kansas. Plant operators make the most in California with an average salary of $62,573. Whereas in Idaho and Iowa, they would average $53,828 and $53,653, respectively. While plant operators would only make an average of $50,911 in Kansas, 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. Iowa

Total Plant Operator Jobs:
104
Highest 10% Earn:
$78,000
Location Quotient:
1.87
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. Indiana

Total Plant Operator Jobs:
132
Highest 10% Earn:
$69,000
Location Quotient:
1.54
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. Ohio

Total Plant Operator Jobs:
187
Highest 10% Earn:
$70,000
Location Quotient:
1.17
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
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Top Plant Operator Employers

1. Airgas
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$31,474
Plant Operators Hired: 
84+
2. Halliburton
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$31,475
Plant Operators Hired: 
77+
3. United States Navy
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$31,658
Plant Operators Hired: 
74+
4. SNF Holding Company
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$35,930
Plant Operators Hired: 
65+
5. Pinellas County Schools
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$36,621
Plant Operators Hired: 
48+
6. HR Houston
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$39,923
Plant Operators Hired: 
45+

Plant Operator Videos

Updated October 2, 2020