How much money does a Process Operator make?

Process Operator Pay?

A Process operator pay starts out between 65k and 85k per year. Now, this depends greatly on region, and the actual company, but if it is a real Process Operator job then this should be close. Now, this is speaking of base pay starting off, but if you hustle you can easily make another 10k to 30k. How could this be you ask?

Operator pay comes in 2 forms. Your base hourly pay for 84 hours in a 2 week period, and overtime. Some companies even offer bonuses, but they are a very small minority. We talked about base pay so now lets discuss overtime.

You make overtime usually in 4 different ways.

  1. Vacation/Sick fill in- When other Operators are sick, or on vacation, overtime will be needed to fill their jobs.
  2. Training- When you are training, you could be working overtime, or if someone else is training, you will be working overtime to cover their normal job.
  3. Turnarounds/Unit maintenance- When there is unit maintenance, or turnarounds you will either be filling a position on that event, or covering a unit not affected by the outage.
  4. Special assignments- If you, or someone is working a special assignment, such as procedure updates, HAZOPS, filling in for supervisors, or administrative work, this creates overtime as well.

I hope you have a better understanding now about how Process Operators make large sums of money, and how they seem to never be home when they do. Some of this money is voluntary and some is not. If you haven’t heard this yet, hear it now. Process Operators have forced/ drafted overtime. This is a condition of employment. Sometimes, no one volunteers to cover the overtime and Process Operators are drafted/forced to cover it. How the decision of who covers the overtime depends on where you work, and the policies there.

So yearly pay is cool, but you want to know how much that is an hour? Initially when you hire on as a trainee. You starting hourly pay will be in the low $20’s an hour. You will end up after you are fully trained and qualified in to low to  mid $30’s if you are working for a large company. The way you go from bottom Process Operator pay to top Process Operator pay will be different company to company. One key indicator will be if the company that you will be working for is a union site or not. Union sites have a contract that spell out exactly how and when you get to top pay. The fastest top of pay I’ve seen was 6 months with the longest progression being 4 years.


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