What’s the deal with all of these Process Operator Job Titles:
Are you confused about some of the Process Operator job titles mentioned in job listings? Job titles like Process Operator, Plant Operator, Process technician, Chemical Process Operator, Refinery Operator, Operations Technician, Light Hydrocarbon #9 Operator, and Unit Operator are all terms that describe a basic position, Process Operator.
A Process Operator is essentially a person who operates a chemical production process. A refinery and/or chemical plant is really just a super sized industrial chemistry set, and people have to operate it. Operating, is referring to starting/stopping the process and keeping it running. To operate a chemical process requires some typical equipment such as distillation towers, storage tanks, pumps, compressors, valves, and heat exchangers. At their core job, all Process Operators have the same job function, which is to operate the process units.
There are differences between a Refinery Operator job and Chemical Plant Operator job mainly relating to the size of the equipment, complexity of the processes, and real estate their units take up for equipment. Most refineries are older than equivalent chemical plant so the refineries tend to not have as many structural levels as where chemical plants tend to have many levels. Another difference is that refineries are really just one BIG process meaning it starts on one end and goes all the way through to coming out the back where a single chemical plant unit usually produces its own finished product. Refineries have much larger volumes of flow due to being one big process, so generally the piping and equipment is much larger that a chemical plant unit on the same size of real estate.
Please comment on this article if I can add anymore information to clarify. I hope this article cleared up some confusion. BTO