PTEC “Process Technology Degree”

What is PTEC or P-tech?

PTEC is an abbreviation for process technology. This is a degree path to getting a Process Operator job. In this degree curriculum, you will gain the basic, and conceptual knowledge needed to become a Process Operator. Some areas of the country today are moving toward requiring this degree for applicants to be considered for a job. Shell and Dow both draw applicants directly from PTEC student pools.

So what is this degree about? Like I said earlier, this degree gives you the basic conceptual understanding needed to become a Process Operator. Meaning you will learn college level English. Yes you do need to know how to write, speak, and use grammar correctly. Your first use of it will be putting your resume together, then going on your first Process Operator interview. Once you get your first Process Operator job, you will be communicating with you bosses a lot through email. You need to know how to write correctly. Take your time, and proof read what you have to say, because words in writing last forever, and you do not want to make your bosses think you less intelligent than you really are. You will learn some math, a college level algebra. Will you need this daily in your role as a Process Operator? No, but you will possibly be asked very basic algebra questions on the test for you to get hired. Next you will learn a college level chemistry course. Pay attention here, this is what your units will do doing. A process unit is nothing but a large industrial chemistry set. Again on the basic concepts will actually apply, but you should always do your best when given the opportunity to learn. Lastly, you will learn about process. This is the meat and potatoes about what your job will involve. They will teach you how distillation works, the types of pumps, valves, and compressors that are out there. PTEC will give you the tools to build your process knowledge. If, and only if you pay attention, ask questions, and truly trying to understand what is going on, and how everything works together will you gain that process knowledge.

Do I need a PTEC degree to get a Process Operator job? Like I said earlier, it depends on there area you live, and the companies you want to apply to.

Will getting a PTEC degree guarantee me getting a Process Operator job? The quick answer is NO, there are no guarantees in life. If anyone tells you differently, run the other direction. 

Will getting a PTEC degree HELP me get a Process Operator job? As long as you maintain a good GPA, YES it will help you. It will help you by potentially getting you exposure to companies that hire Process Operators through career fairs, internships, or job postings. It will definitely look good on your resume as well.

I am a PTEC student, should I take a Process Technology internship? Absolutely! That is the fastest way for you to get a job offer from a company. It’s a good idea in general, because you will get to work at that site, and for the company that would be hiring you. You will also get a taste of what working shift work is all about. You will also get to see what its like to be a new Process Operator at a new job. Being a new Operator can be a hard and daunting task.


The 2 best pieces of advice I will you if you have reached this page, and are interested in PTEC.

  1. Do not enroll in a for profit school’s PTEC program. They likely do not have the connections to put you in touch with companies that hire Process Operators. No large petrochemical plant deals with shady for profit schools. I am not going to say any schools name, but I will tell you how to tell what a for profit school is. Are they charging you for the whole degree up front? Is the degree cost well over 10k? Is it a state owned institution? Ask those questions to determine if the school is legit. The degree is only good as the schools name that offers it.
  2. Having a PTEC degree does not instantly make you a good Process Operator. All experienced Operators cringe when they here they are getting a new hire with a PTEC degree. Why you ask? PTEC graduates have a bad reputation for coming into their first Process Operator job thinking that they know more that they really do, and don’t like to be told other wise. That is a huge mistake! You will be alienated from the rest of the Operators, and no one will bend over back wards to try and help you. Having a PTEC degree can be a great thing. Go to your first job, and humble yourself. Ask the experienced Process Operators to teach you how to apply the knowledge, and skills you may have learned. Gain an understanding of how your equipment and process operates.



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