Chemical, Gas, Petroleum and Power Generation Plant Operators control the operation of chemical production equipment, pump gas and oil from wellheads, refine and process petroleum products, and operate boilers, turbogenerators and associated plant to generate electrical power.

    You usually need a certificate III or IV in a relevant field to work as a Chemical, Gas, Petroleum or Power Generation Plant Operator. Traineeships may be available.

    Tasks

    • controlling equipment performing continuous and batch processes to process chemicals and natural gas, manufacture refined petroleum products, and blend petroleum base stocks to produce commercial fuels, lubricating oils and asphalt
    • controlling the preparation, measuring and feeding of raw material and processing agents such as catalysts and filtering media into plant
    • patrolling and inspecting equipment to ensure proper operation and setting operating controls on equipment
    • analysing samples and readings and recording test data
    • controlling records of production, quantities transferred and details of blending and pumping operations
    • checking equipment for malfunctions and arranging maintenance
    • operating power generation plant controls to produce required load
    • monitoring operation of power generation plant and interpreting instrument readings
    • authorising procedures to isolate high-voltage and low-voltage electrical apparatus and plant
    • writing reports and maintaining records on equipment performance, instrument readings and switching operations
    • carrying out routine operating tests

    More about Chemical, Gas, Petroleum & Power Plant Operators

    All Chemical, Gas, Petroleum & Power Plant Operators

    All Chemical, Gas, Petroleum & Power Plant Operators

    • $3,082 Weekly Pay
    • Stable Future Growth
    • Unavailable Unemployment
    • 7,800 workers Employment Size
    • Medium skill Skill level rating
    • 95% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 51 hours Average full-time
    • 45 years Average age
    • 4% female Gender Share

    The number of people working as Chemical, Gas, Petroleum & Power Plant Operators (in their main job) fell over 5 years:
    from 9,800 in 2014 to 7,800 in 2019.

    Caution: The Australian jobs market is changing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These estimates do not take account of the impact of COVID-19. They may not reflect the current jobs market and should be used and interpreted with extreme caution.

    • Size: This is a small occupation.
    • Location: Chemical, Gas, Petroleum & Power Plant Operators work in many parts of Australia. Western Australia has a large share of workers.
    • Industries: Most work in Manufacturing; Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services; and Mining.
    • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $3,082 per week (higher than the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • Full-time: Most work full-time (95%, much higher than the average of 66%).
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 51 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 45 years (compared to the average of 40 years). Many workers are 45 years or older (53%).
    • Gender: 4% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Caution: The 2019 employment projections do not take account of any impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and are therefore no longer reflective of current labour market conditions. As such, they should be used, and interpreted, with extreme caution. Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, National Skills Commission trend data to May 2019 and projections to 2024.
    YearNumber of Workers
    20098800
    20109300
    201110100
    201210900
    20139200
    20149800
    20158900
    201610000
    201711400
    20188900
    20197800
    20247800

    Weekly Earnings

    Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

    Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (cat. no. 6306.0), May 2018, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
    EarningsChemical, Gas, Petroleum and Power Plant OperatorsAll Jobs Average
    Full-Time Earnings30821460

    Main Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
    Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
    Manufacturing33.5
    Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services27.0
    Mining25.6
    Construction2.9
    Other Industries11.0

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateChemical, Gas, Petroleum and Power Plant OperatorsAll Jobs Average
    NSW17.831.6
    VIC22.325.6
    QLD24.220.0
    SA7.27.0
    WA23.710.8
    TAS1.52.0
    NT3.01.0
    ACT0.11.9

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketChemical, Gas, Petroleum and Power Plant OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-190.2-5.05.0
    20-241.8-9.39.3
    25-3417.8-22.922.9
    35-4427.2-22.022.0
    45-5431.3-21.621.6
    55-5913.3-9.09.0
    60-646.4-6.06.0
    65 and Over1.8-4.24.2

    Education Level

    Highest Level of Education (% Share)

    Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
    Type of QualificationChemical, Gas, Petroleum and Power Plant OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate1.9-10.110.1
    Bachelor degree7.1-21.821.8
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma14.4-11.611.6
    Certificate III/IV53.5-21.121.1
    Year 129.8-18.118.1
    Year 113.6-4.84.8
    Year 10 and below9.7-12.512.5

    You usually need a certificate III or IV in a relevant field to work as a Chemical, Gas, Petroleum or Power Generation Plant Operator. Traineeships may be available.

    Checks, licences and tickets

    You may need:

    • high risk work licence
    • forklift licence

    Thinking about study or training?

    Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

    • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
    • You might be interested in Resources and Infrastructure Industry, Gas Industry, National Water Industry, Chemical, Hydrocarbons & Refining, Electricity Supply Industry - Generation Sector VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

    Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

    Useful links and resources


    The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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    Filter Skills & Knowledge

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    1. Mechanical

      48% Skill level

      Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

    2. Mathematics

      44% Skill level

      Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

    3. Physics

      42% Skill level

      The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.

    4. Computers and electronics

      42% Skill level

      Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

    5. Education and training

      41% Skill level

      Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 51-8013.00 - Power Plant Operators.

    Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

    Filter Work Environment

    Demands

    The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

    1. Wear common protective or safety equipment

      100% Important

      Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.

    2. Loud or uncomfortable sounds

      98% Important

      Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.

    3. Dangerous conditions

      96% Important

      Work near dangers like high voltage electricity, flammable material, explosives or chemicals.

    4. Face-to-face discussions

      94% Important

      Talk with people face-to-face.

    5. Indoors, not heat controlled

      93% Important

      Work indoors without heating or cooling (e.g., warehouse without heat).

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 51-8013.00 - Power Plant Operators.

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