What does a Refinery Operator do?

Learn all about Refinery Operator duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Refinery Operator.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A refinery operator is responsible for the safe and efficient operation of a refinery. They work closely with other refinery staff to ensure that the refinery is running smoothly and that all safety procedures are followed.

Refinery Operator job duties include:

  • Operates process units in a petroleum refinery
  • Starts up, shuts down, and controls the units
  • Monitors process parameters and makes necessary adjustments to maintain optimal operation
  • Troubleshoots process upsets and takes corrective action as needed
  • Loads and unloads feedstock and products
  • Adjusts process variables to maximize production of desired products within quality specifications
  • Monitors product quality and initiates corrective action if necessary
  • Maintains accurate records of operating data
  • Performs routine maintenance on process equipment

Refinery Operator Job Requirements

A Refinery Operator must have a high school diploma or equivalent. They must also complete an approved apprenticeship program or have two years of experience working in an oil refinery. Some states require a license to work as a Refinery Operator.

Refinery Operator Skills

  • Operating experience
  • Refinery processes
  • Troubleshooting
  • Maintenance
  • Instrumentation
  • Control systems
  • Safety
  • Environmental regulations
  • Quality control
  • Teamwork
  • Communication

Related: Top Refinery Operator Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Refinery Operator

A refinery operator controls the operations in a petroleum refinery. They are responsible for the safety of the workers and the quality of the product. Refinery operators must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some jobs may require post-secondary education, such as an Associate’s degree in chemical engineering. Many operators learn through on-the-job training. New employees typically start out as trainees under the supervision of a more experienced operator.

The first step to becoming a refinery operator is to obtain a high school diploma or equivalent. Then, research what type of post-secondary education, if any, is required for the position you are interested in. Many operators learn through on-the-job training, so look for opportunities to gain experience in the field. Once you have the necessary education and experience, you can apply for jobs as a refinery operator.

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