The field of process technology appeals to people who enjoy the challenges involved in using advanced computer technology and instrumentation to operate a variety of equipment systems and industrial processes. Process technology is defined as the study and application of the scientific principles associated with the operation and maintenance of the chemical processing industry (CPI).
Process technology programs prepare students for careers in petrochemical plants and refineries as process technicians/operators, research technicians or laboratory technicians. Process technicians can find employment in such diverse areas as paper and pulp, power generation, utilities, food and beverage, and pharmaceuticals. Job responsibilities include starting and stopping equipment systems, troubleshooting, safety and quality stewarding, periodic checking of equipment, and assigning repair jobs to the appropriate crafts. This is a world-class career with local and international opportunities.
What Skills Are Required?
The lifeblood of modern society is found in petroleum products. Process technicians are involved in the manufacture of chemicals and petroleum products that supports our global economy. The chemical processing industry (CPI) is anticipating severe shortages in skilled technicians to operate their plants. As the large baby boomer group quickly approaches retirement age, the CPI braces for a 70-80 percent employee turnover. This occupation shows a growth potential of 17 percent. Salary ranges for this occupation in the state of Texas vary from $42,000 to $75,000. The term “gold collar” is being applied to the field of process technology because senior level technicians can command incomes in the six-digit area.
The Process Technology Students Association was established to link past and present students to the programs information network. PTSA members communicate with each other about potential job openings, pre-employment testing and interviewing techniques.
The process technician of the future will have a specialized degree in process technology that will include instruction in engineering principles, physics, chemistry, process equipment and systems and operations. Process technicians will assume more of the tasks traditionally assigned to engineers and chemists. The tech of the future will need strong technical and problem solving skills, the ability to assimilate cutting edge technologies quickly and communicate effectively.