Chemical plant process operator

Science, mathematics and statistics

Career outlook for chemical plant process operator

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would check and run the machines that make products like paints, plastics, cosmetics and toiletries.

The way in which these products are made is changing as we look for green and sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. Every day people all over the country, and even all over the world, would use the items you have helped to produce.  

It would be your responsibility to follow manufacturing procedures and make sure the machines were operated safely. 

You would:

  • Set up the machines
  • Measure, weigh, mix and load materials
  • Check meter readings and adjust the machines
  • Take product samples and record the data for quality checks
  • Pack finished items into barrels, tanks or containers
  • Close down and clean the machines
  • Carry out small repairs
  • Report any major problems
  • Follow health and safety guidelines carefully.

Your work would be supervised by a shift manager and an engineer.

Working conditions


You would normally work about 40 hours a week on a shift system, which could include nights and weekends.


You would be based in a chemical processing plant, and you would wear protective overalls, safety glasses and boots for most tasks.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Reading
  • Problem solving
  • Working with numbers
  • Observation
  • Attention to detail
  • Managing resources
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Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

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Although there aren't any required qualifications many employers would value a good general education and qualifications at National 4 and 5 (SCQF level 4/5).

Useful subjects

  • Science subjects
  • Technologies subjects
  • Maths
  • English

You will also need

The recruitment process may involve aptitude tests to check your suitability for the role.

You may have to undergo a medical and you should have good eyesight and colour vision. 

Helpful to have

Relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Process Manufacture (SCQF level 6/7) or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.