1. Home: Explore careers
  2. Chemical plant process operator

Chemical plant process operator

Alternative titles for this job include Chemical process operator, chemical plant worker

Chemical plant process operators control machinery that makes products like paints, plastics, solvents and cosmetics.

Average salary (a year)

£22,000 Starter


£34,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

40 to 44 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Chemical plant process operator

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could take a college course, which would give you some of the skills and knowledge that might help you to get a job as a trainee. 

For example:

  • chemistry
  • science
  • applied science

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

More Information


You could apply for an apprenticeship, for example:

  • Science Manufacturing Process Operative Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship
  • Polymer Processing Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Science Manufacturing Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Process Industry Manufacturing Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship

These apprenticeships can take between 2 and 3 years to complete. They combine on-the-job training with off-site study.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Direct Application

You can apply directly for jobs. Some employers may ask for GCSEs in maths, English, IT and a science subject, or equivalent qualifications.

More Information

Career tips

Previous experience in the manufacturing and processing industries would be an advantage, as would forklift truck training.

Further information

You can find more details about careers and training in the chemicals industry from Cogent Skills.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • observation and recording skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • concentration skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a chemical plant process operator, you'll:

  • set up production machinery
  • mix and load raw materials into tanks
  • monitor instruments and make adjustments to settings
  • take routine samples and record data for lab quality checks
  • package up finished products and move them to storage areas
  • clean and maintain production lines
  • follow strict health and safety rules and report technical problems

Working environment

You could work at a manufacturing plant or in a laboratory.

Your working environment may be noisy.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into:

  • shift supervision
  • quality control
  • machine maintenance
  • health and safety
  • training

With further study, you could become a manufacturing process technician or process lead.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Process Technician Advanced Apprenticeship - Venator

  • Wage: £12,646.40 a year Annually
  • Location: Tees Road, Hartlepool

Paper Maker Manufacturing Apprentice

  • Wage: £24,336 a year Annually
  • Location: Goyt Side Road, Chesterfield

Courses In England

Applied Science

  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: London

Applied Science

  • Start date: 03 September 2024
  • Location: Leeds

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Is this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. Click here if you'd like to let us know how we can improve the service.