Source: Pathways to Technology: "Process Technology Student Profile: Jason Canales"
In this video adapted from Pathways to Technology, learn about process technology and the career of a process technician, also known as a process operator. Process technology is what turns chemicals into products, from oil and gas to cosmetics and rubber soles for shoes. The process technician keeps the machines that process chemicals running smoothly. Jason Canales is studying to become a process technician. He explains what brought him to this field and why he wants to work at a refinery or a chemical plant after he graduates. Jason visits a factory to better understand how his classwork can be applied in the real world.
In chemical plants and refineries, various liquids move through labyrinths of valves, pipes, boilers, and other equipment. It's a process technician's job to keep track of all of these movements.
That’s the career Jason Canales wants, and is studying for, at community college. “There are a lot of opportunities in this industry,” says Jason. He became interested in process technology because his father worked in a chemical plant, but with today’s advances in technology, Jason knows he’s entering an ever-changing field.
Process technology involves every aspect of chemical processing: extracting chemicals such as oil and natural gas, refining them, and carefully monitoring the processes that make it all happen. Special instrumentation, pumps, turbines, and compressors are designed to monitor and separate the chemicals that make up the countless products we use everyday.
A process technician is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the production processes in a facility. She or he monitors equipment, operation, and safety systems, and may also assist in installing and repairing equipment (such as pumps, compressors, and electric motors) involved in production processes.
Jason is preparing to do all that. “I’m very interested in looking at process variables, like learning how to manipulate valves,” he says. Jason has been watching process technicians at work at a local plant, and learning from them about their hands-on work.
A degree in process technology opens doors in many industries, including pharmaceuticals, food processing, power plants, and offshore oil drilling. “I’ve always been fascinated with science,” says Jason; “There’s so much technology out there, and it’s still growing.”
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