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Biofuels Processing Technicians
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Description: what do they do?
Calculate, measure, load, mix, and process refined feedstock with additives in fermentation or reaction process vessels and monitor production process. Perform, and keep records of, plant maintenance, repairs, and safety inspections.
Also known as:
Production Operator, Board Operator, Process Operator, Chemical Operator, Process Technician, Biofuels Processing Technician, Operator, Mash Preparatory Operator, Kettle Operator, Ethanol Operator

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: The development of alternative energy production relies on a backbone of technicians to operate energy generation systems and equipment. Alternative energy plant and system technicians operate machinery such as valves, pumps, and generators to produce energy. They monitor gauges and meters to ensure safe, efficient production, and adjust equipment as needed. They also inspect equipment, and perform maintenance and repairs. These technicians work with a variety of fuel sources: Corn, sugarcane, soybeans and other plants are used to produce biofuels. Technicians operate centrifuges and other equipment to produce biofuels at a steady rate of production; they later lab-test fuel to ensure quality and consistency. Methane gas is collected from landfills, where it rises from solid waste decomposing in municipal stations. Technicians monitor the environment, maintain pumps and blower systems, and troubleshoot problems that occur as gases are captured, converted, and used as a renewable energy resource. Woody materials and animal manure are the primary sources of biomass that technicians convert into energy. They adjust energy production, and record readings on meters and gauges. At hydropower stations, the force of water released from a dam turns the blades of a turbine, generating electricity. Technicians keep generators and other equipment functioning properly. Jobs in these fields usually require a high school diploma, although hydroelectric plant technicians may need related technical training or an associate's degree.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
United States
12,100
2016 Employment
12,400
2026 Employment
2%
Percent change
1,200
Annual projected job openings
You’re seeing projected employment information for Plant and System Operators, All Other because we don’t have information for Biofuels Processing Technicians.

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Plant and System Operators, All Other* in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
* You’re seeing wages for Plant and System Operators, All Other because we don’t have information for Biofuels Processing Technicians.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationUnited States
10%$33,130
25%$42,920
Median$56,330
75%$69,010
90%$80,680


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2017 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • No work experience
  • 1 to 12 months on-the-job training

You’re seeing education information for Plant and System Operators, All Other because we don’t have information for Biofuels Processing Technicians. Please note the information may not be the same for both occupations.

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained
You’re seeing education information for Plant and System Operators, All Other because we don’t have information for Biofuels Processing Technicians. Please note the information may not be the same for both occupations.

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Monitor biofuel production operations.
  • Operate pumping systems or equipment.
  • Operate biomass or biofuel production equipment.
  • Record operational or production data.
  • Collect samples of materials or products for testing.
  • Evaluate quality of materials or products.
  • Prepare biological feedstock for physical, chemical, or biological processing.
  • Inspect sustainable energy production facilities or equipment.
  • Notify others of equipment repair or maintenance needs.
  • Measure stock or liquid levels in sustainable fuel production systems.
  • Calculate specific material, equipment, or labor requirements for production.
  • Load materials into production equipment.
  • Measure ingredients or substances to be used in production processes.
  • Direct operational or production activities.
  • Clean work areas.
  • Maintain sustainable energy production equipment.
  • Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of water, cleaning solutions, or other liquids.
  • Replace worn equipment components.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working.
  • Operation and Control - Using equipment or systems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Testing how well a product or service works.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Control Precision - Quickly changing the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Manual Dexterity - Holding or moving items with your hands.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Reaction Time - Quickly moving your hand, finger, or foot based on a sound, light, picture or other command.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - Noticing the difference between colors, including shades and brightness.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - Keeping your arm or hand steady.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Selective Attention - Paying attention to something without being distracted.
  • Perceptual Speed - Quickly comparing groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Monitor batch, continuous flow, or hybrid biofuels production processes.
  • Operate valves, pumps, engines, or generators to control and adjust biofuels production.
  • Monitor and record biofuels processing data.
  • Collect biofuels samples and perform routine laboratory tests or analyses to assess biofuels quality.
  • Operate equipment, such as a centrifuge, to extract biofuels products and secondary by-products or reusable fractions.
  • Process refined feedstock with additives in fermentation or reaction process vessels.
  • Operate chemical processing equipment for the production of biofuels.
  • Monitor and record flow meter performance.
  • Inspect biofuels plant or processing equipment regularly, recording or reporting damage and mechanical problems.
  • Measure and monitor raw biofuels feedstock.
  • Preprocess feedstock in preparation for physical, chemical, or biological fuel production processes.
  • Calculate, measure, load, or mix refined feedstock used in biofuels production.
  • Monitor stored biofuels products or secondary by-products until reused or transferred to users.
  • Coordinate raw product sourcing or collection.
  • Assess the quality of biofuels additives for reprocessing.
  • Clean biofuels processing work area, ensuring compliance with safety regulations.
  • Perform routine maintenance on mechanical, electrical, or electronic equipment or instruments used in the processing of biofuels.
  • Calibrate liquid flow devices and meters, including fuel, chemical, and water meters.
  • Rebuild, repair, or replace biofuels processing equipment components.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.