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Separating, Filtering, Clarifying, Precipitating, and Still Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
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Description: what do they do?
Set up, operate, or tend continuous flow or vat-type equipment; filter presses; shaker screens; centrifuges; condenser tubes; precipitating, fermenting, or evaporating tanks; scrubbing towers; or batch stills. These machines extract, sort, or separate liquids, gases, or solids from other materials to recover a refined product. Includes dairy processing equipment operators.
Also known as:
Digester Cook, Blender / Cook, Plant Operator, Cheese Maker, Paper Machine Tender, Cellar Worker, Machine Tender, Winemaker, Brewer, Pulper 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: Whether they’re brewers, cheesemakers, or paper producers, workers with the formal title of separating, filtering, clarifying, precipitating, and still machine workers, operate equipment that separates liquid, gases, and solids out to yield a refined product. These workers might operate a centrifuge to separate ingredients of different density, run an evaporating tank to reduce water content, or dump materials into containers for storage, but it’s their attention to detail and constant watchfulness that distinguishes a perfect batch from a spoiled result. Mistakes can ruin batches and set back production schedules; as well as wasting money and supplies. Keeping tanks, pipes, and other equipment sterile is crucial. These workers frequently inspect machines, and test product samples to ensure correct processing. Work environments in warehouses and production facilities may have particularly high or low temperatures, and expose workers to chemicals that may be hazardous. The work can be physically challenging, and protective gear is worn most of the time. Schedules may be long, often exceeding 40 hours a week. Most positions require a high school diploma or equivalent.
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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
47,200
2016 Employment
47,300
2026 Employment
0%
Percent change
5,000
Annual projected job openings

    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 Separating, Filtering, Clarifying, Precipitating, and Still Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationUnited States
10%$24,510
25%$30,470
Median$39,040
75%$51,570
90%$64,900


    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

    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

    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
  • Load materials into production equipment.
  • Monitor instruments to ensure proper production conditions.
  • Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of production materials or products.
  • Operate mixing equipment.
  • Operate pumping systems or equipment.
  • Adjust temperature controls of ovens or other heating equipment.
  • Test chemical or physical characteristics of materials or products.
  • Inspect production equipment.
  • Measure ingredients or substances to be used in production processes.
  • Collect samples of materials or products for testing.
  • Exchange information with colleagues.
  • Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of water, cleaning solutions, or other liquids.
  • Maintain production or processing equipment.
  • Install mechanical components in production equipment.
  • Clear equipment jams.
  • Record operational or production data.
  • Repair production equipment or tools.
  • Clean work areas.
  • Clean production equipment.
  • Connect supply lines to production equipment or tools.
  • Assemble machine tools, parts, or fixtures.
  • Position containers to receive materials or workpieces.
  • Package products for storage or shipment.

    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.

    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.

    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:
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Perceptual Speed - Quickly comparing groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - Keeping your arm or hand steady.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.

    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
  • Dump, pour, or load specified amounts of refined or unrefined materials into equipment or containers for further processing or storage.
  • Monitor material flow or instruments such as temperature or pressure gauges, indicators, or meters to ensure optimal processing conditions.
  • Turn valves or move controls to admit, drain, separate, filter, clarify, mix, or transfer materials.
  • Set up or adjust machine controls to regulate conditions such as material flow, temperature, or pressure.
  • Examine samples to verify qualities such as clarity, cleanliness, consistency, dryness, or texture.
  • Start agitators, shakers, conveyors, pumps, or centrifuge machines.
  • Inspect machines or equipment for hazards, operating efficiency, malfunctions, wear, or leaks.
  • Test samples to determine viscosity, acidity, specific gravity, or degree of concentration, using test equipment such as viscometers, pH meters, or hydrometers.
  • Measure or weigh materials to be refined, mixed, transferred, stored, or otherwise processed.
  • Collect samples of materials or products for laboratory analysis.
  • Communicate processing instructions to other workers.
  • Turn valves to pump sterilizing solutions or rinse water through pipes or equipment or to spray vats with atomizers.
  • Install, maintain, or repair hoses, pumps, filters, or screens to maintain processing equipment, using hand tools.
  • Remove clogs, defects, or impurities from machines, tanks, conveyors, screens, or other processing equipment.
  • Maintain logs of instrument readings, test results, or shift production for entry in computer databases.
  • Clean or sterilize tanks, screens, inflow pipes, production areas, or equipment, using hoses, brushes, scrapers, or chemical solutions.
  • Connect pipes between vats and processing equipment.
  • Assemble fittings, valves, bowls, plates, disks, impeller shafts, or other parts to prepare equipment for operation.
  • Remove full containers from discharge outlets and replace them with empty containers.
  • Pack bottles into cartons or crates, using machines.

    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.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.