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Career profile Pump Operator

Also known as Chemical Operator, Day Light Relief Operator, Outside Operator, Pipeline Operator, Process Operator, Pump Station Operator, Pumper, Purification Operator, Tank Car Loader

Pump Operator

Also known as Chemical Operator, Day Light Relief Operator, Outside Operator

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$30,200 - $81,290 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Monitor gauges and flowmeters and inspect equipment to ensure that tank levels, temperatures, chemical amounts, and pressures are at specified levels, reporting abnormalities as necessary.
  • Record operating data such as products and quantities pumped, gauge readings, and operating times, manually or using computers.
  • Plan movement of products through lines to processing, storage, and shipping units, using knowledge of interconnections and capacities of pipelines, valve manifolds, pumps, and tankage.
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What does a Pump Operator do?

Pump Operators tend, control, or operate power-driven, stationary, or portable pumps and manifold systems to transfer gases, oil, other liquids, slurries, or powdered materials to and from various vessels and processes.

What kind of tasks does a Pump Operator perform regularly?

Pump Operators are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Monitor gauges and flowmeters and inspect equipment to ensure that tank levels, temperatures, chemical amounts, and pressures are at specified levels, reporting abnormalities as necessary.
  • Record operating data such as products and quantities pumped, gauge readings, and operating times, manually or using computers.
  • Plan movement of products through lines to processing, storage, and shipping units, using knowledge of interconnections and capacities of pipelines, valve manifolds, pumps, and tankage.
  • Turn valves and start pumps to start or regulate flows of substances such as gases, liquids, slurries, or powdered materials.
  • Communicate with other workers, using signals, radios, or telephones, to start and stop flows of materials or substances.
  • Connect hoses and pipelines to pumps and vessels prior to material transfer, using hand tools.
  • Tend vessels that store substances such as gases, liquids, slurries, or powdered materials, checking levels of substances by using calibrated rods or by reading mercury gauges and tank charts.
  • Clean, lubricate, and repair pumps and vessels, using hand tools and equipment.
  • Read operating schedules or instructions or receive verbal orders to determine amounts to be pumped.
  • Test materials and solutions, using testing equipment.

The above responsibilities are specific to Pump Operators. More generally, Pump Operators are involved in several broader types of activities:

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.

What is a Pump Operator salary?

The median salary for a Pump Operator is $48,090, and the average salary is $51,830. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Pump Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Pump Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Pump Operators earn less than $30,200 per year, 25% earn less than $37,140, 75% earn less than $63,510, and 90% earn less than $81,290.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Pump Operators is expected to change by 12.6%, and there should be roughly 1,400 open positions for Pump Operators every year.

Median annual salary
$48,090
Typical salary range
$30,200 - $81,290
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
12.6%

What personality traits are common among Pump Operators?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Pump Operator are usually higher in their Realistic, Conventional, and Investigative interests.

Pump Operators typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Pump Operators typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Lastly, Pump Operators typically have moderate Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Pump Operator tend to value Support, Relationships, and Independence.

Most importantly, Pump Operators strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Pump Operators moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Pump Operators moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Pump Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, independence, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Pump Operators, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Achievement/Effort
Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

What education and training do Pump Operators need?

Working as a Pump Operator usually requires a high school diploma.

Pump Operators need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Pump Operators

  • 14.0% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 43.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 22.3% completed some college coursework
  • 7.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 10.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.2% earned a Master's degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Pump Operators

Pump Operators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, mechanical, or mathematics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Pump Operators might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

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.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Important Abilities needed by Pump Operators

Pump Operators must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Pump Operators need abilities such as near vision, oral comprehension, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Pump Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Perceptual Speed
The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Pump Operators

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Pump Operators frequently use skills like operations monitoring, monitoring, and operation and control to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Pump Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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