The business of extracting natural resources from the earth is important. According to College Board, the United States gets most of its energy from oil and natural gas. A pump technician operates pumps to transfer gases, oil and other materials from one vessel to another. A pump technician may also be known as a pump operator.
According to the Occupational Information Network, a pump technician determines how much material to pump through schedules, instructions or verbal orders. Schedules are typically set up by production supervisors or petroleum engineers. Workers also clean, lubricate and fix pumps and vessels. Using hand tools, pump technicians connect pipelines and hoses to vessels and pumps before the material is transferred. A pump technician turns valves and begins pumps to begin or regulate the flow of substances. Workers monitor gauges and inspect equipment to make sure that the flow is running smoothly. If necessary, a pump technician reports any abnormalities. Pump operators work as a team by communicating with other workers by signal, radio or telephone to start or stop flows. Workers record data, such as products, quantities and times.
Environment and Hours
Pump operators work at on-site locations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These workers operate pumps, equipment and machinery to transfer or extract gases, oil and other materials. Operators typically work shifts that are eight hours or longer. In industries that work around-the-clock, operators may work beyond normal business hours.
Education and Training
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, little or no educational requirements exist for this line of work. Many employers may seek applicants with a minimum of a high school diploma or GED. Most require workers to be at least 18 years of age. Skills are typically learned informally on the job from experienced employees or supervisors.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pump operators earned a national mean hourly wage of $19.95 and a national mean annual wage of $41,490 in May 2009. The industries that employed the highest number of pump operators were the support activities for mining industry with a mean annual wage of $42,110; oil and gas extraction, $40,490; petroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers, $40,850; basic chemical manufacturing, $44,980; and petroleum and coal products manufacturing, $44,360.
According to the National Employment Matrix from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for pumping station operators is expected to decrease at a rate of 25 percent through 2018. The reason for the decrease will be due to an increase in automation.