Entry Level Refinery Operator Job Description


Refinery jobs include a heavy dose of excitement. The common belief is that a prospective oil rig worker has to have some sort of advanced degree. However, there are entry-level refinery operator jobs that can be easily accessible for those who can fulfill some minimum requirements and have a predisposition to work in sometimes dangerous environments in the middle of the sea. Needless to say, this is a tough job for tough people.


  • An entry-level refinery operator ensures that equipment is used and processes are carried out correctly through efficient maintenance. One of your priorities will be to detect probable malfunctions to avoid interruptions or delays. You'll collect information and take samples during different phases of the process flow to verify product quality. As such, you must be able to understand and apply technical recommendations to correct or improve refining processes. A refinery operator is also responsible for launching processes according to the specifications of work orders. The procedure schedules are essential documents to organize your job. You must continually read, follow and be on top of the procedures. At the beginning and end of your assigned shift, you must communicate well with your peers and supervisors to ensure smooth transitions. As an additional duty, a refinery operator should join the fire brigade or any other emergency team when necessary.

Basic Qualifications

  • To apply for an entry-level refinery operator job, you must be legally able to work in the United States. A high school or GED diploma and a driver's license are also requirements. Although a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is not an initial requisite, you must at least have the documentation to obtain it once you are hired. Due to standard conditions in refinery plants, you should be able to work rotating shifts, overtime, in enclosed and hot spaces, in high locations and near high-pressure oil products, acids and other chemical materials. You will use protective equipment for the feet, eyes, face and body. Some extra physical and intellectual conditions are also required because you will have to climb to high surfaces, lift heavy loads, understand technical documentation and operate computer systems that supervise refinery processes.

Desirable Qualifications

  • Some additional qualifications related to the refinery operation job will help you get the position when you're up against well-prepared competitors. Your possible employer will appreciate an associate degree in process technology, training in emergency response, knowledge of the refining process, as well as mechanical and chemical knowledge.


  • The most important competencies for an entry-level refinery operator are adaptability, a positive attitude, teamwork, achievement orientation, an analytical ability, effective communication and diversity orientation.

Workplace Environment

  • An entry-level refinery operator can be hired to work on oil platforms onshore or offshore. Entry-level employees in this field have to be committed to hard work. You must be able to handle heavy loads and work in closed tanks or high locations. Depending on the assigned unit, you could be responsible for repairing or cleaning equipment. You also typically need to operate equipment and computer programs. An offshore assignment requires that you be highly adaptable. You have to travel and be away from your family, often for long periods of time. Furthermore, you could face a wide variety of weather conditions during your offshore work, including cyclones, hurricanes and other dangerous natural phenomena. Hot and high-speed equipment, proximity to chemical materials and rotating shifts make this a tough and challenging job.

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