Chemical/Refining Process Technician

Recognized Skill Standards
October 20, 2009


The Center for the Advancement of Process Technology (CAPT), along with its various alliance partners, including Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium, California Chemical & Process Technology Alliance, and many others from around the nation, and working through a National Science Foundation grant, developed the Chemical/Refining Process Technician skill standards.

The skill standards were submitted for recognition in January 2005, by the Gulf Coast Process Technology Alliance (GCPTA) on behalf of its industry partners in Texas. GCPTA is an industry-driven non-profit organization of community colleges and industry and an active member of CAPT.

On October 20, 2009, the updated Chemical/Refining Process Technician skill standards were recognized at the request of the GCPTA.


CAPT recruited an Industry Technical Advisory Committee (ITAC) made up of major chemical and refining employers in Texas such as ExxonMobil, Valero Refining Company, Shell Chemical Company, BP Amoco, and Chevron Phillips to participate in the initial development of the skill standards.

Developers used the DACUM (Developing a Curriculum) method to conduct a job analysis to collect, synthesize, and organize job data. The ITAC selected subject matter experts (SMEs) that would represent diversity in company size and in geographic and demographic areas of the state. During the overall DACUM process over 300 contacts with business and industry were made. The DACUM information was aggregated and work-related skill standards information was defined over the course of several focus group sessions with SMEs. Sessions were conducted using teleconference and other communication methods. Online editing and teleconferences with SMEs ensured a consensus-based output from the process.

The skill standards developed through the SME sessions underwent rigorous validation during a series of on-site focus group, telephone, and internet feedback sessions. Session participants were invited based on the need to assure that demographic distributions were fairly maintained. The companies that responded to the invitation were classified according to size and other criteria. Sixty seven (67) operators/technicians from sixteen (16) regions in the state with the heaviest concentration of chemical and refining companies participated in the validation process.

For the 2009 review, the GCPTA recruited experts from several chemical or petroleum refining companies with plants in Texas, including Sun Products, Eastman Chemical, Shell Oil, Lyondell Basell, and Lubrizol, to participate in an online survey to identify necessary skills and knowledge for each key activity. A separate group of experts reviewed the initial survey output and provided secondary response data to further clarify skill and knowledge groupings. Finally, the experts reviewed and validated the suggested revisions to the skill standards based on their years of industry experience, and recommended changes to reflect updated work practices in the field.

Importance to Texas

Between Chemical Equipment Operators and Tenders (SOC 51-9011), Chemical Plant and System Operators (SOC 51-8091), and Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators and Gaugers (SOC 51-8093), state labor market information data suggests that the number of jobs is expected to drop from approximately 30,000 jobs in 2006 to just over 21,000 jobs in 2016. The average hourly wage between the three occupations is about $26.00.