Plant Operations

The Plant Operations Program appeals to people who enjoy the challenges involved in using advanced computer technology and instrumentation to operate a variety of equipment systems and industrial processes. Process technology is defined as the study and application of the scientific principles associated with the operation and maintenance of the chemical processing industry (CPI). 

Plant operations program prepares students for careers in Industrial plants and refineries as process technicians/operators, research technicians or laboratory technicians. Plant technicians can find employment in such diverse areas as paper and pulp, power generation, utilities, food and beverage, and pharmaceuticals. Job responsibilities include starting and stopping equipment systems, troubleshooting, safety and quality stewarding, periodic checking of equipment, and assigning repair jobs to the appropriate crafts.  The Plant Operations classes are hands on classes are therefore not available on-line.  

Program Learning Outcomes 

  • Students will use a systematic and safe approach to identify the root cause of problems with industrial equipment, and develop a solution. 
  • Students will identify concepts, principles, and operation of industrial equipment. 
  • Students will demonstrate effective and appropriate communication techniques with peers, employees and supervisors. 
  • Students will be able to deliver an organized oral presentation with a clear purpose, appropriate structure, sufficient evidence and content.

Process technicians are involved in the manufacture of chemicals and petroleum products that supports our global economy. The processing industry  is anticipating severe shortages in skilled technicians to operate their plants. As the large baby boomer group quickly approaches retirement age. 

Many are expected to be hired while they are still students.   

Why Choose Western? 

  • Needed in MULTIPLE industries: mining, energy, wind, power plants, and manufacturing.
  • Strong connections with local industries.
  • Learn alongside adult students who are employees in these industries because many industries send their employees to Western.
  • The ONLY college in the state with a schedule that allows you to take 3-credit courses in 5-week blocks (Monday-Thursday) in 3 hour blocks; morning, afternoon, or evening blocks. 
  • Take 2 courses during each 5 weekblock; Concentrate and learn only 2 subjects at a time. 
  • Complete  18 credits in one semester.