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Northern to Offer Chemical Operator Degree
In its continuing effort to match skilled workers with high demand jobs, West Virginia Northern Community College is implementing plans to launch a new degree program on the New Martinsville campus, an associate in applied science in Chemical Operator Technology.
New Martinsville Campus Dean Larry Tackett is serving as academic advisor for the new program that’s open to students from throughout the region. He explained the lecture and lab-based curriculum prepares students to be employed as operators in the chemical process industry.
Northern’s program is being offered in an accelerated format, four 10-week sessions that begin July 3 and end on April 15 of next year. Tackett said special admission criteria apply, with a mandatory orientation workshop preceding the program, including CPR/First Aid certification and fast track developmental courses for those who require any remediation. The program features a co-requisite model in mathematics during the first session and built in supplemental instruction, academic advising, career preparation and industry relationship building as well as a student navigator to assist in guiding and supporting students from admission to completion.
A chemical process operator works in the safe production, refining and transfer of various chemicals in three states of matter - solid, liquid and gas. In operating equipment, the operator must observe, interpret and record data from gauges, instruments, computer displays, logbooks and laboratory analysis data. The operator will need to make changes in pressure, flow, temperature, level and other parameters by operating control devices including valves, switches and levers.
Tackett added that operators also may be required to operate moving equipment such as aerial work platforms, forklifts and track mobiles. Minor maintenance activities requiring the use of hand tools frequently are required of operators. The operators must be able to solve simple math problems and be able to run lab tests to assure quality products are being made. An operator must have good written and verbal communication skills. Being able to recognize unusual conditions and troubleshoot problems are essential traits for a chemical operator.
The chemical processing industry, Tackett said, is anticipating severe shortages in skilled technicians to operate their plants. For more information, contact New Martinsville Campus Counselor Ina Robinson at 304-510-8769 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.