Gas Plant Operators: Salary Overview
Gas plant operators distribute and process gas for utility companies and make sure that a specified pressure is maintained on the main pipelines.
Their job description typically includes adjusting pressure, temperature, and other indexes, controlling equipment that regulates pressure and flow of gas, controlling fractioning columns, determining causes of abnormalities, monitoring equipment, performing tests, and keeping operations records.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for gas plant operators was $70,710 as of May 2019 which means that half of all workers in this occupation earned less than this amount and half earned more.
Salaries vary depending on the industry of employment, the region, but also depending on the worker’s experience and education levels.
The bottom 10 percent reportedly made less than $44,080 per year while the top 10 percent earned more than $101,320 annually.
The 25th percentile for this profession was $56,800, which means that 75 percent of all workers in this profession earned more than this amount.
Gas Plant Operator Salary by Industry
According to BLS, the biggest employers for gas plant operators are the field of natural gas distribution, the industry of pipeline transportation of natural gas, and the oil and gas extraction sectors.
The average annual wage reported by gas plant operators in the field of natural gas distribution was $75,060.
Gas plant operators who worked in pipeline transportation of natural gas reportedly earned $70,390 per year as of May 2019 while those who worked in the field of oil and gas extraction were remunerated, on average, with $72,430.
The mean annual wage was $53,220 for gas plant operators who were employed by local governments and $72,600 for those who were employed by chemical manufacturers.
The BLS report shows that the highest-paying industry for this profession in 2019 were petroleum and coal products manufacturers- where gas plant operators were remunerated with $84,850, on average.
The second highest paying field for this occupation was the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution sector where the mean annual wage for this profession was $77,930 per year as of May 2019.
However, these top-paying fields typically hire only a few gas plant operators and job openings may not occur very often.
Salaries for this profession also vary depending on the region and the state of employment.
The numbers published by BLS show that the top-paying states for this profession in 2019 were California, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts.
Gas plant operators in California- which is also the state with the second-highest employment rate for this profession- reportedly earned $101,900 per year while those in Massachusetts earned $81,570.
Therefore salaries also vary across these top-paying states.
The state with the highest employment rate for this occupation was Texas.
Gas plant operators in Texas reportedly earned $68,490 per year on average- less than the mean salary for this profession across all states.
Lower-than-average salaries were also reported in Arizona, New Mexico, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Tennesse, Virginia, and Iowa.
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land- a region where this occupation was remunerated with $69,020 on average- was the metropolitan area with the highest level of employment for gas plant operators in 2019.
The top-paying region for this profession is Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California- where the average annual wage reported by workers in this occupation was $103,120 as of May 2019.
A close second is another metropolitan area in California: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim- region with an average annual wage calculated at $99,180.
Therefore, if you want to start a career as a gas plant operator, relocating to one of these top-paying regions can give you better-earning prospects.
However, your earnings will also depend upon your skills, education, experience, and your willingness to learn throughout your career.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Gas Plant Operators. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.