Pump Operators: Salary Overview
Pump operators control pumps and manifold systems to transfer oil, gases, or other liquids and materials to and from a variety of vessels.
They may perform different tasks depending on their exact job descriptions.
Pump operators typically monitor tanks and flowmeters and report any abnormality that they observe.
They keep records regarding the operation times of the systems, the products and the quantities that are pumped, and the results.
Pump operators also communicate with other workers through radio and telephone to confirm when the operation starts and when it ends.
Job responsibilities may also include inspecting the equipment to ensure that it works properly, repairing, and cleaning the vessels using a variety of tools and they may also take samples for lab tests.
In order to avoid injuries, pump operators are required to follow very specific safety guidelines and regulations and they must wear protective equipment, such as vests, work boots, and masks.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for pump operators was $47,040 a year, or $22.62 per hour.
The median wage for this profession was $43,500 a year which means that half of all pump operators earned less than this while half earned more.
Salaries vary based on the worker’s experience, the industry of employment, but also based on region and employer.
The highest 10 percent made more than $73,770 a year while the lowest 10 percent made less than $27,780 per year.
Pump Operator Salary by Industry
Pump operators may work on construction sites, in factories or warehouses.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the biggest employers for pump operators were companies who offer support activities for mining, merchant wholesalers, oil and gas extraction, and pipeline transportation of natural gas.
The average annual salary for pump operators who worked in the field of support activities for mining was $44,330 a year or $21.31 per hour.
Pump operators who were employed by merchant wholesaler, nondurable goods, earned, on average, $46,510 a year while those employed in the field of oil and gas extraction made a mean annual wage of $57,260 per year.
The mean annual wage was $49,680 per year for pump operators who work in the field of pipeline transportation of natural gas and $45,140 for those employed by companies that provide remediation and other waste management services.
The report published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the highest average annual wage for pump operators was reported in the field of other pipeline transportation.
This sector offered an annual mean wage of $65,480 but employed only 140 pump operators.
About 60 pump operators were employed by the sector of pipeline transportation of crude oil and were paid, on average, $65,430.
These top-paying industries hire only a few pump operators and in order to find employment in this sector, you may need special training and a few years of experience.
Pump Operator Salary by Level of Experience
As an entry-level operator with less than 1-2 years of experience, you may earn a salary that is close to the 10th percentile for this profession, which is $27,780, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Junior level pump operators typically earn a salary that is closer to the 25th percentile or $33,420.
The 25th percentile also tells us that 75% of all workers in this occupation earned more than this amount.
Mid-level pump operators typically earn a salary that is close to the median for this profession.
Senior-level operators typically earn a salary that is closer to the 75th percentile, or $59,020.
Top-level pump operators who work for one of the highest paying industries may earn more than the 90th percentile for this profession, which is $73,770 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
These are only estimates and, as shown above, pump operators’ salaries also vary depending on the industry of employment, the operator’s level of skills, how many hours he/she works, and a variety of other factors.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Pump 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.