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Chemical Process Technology - Associate in Applied Science

Have an interest in chemistry, machinery, and production methods? Like solving technical problems? Train now for one of our area’s most reliable careers.

Chemical process operators safely handle, transport, transfer, store and dispose of chemicals and other materials for manufacturing facilities that transform raw materials into finished products. They operate both continuous and batch processes on a variety of process equipment including reactor systems, valving stations, and tanker transfer stations.

Upholding health, safety and environmental standards in compliance with state and federal regulations is a key responsibility. Managing regular preventative maintenance on equipment and instrument calibration, they help a plant operate efficiently to prevent emissions, leaks and unnecessary shutdowns. Procedures include:

  • Set up and adjusting of indicating and controlling devices
  • Monitoring and recording of reactions, noting changes in chemical and physical properties
  • Adjusting valves and controls to maintain system at specified temperature, pressure and vacuum levels
  • Maintaining a log of gauge readings, shift production and equipment malfunctions

Chemical process operators work in teams and shifts to keep operations running 24 hours a day. The level of direct supervision varies by plant and company, but is typically minimal. Processes require working closely with chemical engineers and tradesmen, technicians, and co-workers. All employees in a chemical plant have to wear safety helmets, goggles, safety shoes, gloves, and respirators. Chemical process operators may work in enclosed spaces or high places, may be required to climb ladders to storage tanks, and lift process equipment and product.

About the Program

In addition to foundation courses in chemistry and physics, you will learn about the industrial environment as it relates to process operations and instrumentation. Delta College has worked closely with local industries to develop the necessary curriculum to make sure you’re prepared and job-ready.

1-year advanced certificate
The certificate program is appropriate if you are an experienced worker with a previous technical degree/experience or changing from a career in another manufacturing industry.

2-year associate degree
The associate’s degree program is a good choice if you have limited college or are new to the industry. This is a good pathway for continuing your education for a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, Engineering or Process Management. Delta College has articulation (transfer) agreements with Saginaw Valley State University, Northwood University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University and more.

Fast Start Program
The 480 hour Pre-chemical Process Operator Fast Start program is another option if you can make a full-time commitment. Students are in class 30 hours a week and also have outside class assignments. Preferred candidates will have minimum WorkKeys® scores, manufacturing experience, and previous college or training. Fast Start programs are scheduled when local hiring needs exceed available graduates.

What are students saying?

"With the preparation the instructors have given me, I feel like I’m very marketable to local employers. I am ready to walk right into a job, rather than have them train me for the job that they want me to do."
– Ron Fitch

"I was getting a two-year certificate when a job opportunity came my way. Because I was already taking classes at Delta, I was able to get the job. I’ve always worked, but now I’ll have the piece of paper to go with it."
– Lee McChesney

Careers and Job Outlook

The Great Lakes Bay Region is among the highest employment areas in the nation for chemical process operators. Local employers include The Dow Chemical Company, Dow Corning Corporation, and others. At this time, Dow Corning will consider certificate completers and Dow Chemical requires the associate degree.

State of Michigan average earnings: $55,330

Source: Michigan Department of Career Development, 2011 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates of Michigan Occupational Information System

National average earnings: $54,150

Source: May 2012 Occupational Employment Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at

Find Out More

Have questions or want more information? Contact:

Eric Lee
Program Coordinator

Chemical Process Technology - Associate in Applied Science

Program Code: AAS.15829

The Associate Degree Program in Chemical Process Technology prepares the student for employment as a process operator in the chemical/material processing industry. The operator role includes but is not limited to the following functions: knowledge and upholding of the standards regarding health, safety and the environment; working with the handling, transporting, storage and disposal of chemicals and other materials in compliance with all state and federal regulations; the operation, monitoring, and controlling of process both continuous and batch; interfacing with chemical engineers and technician co-workers involved with these processes; and managing normal maintenance of equipment, calibration of instrumentation, and troubleshooting as needed.

Core Courses

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
CPI 1202Introduction To Process Operations ______________
CPI 2104Basic Chemical and Unit Operations ______________
CPI 2203Process Measurement ______________
CPI 2303Process Control ______________
CPI 240W3Process Troubleshooting ______________
CPI 250W4Advanced Chemical Operations ______________
CPI 260W4Process Operations Management ______________
CPI 2702Advanced Process Operations Lab ______________

General Education Courses

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
CHM 105W5Technical Chemistry I ______________
CHM 106W5Technical Chemistry II ______________
COM 112W3Fundamentals of Oral Communication ______________
OR ______________
COM 114W(3)Interpersonal Communication ______________
ENG ---3Any Approved College Composition I Course ______________
ENG ---3Any Approved College Composition II Course ______________
OR ______________
ENG 113(3)Technical Communication ______________
ENV 100W3Environmental Regulations ______________
ENV 1521.6Emergency Response to Industrial Spills ______________
LW ---1Any 1 Credit LW Course AND ______________
LWA ---1Any 1 Credit LWA Course ______________
OR ______________
LW 223W(2)Wellness in Technical Trades ______________
MTH ---4Any Approved Intermediate Algebra Course (or higher Math course) ______________
MTH 208W3Elementary Statistics ______________
PHY 1014Applied Physics ______________
OR ______________
PHY 111(4)General Physics I ______________
OR ______________
PHY 211(5)Physics I ______________
POL ---3/4Any Approved American Government Requirement ______________

Recommended Electives

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
CST 133W4Computer Concepts & Competencies ______________

64.6/66.6Total Credits


1 - If your computer experience is limited, CST 133 is also suggested.
2 - Intermediate Algebra and Applied Physics may also be met with an acceptable score on current college assessment instruments. Contact Assessment/Testing office at 989-686-9338 for more details. Credits to meet graduation requirements may then be met by completing additional electives.
3 - Transfer students may be advised to complete CHM 111, CHM 112, CHM 210, and CHM 210L instead of CHM 105 and CHM 106.
4 - Transfer students may be advised to complete either PHY 111 or PHY 211 instead of PHY 101.
5 - A “C” (2.0) or higher is required in all core courses as well as CHM, MTH, and PHY general education courses.

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