Pipeline Operator: Job Description And Requirements

Pipeline operators work in the pipeline industry, which includes oil and gas companies. They study engineering technology as part of their education and perform various pipeline operation and maintenance duties.

The job outlook for pipeline operators is expected to be slower than average, and there is no direct path to becoming a pipeline operator; rather, workers gain skills through experience in various jobs within the industry.

This article highlights a pipeline operator’s job description and requirements, should you be interested.

Pipeline Operator Job Description

Pipeline operators work in the pipeline industry, which includes oil and gas companies. They are responsible for maintaining pipelines that transport crude oil or natural gas from one place to another.

Pipeline operators can choose to work with several types of pipelines:

  • Fixed-line: These lines run along roads or railroads and are used to transport liquids (like gasoline) throughout their communities.
  • Mobile-line: These pipes move along with trucks in order to get products from point A to point B quickly, so they don’t have time to sit around waiting for something else before moving again; they move as soon as possible.

Pipeline operators perform a variety of duties related to the operation and maintenance of pipelines.

They inspect pipelines for leaks, repair leaks, test the flow of oil and gas through pipes, and operate valves that control the flow of oil and gas through pipelines.

Pipeline operators work in industrial facilities such as power plants, gas distribution facilities, and oil refineries. They may also be known as pump operators, meter operators, or gas operators.

On-The Job

Pipeline operators perform various duties related to the operation and maintenance of pipelines: inspecting equipment before use by using an x-ray machine or inspecting corrosion damage caused by saltwater corrosion on steel pipes.

They also monitor pressure levels inside pipelines through sensors installed throughout each section, making repairs when necessary.

They remove obstructions from underground pipes under high-pressure conditions, so they don’t burst open unexpectedly during transportation through city streets where cars pass over them every day.

They regulate the flow of oil, gases, and other materials from pipelines to and from storage tanks, monitor instruments, and communicate with other operators and technicians.

Pipeline operators can work on a computer in an industrial control center and monitor temperature levels, pressure, and other variables. They control pumps and manifolds to initiate the flow of liquids to refineries or electrical generators.

In the case of natural gas, operators also control the use of compressors, scrubbers, and refrigeration equipment to convert the material into liquid or gas as needed.

Operators also directly monitor piping, system tanks, and other equipment for leaks or other damage and communicate with control room operators to ensure safe operation within standards and regulations.

In cases where operations approach limits, pipeline operators are responsible for taking appropriate corrective action. Operators can also carry out repairs and maintenance.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2020, gas plant operators earned an average annual income of $73,290, and oil pump system operators, refinery operators, and meter operators earned an average of $77,610 annually.

Jobs in these fields are expected to see little or no growth, and in some cases, decline, between 2019 and 2029.

Pipeline Operator Job Requirements

The knowledge required by the pipeline operator includes the operation and repair of mechanical systems, computer systems, applied mathematics, and safety and operational regulations.

Problem-solving and communication skills are essential to prevent incidents before and during operations.

On-the-job training and apprenticeship programs are common, although employers prefer applicants with some post-secondary education or training in mechanical, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, or a related field.

Experience or technical courses in hydraulics and industrial systems is beneficial. Pipeline operators working in positions that directly affect the electrical grid must receive certification from the North American Energy Reliability Corporation.

The authorization is granted after passing the exam and is valid for three years. Credentials can be maintained by completing continuing education courses. A pipeline operator’s career depends on the oil industry.

Currently, growth in this area is below average or declining, but this could change with the sudden ups and downs of the industry.

Engineering experience will make you a competitive candidate, and knowledge of equipment, mechanics, mathematics, and safety is important.

Education Requirement

Individuals who are interested in becoming pipeline operators can pursue a certificate or an associate’s degree in petroleum technology. Certificate programs are usually one to two years long, while associate degrees typically take two to four years.

Many employers offer tuition reimbursement for their employees’ education programs as well.

Some employers also provide scholarships for their employees with more advanced degrees who have completed the same program of study at an accredited college or university.

These may be specific to the position being sought by the individual applicant (such as technical excellence), or they could simply be based on academic achievement during school, such as getting good grades.

Where Can A Pipeline Operator Work?

There is no direct path to becoming a pipeline operator; workers gain skills through experience in various jobs within the industry.

They may work as welders or pipefitters on oil and gas projects and then become field managers or project engineers.

They may also work as construction managers or consultants specializing in construction management.

The best way to get started is by gaining hands-on experience through apprenticeships or internships with companies like: 

  • Halliburton (one of the world’s largest oilfield service providers), Schlumberger (another large global oilfield services company), 
  • Baker Hughes Incorporated (a manufacturer of drill bits and tools used for drilling wells)
  • Weatherford International Ltd is an international supplier of specialized equipment for good completion).


What Is Pipeline In Job Description?

A pipeliner uses heavy equipment to dig, repair, and maintain the area around pipelines and pump stations. They use both manual and powered tools to service equipment and assist others working on-site.

How Do I Get A Pipeline Job?

A high school diploma or GED is usually enough to qualify for a plumbing job. Employers usually offer internships or on-the-job training for employees without experience. Another way to get a job without previous experience is to complete a professional course.

Who Owns The Most Pipelines In The U.S.?

It owns and operates more than 30,000 miles of natural gas pipelines that transport about 30% of all the gas used in the US each day. Williams has many natural gas expansion projects that should support growth in the coming years.

What Skills Do You Need To Be A Pipeliner?

The pipe fitter must work with a variety of tools and welding equipment and have knowledge of the technology and process requirements. 

Essential skills include Strong mathematical and mechanical abilities. Understanding of field welding techniques, pipe components, pipe sections, and welding symbols.

Are Pipeline Jobs Hard?

These workers use various welding equipment and process on various construction, commercial, and industrial equipment. Pipes are usually placed vertically, in fixed positions, so work on pipes can be more difficult than in other places.

What Are The Duties Of A Pipeline Dispatcher?

Duties of a pipeline operator include, but are not limited to, monitoring pumping tools and flow control, performing routine inspections and maintenance of pipelines and related systems, supervising storage tanks, ensuring compliance with safety regulations, and working with pipeline technicians.

What Is Pipeline Simple Words?

Piping with pumps, valves, and control devices for conveying liquids, gases, or finely dispersed solids.

What Is Pipeline In the Interview Process?

The recruitment process is an overview of the stages each candidate goes through. It ranges from a request to an offer or rejection. It covers all the different stages of the recruitment process for each job vacancy.

How Do Pipelines Get Paid?

Revenues are the income that pipeline companies earn from their operations, mainly through tolls from shippers. Thus, revenues are directly related to the number of tolls, the capacity of the pipeline, and the actual use of that capacity.

How Much Money Can You Make Working On The Pipeline?

The average salary for a Pipeline Technician in the United States is $114,445 as of October 27, 2022. Our most popular pipeline technician positions (listed below) typically range between $58,542 and $170,348.


The pipeline industry is a growing sector for job seekers, and there are many opportunities available. A Pipeline operator ensures that pipelines are safe to use and do not spill oil or gas. 

They also perform maintenance tasks on the equipment used by oil or gas companies. The job outlook for pipeline operators is expected to be slower than average over the next decade. 

Additionally, individuals interested in pursuing careers as pipeline operators should have at least 2 years of work experience before enrolling in training programs at colleges or universities.

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