"When I first got here, I was pretty intimidated by the equipment and all the pipes that seemed to go everywhere. But the company has in-house training, and you learn, one part at a time. After a while I felt very at home here. I liked figuring out how things work." —Shawn
A Process Technician at Work
Shawn is a production team leader at a large-scale bioprocessing facility that grows microorganisms to produce a variety of organic compounds used in food processing and other industries. Shawn got his job based on his prior employment in textiles and a BioWork Certificate from a local community college. He gets out of his truck at 6:45 a.m. ready to start the workday. He is wearing jeans and safety work boots, and carries his hard hat and safety glasses. He first goes to the control room where the team on the previous shift is gathering to check out. It is important for Shawn to be on time so he can get a status report before they leave. This plant makes 15 different products and each one requires a different procedure. Shawn has to know what is happening and what he has to do to keep each batch running on schedule.
This kind of responsibility appeals to Shawn. He is independent and resourceful, and appreciates the trust his supervisor has in him. After four years on the job, he has learned all the different processes and equipment and enjoys troubleshooting. Shawn also likes working with his team. They sometimes get together after hours with their families.
He likes the active part of his job. The plant is spread out over several acres, so he often rides a bike between production areas, and likes the view from the catwalks near the tops of the three-story-tall fermentation tanks.
If you like technical work and get satisfaction from making things, you would probably make a good process technician.
Process technicians must be highly skilled and dedicated workers. Their employers often entrust them with batches of product worth millions of dollars. They are responsible for the production of each batch and for helping to ensure its quality by taking samples for testing. If they identify problems, they help resolve them.
Qualified process technicians are integral to the success of many biotechnology employers. It can take several years to train someone on all phases of a complex manufacturing process, so employers are highly motivated to retain their experienced process technicians with competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and opportunities for advancement.