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  • PMA30116

Certificate III in Process Plant Operations

At a glance

At a glance

Develop your skills in operating production equipment with this technical qualification. This course is perfect for advanced operators and operations technicians to have their existing skills recognised and become a qualified process plant operator.

  • Process Plant Technician
  • Process Plant Operator

PMA30116 Certificate III in Process Plant Operations

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Course overview

Course overview

Progress your career in process plant operations with this mid-level technical course. According to the Australian Government's Job Outlook service, there is stable future job growth predicted for people working as chemical, gas, petroleum and power plant operators. This specialised career has high earning potential and strong job prospects with nearly one quarter of all workers in the industry located in Queensland.  

In this course you will learn to use and operate production equipment to directly produce particular materials and substances. You will develop skills to undertake more advanced operations typically of integrated plant units in accordance with operating procedures. You will apply your knowledge to identify a range of foreseen and unforeseen problems and will use your product and process knowledge to apply documented solutions or develop new solutions where there is no known solution.

Complete this course to open up a range of possibilities in chemical, emergency support, CSG plant, hydrocarbons extraction, hydrocarbons transmission, LNG plant as a qualified process plant operator. You can take your understanding and skills to the next level with further study pathways.


The successful achievement of this qualification requires you to complete all core and 16 elective units from the list below.

Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices
Apply workplace context to own job
Communicate in the workplace
Follow emergency response procedures
Work safely
Shut down and isolate machines/equipment
Use organisation computers or data systems
Work in accordance with an issued permit
Monitor and control work permits
Enter confined space
Issue work permits
Process and record information
Undertake minor maintenance
Identify equipment faults
Maintain and organise workplace records
Control minor incidents
Undertake first response to fire incidents
Operate breathing apparatus
Gas test atmospheres
Read dials and indicators
Operate fluid flow equipment
Select and use utilities and services
Operate heat exchangers
Operate local control system
Operate and monitor prime movers
Operate and monitor pumping systems and equipment
Operate and monitor valve systems
Monitor, operate and maintain pipeline stations and equipment
Store fluids in bulk
Operate separation equipment
Interpret process plant schematics
Operate a production unit
Operate and monitor compressor systems and equipment
Operate process control systems
Undertake ship loading/unloading operations
Conduct artificial lift
Undertake well management
Operate gas absorption unit
Conduct pipeline pigging
Operate vehicles in the field
Monitor and maintain pipeline coatings
Prepare and isolate plant
Monitor and maintain instrument and control systems
Control corrosion

Note: For some courses, not all electives are available at all campuses.

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Ways to study

Ways to study

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University pathways

If you want to go on to further study at university, TAFE Queensland has a pathway option to get you there. In many cases, completing one of our diplomas may give you a full year of credit towards a degree with one of our partner universities.

Learn more about university pathways
  • James Cook University
  • Southern Cross University
  • University of Canberra
  • Griffith University
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Federation University
  • University of Southern Queensland
Payment options

Payment options

No matter what your circumstances, TAFE Queensland has a payment option to suit you. If you are unsure of what's right for you, get in touch. We're here to help.

Money IconUpfront payment

This may be the full fee for the course, or the student contribution amount if you are eligible for a subsidy or concession.

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Money IconPayment plan

If you have difficulty paying for the full cost of a course upfront, you may be eligible for a payment plan.

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Important Information
Important Information

Important Information

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this course.

Selection criteria

Training programs for this qualification are suitable to be undertaken as part of a formal training contract with an employer under an Australian Traineeship or Apprenticeship arrangement or Direct Entry.

Resources required

No specific resources are required to successfully complete this course.

It is recommended that you have access to a reliable internet connection to access TAFE Queensland's online learning system Connect, and a computer with up-to-date software, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat Reader and Adobe Flash Player. This equipment and software is available for use at all TAFE Queensland locations.

Need to know

This course is offered via Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) only.

The cost of the RPL will vary depending on the number of units of competency you successfully gain recognition for, the fee structure of the course and any assessment or training required. You will be provided with an approximate cost for your unique situation when you apply.

Replacement Qualification
This qualification has been replaced by PMA30120 - Certificate III in Process Plant Operations, as of 15 November 2020. A transition period applies to enable current students to complete their study. The transition period finishes on 14 November 2021. If required, enrolments will be transitioned into the replacement qualification.

Assessment Methods

Skill and knowledge assessments are an essential step in progressing through your course. You may be assessed in a number of ways while you are studying at TAFE Queensland, including observation, written assessment, questioning, portfolios, work samples, third-party feedback, and through recognition of prior learning. Read more about assessment methods.


All information was accurate at time of publication, however TAFE policies, tuition fees and course content is subject to change without notice. Course commencement is dependent on sufficient enrolment numbers. Timetable information is subject to change prior to commencement and/or during the duration of your course.

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How to apply

How to apply

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and credit transfers

Fast track your way to a formal qualification by earning credit for the things you already know. Getting recognition for the skills you've gained from the workplace or previous learning means less study time for you, and getting the paper to prove you're qualified a whole lot sooner. We can assess your skills, directly apply credits from previous successful study, and give you advanced standing in your course.

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Get started with TAFE Queensland

If you have read and understood the student rules, refund policy, understand your fees and payment options, have a Unique Student Identifier (USI) and checked you meet the entry requirements and selection criteria for this course, you're ready to get started.

University pathways

If you want to go on to further study at university, TAFE Queensland has a pathway option to get you there. In many cases, completing one of our diplomas may give you a full year of credit towards a degree with one of our partner universities.

Learn more about university pathways
  • James Cook University
  • University of Queensland
  • University of Canberra
  • Federation University
  • Griffith University
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • University of Southern Queensland