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Gas Utility Operator

Duties

Gas utility operators install and service gas utility pipeline systems that transport natural gas from its source to points of use such as building meter sets.

Gas utility systems include:

  • gas transmission distribution systems under various levels of pressure,
  • gas mains and services, and
  • pressure controllers, regulators and gas meters.

Duties and responsibilities vary from one job to another but, in general, gas utility operators:

  • interpret prints and specifications to determine the location, size and materials required to install gas mains,
  • install and maintain cathodic protection to prevent corrosion in steel and aluminum pipes,
  • locate underground gas systems and conduct routine surveys of gas mains and distribution lines to detect and locate escaping gas,
  • carry out routine gas system maintenance functions,
  • operate and maintain regulating, measuring and odorizing facilities,
  • provide information about underground gas distribution lines and observe excavation work to ensure that underground gas facilities are protected,
  • investigate gas leaks to determine the exact location and extent of leaks,
  • use equipment to expose gas lines and repair damaged pipes, and
  • keep detailed records of work performed, and the location and condition of pipelines.

For more information regarding tasks and activities, review the Occupation Regulation.

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Working Conditions

Gas utility operators work at physically demanding tasks both indoors and outdoors. Operators usually work a 40-hour week but overtime may be required to deal with emergencies or to meet construction deadlines. Some jobs may require workers to be on call on a rotational basis.

Gas uutility operators work with explosive gases and related equipment.  They follow safety codes and regulations and, during emergency situations, follow the specified procedures.

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Skills and Abilities

The work appeals to people who enjoy being physically active, and working with little direction or supervision from others.

To be successful in the occupation, gas utility operators must have:

  • mechanical ability,
  • manual dexterity,
  • the strength, stamina, and ability to use proper lifting techniques,
  • the ability to communicate with customers and fellow workers, and
  • the competency to operate verious types of outdoor equipment.

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Employment and Advancement

Gas utility operators are employed by gas utility and distribution companies, and companies that contract services to them.

The employment outlook for gas utility operators is expected to remain stable with most job openings occurring as a result of employee turnover. However, turnover rates within gas utility companies are relatively low.

Experienced gas utility operators earn from $20 to $40 an hour, plus benefits.

Experienced operators may advance to supervisory and management positions.

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Working in Alberta

A certificate is encouraged to work as a gas utility operator in Alberta. This is a designated occupation and participation is voluntary.

Job skills and competencies, standards of performance and training programs for gas utility operators have been defined and approved under the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act.

Trainees who register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training to participate in occupational training and achieve the established standards of performance are awarded an Alberta Occupational Certificate.

A person who holds a certificate or document from another jurisdiction for a line of work that is much the same as Alberta’s gas utility operator occupation may apply for occupational certification.

A person who has no formal training in the gas utility operator occupation but can prove that their skills and work experience meet the standards set for the occupation in Alberta may apply for occupational certification.

Individuals possessing a valid Alberta Journeyman Certificate, an Alberta Occupational Certificate, a document indicating that the individual holds a certificate that is recognized as equivalent to an Alberta trade or occupational certificate, or a certificate that is recognized as equivalent to an Alberta trade or occupational certificate are eligible to apply for a Blue Seal business credential after completing the necessary requirements.

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Occupational Certification - Based on Training

The term of training for a gas utility operator is a minimum of 24 months including at least 3,400 hours of work experience.

  • An applicant who previously completed training or work experience related to the gas utility operator occupation or who holds a related certificate may qualify for credit that could reduce the term of training.

To learn the skills required for an Alberta Occupational Certificate as a gas utility operator, a person must:

  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire a trainee
    - There is no minimum education requirement, but it is recommended that applicants have Math 10, Science 10, and English 10.

Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates or people who already have related training or experience (e.g. gasfitters).  Prospective gas utility operators may be first hired as labourers and, if their work is satisfactory, be offered trainee positions when they become available.

When trainees attend formal training, they are required to pay the applicable tuition fee and purchase course supplies.

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 1-800-248-4823.

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Occupational Certification - Based on a Recognized Credential

To qualify for an Alberta Occupational Certificate based on a certificate issued by another jurisdiction, a person must:

Occupational Certification - Based on Work Experience

To qualify for an Alberta Occupational Certificate based on skills and work experience that meet Alberta standards for the occupation, a person must:

  • have at least 5,100 hours and 36 months of 'hands-on' work experience in the gas utility operator occupation
  • there are exceptions if the applicant has a recognized journeyman certificate in a related trade
    - a certified gasfitter (A) must have at least 2,850 hours and 18 months of 'hands-on' work experience as a gas utility operator
    - a certified gasfitter (B) must have at least 3,975 hours and 18 months of 'hands-on' work experience as a gas utility operator
    • Time spent on supervisory or foreman duties, counter work, heading the tool crib, or on a training course is NOT counted as 'hands-on' work experience.
  • review Designated Occupations Applications-What You Should Know,
  • complete the online Occupational Certificate - Work Experience Application,
  • pay the non-refundable application fee as part of the application process, and
  • successfully complete the required exam (see Exam Counselling Sheet).

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