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Occupational Profile
Apprenticeship

Natural Gas Compression Technician

Natural gas compression technicians install, commission, maintain and repair natural gas compression equipment used to gather, store and transmit natural gas. 

  • Avg. Salary $82,478.00
  • Avg. Wage $39.49
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship
  • Outlook Down
  • Employed 10,300
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Gas Compressor Mechanic

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

54%
54%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Natural Gas Compression Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Construction Millwrights and Industrial Mechanics (Except Textile)
NOC code: 7311
OBJECTIVE

Interest in setting up and assembling machinery and equipment before installation using hand and power tools and welding equipment

INNOVATIVE

Interest in analyzing information to inspect and examine machinery and equipment to detect and investigate irregularities and malfunctions, to adjust machinery and to repair and replace defective parts; and in installing, trouble-shooting and maintaining power transmission, vacuum, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, and programmable logic controls

METHODICAL

Interest in speaking with other workers to direct them in constructing foundations for machinery; and in cleaning, lubricating and performing other routine maintenance work on machinery

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Natural gas compression technicians work with natural gas compression equipment. In general, they:

  • read and interpret diagrams and schematic drawings and related technical information to determine work procedures
  • assemble, install, inspect, maintain, repair and overhaul natural gas compression equipment
  • complete ignition analysis, fuel, air, exhaust and engine management systems testing, fault diagnoses and repair
  • analyze reciprocating and rotating machinery to determine equipment condition, prediction to failure, corrective and preventative measures, and equipment performance to design intent
  • perform visual walk around inspections to determine the external conditions and obvious operational or safety issues
  • use a variety of electrical, mechanical and specialty diagnostic test equipment to diagnose problems and adjust engine systems
  • provide preventative and corrective field mechanical services on gas compression, processing and production equipment on-site at client locations
  • troubleshoot and diagnose mechanical and general electronic control problems and all levels of compressor system failure
  • repair and rebuild natural gas equipment
  • inspect malfunctioning or damaged equipment to determine the nature and scope of the problem using applied failure analysis principles
  • perform reliability analysis and risk assessments and apply to compression systems
  • identify and develop maintenance strategies based on Reliability Centred Maintenance, Condition Based Maintenance and Preventive Maintenance concepts
  • adhere to regulations and standards related to natural gas compression systems to ensure the safety of all workers, the environment and equipment.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Working conditions vary from one job site to another. Some job sites are indoors in compressor stations while other sites are outside exposed to a variety of weather conditions. The work environment may be in hazardous locations.

There is a strong emphasis on safety while working with heavy equipment and machinery. Travel arrangements and hours of work also may vary. Technicians may be required to lift and move items that weigh over 20 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Natural gas compression technicians need the following characteristics:

  • good vision, hearing and sense of smell to perform diagnostic evaluations
  • the strength and stamina required to work with heavy equipment
  • good co-ordination and manual dexterity
  • the ability to work in cramped or awkward positions
  • the mechanical ability and interest in all types of natural gas, engines, compressors, pumps and other related equipment
  • the ability to optimize and trouble-shoot natural gas compression equipment
  • the ability to work independently and in a team.

They should enjoy variety and doing precision work with diverse natural gas compression and processing equipment.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

To work in Alberta, a natural gas compression technician must be ONE of the following:

  • a registered apprentice
  • an Alberta-certified journeyperson
  • someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate
  • someone who works for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of a certified journeyperson
  • self-employed.

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentice natural gas compression technicians must:

  • have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 20-2, Math 20-3 and Science 10, or equivalent, or pass an entrance exam.
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates.

The term of apprenticeship is 4 years (four 12 month periods) that include a minimum of 1,500 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training each year. High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Applicants who have related training or work experience may be eligible for credit or certification.

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and will be offered at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary.

For more information, visit the Technical Training Centre on the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

This is an Apprenticeship trade. For full details, see the related certification profile

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Natural gas compression technicians are employed by:

  • natural gas producers
  • manufacturers of compressor packages
  • power system providers
  • natural gas engine and compressor service providers.

With more education and experience, they may advance to supervisor or superintendent positions. Alberta certified journeyperson natural gas compression technicians who have the supervisory or management skills required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Natural gas compression technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7311: Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics (except textile). In Alberta, 75% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 10,900 Albertans are employed in the Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics (except textile) occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.3% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 142 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As natural gas compression technicians form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for natural gas compression technicians. 

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Journeyperson wage rates vary but generally range from $30 to $45 an hour plus benefits (2014 estimates). Apprentices earn at least 60% of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 70% in the second, 80% in the third and 90% in the fourth.

Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
NOC code: 7311

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $19.80 $52.00 $36.05 $36.51
Overall $24.50 $54.00 $39.49 $39.70
Top $26.00 $55.00 $42.21 $42.71

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Manufacturing
Public Administration
Wholesale Trade
Construction

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

54%
54%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

41%
41%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

9%
9%

2015 Vacancy Rate

2%
Related High School Subjects
  • Science
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Fabrication
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: tradesecrets.alberta.ca

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) website: www.capp.ca

Petroleum Human Resources (PHR), Careers in Oil and Gas (COG) website: www.careersinoilandgas.com

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 30, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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