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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.

Also Known As

Gas Compressor Mechanic

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Construction Millwrights and Industrial Mechanics (Except Textile) (7311) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Construction Millwrights and Industrial Mechanics (Except Textile) (H411) 
  • 2011 NOC: Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics (7311) 
  • 2016 NOC: Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics (7311) 
  • 2021 NOC: Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics (72400) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Construction Millwrights and Industrial Mechanics (Except Textile)

2006 NOC: 7311

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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

  • Read and interpret diagrams, schematic drawings, and related technical information to determine work procedures
  • Assemble, install, inspect, maintain, repair, and overhaul natural gas compression equipment
  • Complete ignition analysis
  • Test fuel, air, exhaust, and engine management systems
  • Do fault diagnoses and repair
  • Analyze reciprocating and rotating machinery to determine equipment condition, prediction to failure, corrective, and preventative measures
  • Analyze equipment performance to the intended design
  • 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, as well as all levels of compressor system failure
  • Inspect defective or damaged equipment to determine the nature and scope of the problem using applied failure analysis principles
  • Perform reliability analysis and risk assessments on 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 Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

Working conditions vary from one job site to another. Some sites are indoors in compressor stations while others 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. Gas compression technicians may have varying travel schedules and hours of work.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Natural gas compression technicians need:

  • Good vision, hearing and sense of smell to perform diagnostic evaluations
  • Strength and stamina
  • Hand-eye co-ordination and manual dexterity
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • The ability to work in cramped or awkward positions
  • The ability to optimize and troubleshoot natural gas compression equipment
  • The ability to work alone and in a team
  • An interest in all types of natural gas, engines, compressors, pumps and other related equipment

They should enjoy precision work and doing a variety of tasks on a diverse array of equipment.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics

2016 NOC: 7311

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between May 05, 2022 and Nov 25, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Health benefits: Health care plan
Health benefits: Dental plan
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Power tools
Tasks: Repair or replace defective machinery parts
Work Setting: Maintenance
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Hand tools
Tasks: Perform routine maintenance work on machinery
Work Setting: Repair
Construction Specialization: Team player
Attention to detail
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship

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, apprentices must find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train them. They must also meet ONE of the following:

  • Have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 20-2, Math 20-3, and Science 10, or equivalent
  • Have a pass mark in all 5 Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests
  • Pass an entrance exam

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 classroom instruction 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 admission, credit, or certification. Credits may reduce the period of apprenticeship.

Classroom instruction is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. For more information, see the Apprenticeship Training Catalogue.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

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. For more information, see the Designated Trades Profile section of Alberta’s Tradesecrets website.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act [pdf], you do not have to be certified if you are self-employed or work for an employer who is satisfied that you have the skills and knowledge expected of a journeyperson certified by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. To learn the trade, you must become a registered apprentice.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Natural Gas Compression Technician.

Additional Information

Certified tradespeople who want to build their business skills may obtain an Achievement in Business Competencies (Blue Seal) Certificate from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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. The skills and competencies of natural gas compression technicians makes them good candidates for transferring to related trades and occupations.

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 [pdf] in this occupation is 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 7311: Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 117 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Journeyperson natural gas compression technicians wage rates vary but generally range from $30 to $45 an hour plus benefits (2019 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.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics

2016 NOC: 7311
Average Wage
$42.93
Per Hour
Average Salary
$83,433.00
Per Year
Average Hours
40.3
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.7
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 7311 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $21.00 $61.23 $41.04 $42.00
Overall $27.00 $61.91 $42.93 $42.23
Top $29.00 $64.62 $46.78 $45.00

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Oil & Gas Extraction
Health Care & Social Assistance
Utilities
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Manufacturing
Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Wholesale Trade
Construction

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
41%
41%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
38%
38%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
7%
7%
Vacancy Rate
3%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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

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

PetroLMI, Career in Oil and Gas (COG) website: careersinoilandgas.com

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. 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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