a COT student working in the process plant lab
Career Opportunities

  • Oil refineries

  • Chemical plants

  • Electrical power generation facilities

  • Water and wastewater treatment plants

  • Mineral refining plants

  • Many other processing plants

Degree & Certificate Options

Montana has numerous petroleum refineries and chemical processing industries. With the support of the local/regional processing plants, the City College developed and currently offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in this area. 

Plan of Study

Program Details

Prior to starting the Process Plant core classes, students must prove their math and English skills. This can be done through approved college transfer credits, appropriate scores on the Compass placement exam or completing refresher classes.

  • Technical, mechanical and safety systems utilized in oil, chemical and power processing plants. Mechanics of fluids, hydrocarbons, gases, heat, and chemistry as it pertains to processing plants
  • Fundamentals necessary for an in-depth look at the distillation process heat and thermodynamics, as well as the chemical bonds
  • organic chemistry
  • periodic table
  • hydrocarbon concepts
  • Understand the equipment necessary for the operation of a process/refining plant.
    • pumps, compressors, valves, heat exchangers, distillation and cooling towers
  • refining processes, taking an in-depth look at each process
    • Fluid Catalytic Cracking, Alkylation, Catalytic Reforming, Desulfurization, Crude/Vacuum Systems, Amine, Coking, and Hydrotreating
  • The history behind certain environmental policies, the creation of OSHA, and key environmental issues
  • Critical thinking, troubleshooting
  • mechanical aptitude
  • Manual dexterity
  • Math and spatial skills
  • Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Reading and communication skills
Job Outlook and Pay Info
Median Wage (MT)* $62,890.00
Median Wage (US)* $67,400.00
Average entry-level wage, COT grads (2014-2017) $74,828.00

Expected growth (MT)* (projection through 2024)

Expected growth (US)* (projection through 2026) 3%


 *Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Employment Projections; MT Dept. of Labor and Industry, Research and Analysis Bureau  

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