Heat treatment operator
Heat treatment operators clean, strengthen and soften metals, for use in component manufacturing.
1. Entry requirementsThere are no set entry requirements, although some employers may ask for GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent qualifications in subjects like maths, English, technology or engineering.
Previous engineering experience would give you an advantage.You could also take a Level 2 or Level 3 course in engineering, or a foundation degree in materials science.
You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.
SEMTA and Tomorrow's Engineers have more information about becoming a heat treatment operator.
2. Skills required
- good practical skills
- the ability to work methodically and efficiently
- the ability to follow detailed instructions and use technical equipment
- good maths and IT skills
3. What you'll do
You’ll work with metals like iron, steel and alloys. You’ll use equipment like gas and vacuum furnaces, salt baths, chemical solutions and welding torches.
Your day-to-day duties could include:
- loading untreated products into a furnace or tank
- setting the temperature for particular treatments
- monitoring the treatment cycle
- cooling products by air drying, or using water, oil or chemical baths (known as quenching)
- cleaning oxides and scale from products using steam sprays, or with chemical cleaning solutions
- testing samples for hardness and other properties to make sure they meet the manufacturer's specifications
- recording test results on a computer system
Starter: £17,000 to £21,000
Highly Experienced: £30,000 to £40,000 (supervisor or manager)
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environmentYou’ll usually work 40 hours a week, often on a shift rota which may include evenings and weekends.
Most of the work is in factories and workshops, which can get hot, dirty and noisy.
The job is physically demanding.
You’ll need to wear protective clothing for most tasks.
6. Career path and progressionWith experience, you could progress to a supervisory or technician role.
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Last updated: 09 October 2018