Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to complete the associate-degree Process Technology Program?
The program can be completed in five semesters if you enroll full-time and take about 14 credit hours per semester.
Does the Process Technology Program have evening or weekend classes?
The Process Technology Program at College of the Mainland offers a full schedule of both day and night classes. Occasionally a student may be enrolled in an evening, weekend or Internet course.
Will credits I earned for courses completed at another college or university transfer for credit towards my degree at College of the Mainland?
Credits for courses completed at another institution are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Credit may be awarded for comparable courses completed elsewhere.
Will I be able to continue to work full-time while enrolled in the Process Technology Program?
We have many students who work full-time; however, the work schedule may limit the number of classes a person can take in a semester. This will extend the graduation date.
Does the College offer an intern program?
College of the Mainland has partnered with local industries to offer a co-op experience. This is generally completed in the last semester of study. Please visit with a COM PTEC advisor for specific information on this program.
Can I attend classes on a part-time basis?
More than half of our students take classes part-time.
What is the cost of the Process Technology Program?
In-district tuition for the entire course of study is about $3,000 plus the cost of books and supplies. The College of the Mainland Catalog gives more detailed information on this subject.
I already have a degree in another field of study. Does this other degree count towards my process technology degree?
Courses completed in attaining another degree may fulfill some of the general education requirements in the Process Technology Program. Visit with an advisor to determine specific course transfers.
Does the College of the Mainland offer an operator certificate?
The College of the Mainland only offers the two-year Associate of Applied Science. We no longer offer an operator certificate.
Do local companies require an associate degree?
Most of the local Texas City industry require an associate degree or equivalent process operations experience.
What are the job opportunities?
A degree in process technology can be used in a variety of fields, including refinery operations, chemical plant operations, food processing, pulp and paper, power generation, pharmaceuticals, offshore work and many more.
Can I use my experience working as a contractor in the plants to skip courses?
No. Currently there are no test-for-credit options available for the COM PTEC core curriculum.
Can I work in the plants while I go to school?
Some (a few) companies allow you to work in an entry-level job while attending school.
How often do the plants hire students early?
The plants seldom hire early; most require previous experience or the process technology associate degree.
I am worried about taking physics, chemistry and algebra. What can I do?
While physics, chemistry and algebra are some of our most difficult courses, tutors are available to provide help.
I graduated from another PTEC program. Can I put a resume on file with you?
Our priority is to the students who have completed the College of the Mainland Process Technology Program. We cannot accept resumes from students at other colleges.
Whom do I talk to about signing up for classes?
In order to enroll in classes, you must apply to College of the Mainland at www.com.edu. Next, take the entrance exam in the Testing Center so that we can see where you place in math and English. Visit with an advisor to set a schedule of classes, then register for the semester.
What is the job placement rate?
According to the state, COM PTEC has one of the highest job placement rates of PTEC programs.
Will you help me to get a job?
The Process Technology Program is in close contact with many industries. While we do not guarantee a job, we will assist with placement through job postings and emails. We have also recently included a new course in our curriculum that focuses on resume building, interview skills and job application.
What is the starting pay? What do operators make?
Local industries start new operators out at about $60,000 per year, which is about $30 per hour, plus overtime. A typical operator working a moderate amount of overtime can easily make $75,000 per year.
What does an operator do?
An operator runs the equipment in chemical plants or refineries. They turn valves and operate pumps, compressors, furnaces, boilers, etc.
Will this program help me to work at the plants?
Yes, our local plants typically only hire operators with three to five years’ experience or with the process technology associate degree.
Do I have to have a GED or diploma to take this program?
In order to enroll in the program, you must have a high school diploma or a GED.
Is financial aid available?
Yes! Scholarships, grants and loans are available. Visit the COM Financial Aid Office to discuss financial aid options and application procedures.
Is there a waiting list to get into the program?
There is no waiting list for the program.
Can you work shift work and still take classes?
Many of our students work shift work. We typically have classes both during the day and the night. If you cannot make a day (or night) class, it is possible to attend the night (or day) section to make up the class that you missed; however, you must discuss this possibility with your class instructor prior to the occurrence.
Do I have to take remedial classes?
Approximately 70 percent of our students have to take some type of remedial class. The majority of our students need extra classes in math.
Will the 64-84 hour class I took and got a certificate for several years ago take the place of any classes?
No. The COM PTEC program is a credit program designed for you to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science. The 64-84 hour class was considered noncredit and will not apply toward the degree.
Are women allowed to do this kind of work?
Yes, women make very good process technicians and are considered to be in very high demand.
What kind of conditions should I expect to work in?
Chemical plants and refineries operate around the clock. Much of an operator’s work is outdoors, so the weather can be cold and wet in the winter to very hot in the summer.
Do I have to climb up on those towers?
The work that is going on in the chemical plant or refinery dictates what must be done. Climbing large towers can be a requirement of employment.
Does the program give hands-on experience or is it all lecture?
Many of our classes have hands-on labs associated with the classes. Our Unit Operations class is an entirely hands-on experience where the student learns to operate a distillation column.
How many classes are there in the program?
There are 20 classes in the program, including both core and general education requirements.