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PMA30120 Certificate III in Process Plant Operations

National ID: PMA30120 State ID: BGB2
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Our Certificate III in Process Plant Operations is a technical qualification for advanced operators and operations technicians who use production equipment to directly produce product. At this level, operators/ technicians will undertake more advanced operations, typically of integrated plant units in accordance with the operating procedures, and would apply their knowledge to anticipate problems. This qualification is customisable based on your company requirements and is typically used to develop employees performing a process plant operator’s role that includes the running of specific areas of a process plant. 

There are a number of delivery options to complete this qualification:

  • Through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) only; this program is suited to existing workers in the chemical, hydrocarbons or refining sectors, or similar industries. Completion will require third party verification and submission of workplace evidence.
  • Traineeship consisting of specific units of competency chosen by your employer. This program will include two weekly, twice a year on-campus (ACEPT Munster) block release with all assignments completed in the workplace. To study as a trainee, you must be employed in a training contract by an appropriate organisation. 


  • fine chemicals
  • heavy chemicals
  • petrochemicals
  • hydrocarbon extraction
  • hydrocarbon transmission
  • hydrocarbon processing/refining
  • minerals processing/refining
  • metalliferous processing/refining
  • metals smelting/processing

This qualification is directly aligned with priority industry areas where the jobs are today, and into the future. As part of the state government Lower fees, local skills initiative, from 1 January 2020 through to 31 December 2025 you'll only pay half the course fees, capped for each year at $1,200; or $400 (plus resource fee) if you're aged 15—24 or eligible for a concession. Find out more

School Leaver Non-School Leaver AQF
OLNA or NAPLAN 9 Band 8 C Grades in Year 10 English and Maths or equivalent Certificate I or Certificate II

This course is available as a traineeship.

Entrance requirements for traineeships

You must be employed in a training contract by an appropriate organisation to study an apprenticeship or traineeship. 

In a traineeship you also gain hands-on skills and work experience, and improve your employment prospects, while earning a wage. On successful completion you will gain a nationally recognised qualification which can lead to rewarding career options. The difference between a traineeship and an apprenticeship is that a traineeship can be either a full time or part time employment based training arrangement, usually for a nominal duration of 12 months or more, generally in a non-trade related area. 

To find out how to arrange a traineeship and study at South Metropolitan TAFE, please contact the Jobs and Skills Centre closest to you.


    Attendance in class

    This course is equivalent to 5 days per week when studied full time across 12 weeks. 

    At-home study

    As well as the in-class component, you will need to complete approximately 5 hours of additional study each week outside of class hours, including private study, assignment preparation, and research.

    You will need to have the basic technical requirements for at-home study. If you don’t have access to a computer and WiFi at home, we recommend using our library computers during library hours.

    Work placement

    Process operations experience of 6 months.

    What you need for your first day of class

    On your first day you should bring your SM TAFE confirmation enrolment receipt, your student ID, stationery (pen, pencil, exercise book, eraser, ruler and calculator) and wear enclosed footwear.

    In addition, the following uniform is required to be worn at all classes:

    • PPE/Uniform – steel cap boots (no volleys permitted) , long trousers and long sleeve.
    • This qualification is typically used to develop employees performing a process plant operator’s role that includes the running of specific areas of a process plant.

    For information about jobs and pathways, please see

    Further study opportunities:

    • PMA40116 Certificate IV in Process Plant Technology, State ID BAN0

    Please note this list should be used as a guide only as job titles and qualification requirements may vary between organisations.

    Work placement is mandatory for completion of this course. SM TAFE will arrange a suitable work placement within industry for you which will involve your attendance at a workplace.

    To access free career planning and job search assistance, visit the Jobs and Skills Centres page.

    Select your preferred campus and apply

    Click on your preferred campus and study mode below to get started with your application.

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    How Traineeship

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