Trades & Services

Heat Treatment Operator

Heat treatment operators use furnaces and cooling treatments to clean, strengthen and also soften metals.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Heat Treatment Operator do?

Heat treatment operators use furnaces and cooling treatments to clean, strengthen and also soften metals, making them ready for machining and for use in manufacturing.


Work activities

As a heat treatment operator, your typical tasks would include:

  • loading untreated products into a furnace or tank
  • setting the temperature controls for particular treatments
  • monitoring the treatment cycle in line with instructions
  • cooling products by air drying, or using water, oil or chemical baths
  • 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.

You would work with a variety of metals, including iron, steel and alloys. You would use a range of equipment, such as gas and vacuum furnaces, salt baths, chemical solutions and welding torches.

You would also be responsible for programming instructions into machines where jobs are done with computer controlled equipment.


Key skills and interests

To become a heat treatment operator, you would need:

  • good practical skills
  • the ability to work methodically and efficiently
  • the ability to follow detailed instructions and use technical equipment
  • an awareness of safety and quality standards
  • good maths and IT skills.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

You would normally work standard weekly hours, often on shift which may include evenings and weekends.


Most of your work would take place in factories and workshops, where conditions can get hot, dirty and noisy. The job also requires lots of standing and lifting. You would need to wear protective clothing for most tasks.


How to become an Heat Treatment Operator?

Entry Level Education

You can work as a heat treatment operator without formal qualifications. You would get some training on the job.

Your employment prospects may be improved if you undertake a traineeship in engineering. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require junior secondary school certificate or equivalent.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Heat treatment operators are employed mainly by foundries, steel pipe and tube manufacturers, companies that make iron and steel products, and hardware and automotive component manufacturers.

As businesses in all of these areas increasingly close local manufacturing operations and alternative products are sourced from overseas, employment opportunities will likely continue to decline.


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