Chemical engineering is simply the branch of engineering that utilizes chemistry to solve problems and make new products. As a chemical engineer, your job description will be to change the chemical state of a substance to turn it into a different, and useful product. Examples: manufacturing plastic from oil, or extracting methane gas (bio-gas) from animal feces.
In this article, we will discuss the chemical engineering career paths; the chemical engineer responsibilities, required accreditations, and required skills; and finally, the industries in which a chemical engineer can work at.
The job activities will differ according to the industry you work in. Generally, tasks may include:
- cooperating with chemists and control engineers to make sure the process plant is fixed to provide maximum efficiency
- designing the plant and equipment to be ready for the production process, taking into consideration the economic and environmental aspects
- implementing plant expansion or reconfiguration and assuring their competence by using simulation models
- designing, implementing and testing new production plants, including their monitoring and troubleshooting equipment
- optimizing production by analyzing and studying production processes and using de-bottleneck studies
- understanding the new scientific concepts, and applying them to the industry
- researching and developing new products from the prototype stage up to the production of the commercial product
- designing and building production lines
- ensuring that all safety consideration are taken throughout the manufacturing process.
A bachelor of chemical engineering is required to work in this field. You may also consider learning other skills in addition to your curriculum. Software skills such as MatLab, Simulink AutoCad, and Comsol will be very important, as these programs are used for making simulations, which are very important to save time and money. Additionally, learning a programming language such as Java or C++ may be useful too.
Moreover, you should try to pursue an internship during your studies; no need to mention the importance of work experience when searching for a job.
At some point, you may want to take a further step in your career. A master’s degree will be so useful. Also, you may look forward to becoming a chartered chemical engineer. This will open the door for you to get higher positions and increase your salary.
There are many required skills for a career in chemical engineering including:
- passion about chemistry and science in general
- a good understanding of engineering principles and the ability to apply them
- leadership skills
- ability to manage the available resources with the maximum efficiency
- good communication skills
- the ability to solve problems and find solutions to different issues efficiently (problem solving skills)
- the ability to be a team player and cooperate with colleagues
- knowledge about the software programs used in simulations
- attention to details
- understanding business and commercial issues to take them into consideration
- creativity and innovation.
Industries You Can Work At
There are many kinds of employers who are in need of chemical engineers. Any company that works in chemically converting raw materials into a product will need chemical engineers to work in planning, implementing and monitoring the manufacturing process.
Examples of the most important industries a chemical engineer can work at:
- chemical products
- oil and gas
- water treatment
- plastic materials
There is also the option to work in the fields related to environmental protection, pollution control, recycling, and alternative energy.
Additionally, engineers may be able to work in business, financial services, public relations, marketing, and management sectors, as they gain many skills during their studies and career.
As we said above, pursuing a career in chemical engineering may be very awarding in terms of salary. It is also an exciting career with many job options in various industries.
To be able to find a good job after graduation, do not think your university curriculum is sufficient. Learn new skills, such as programming and the software programs you will need in you work. There are various affordable online courses in chemical engineering which can be beneficial. You may also seek one or more internships during your summer vacation periods, as work experience is very important.
If you are already graduated, you must start your job search. In case you do not have one, you should create a professional resume highlighting all skills and experiences you have gained. Refer to our resume writing tips, or you can consider a professional resume writing service for a high quality product. The resume will be essential in your job search journey, and it is the factor that will land you an interview.
At the end, I will leave you with this video which explains thoroughly the career paths a chemical engineer may take after graduation.
Now it is your turn! I would like to hear from you. If you have any information to add or a question to ask, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.