"Chemical engineering more than any other, may be called the engineering of the future." -John Hays Hammond

By understanding organic matter and how elements react to create something worthwhile, scientists have been able to discover beautiful things about the natural world that has dramatically benefited so many of our lives.

Therefore, by studying chemistry, we open our eyes wide and see how far our minds can go to create things using raw materials. Combining chemistry with engineering is known as chemical engineering, and it is one of the most important academic disciplines on earth today.

So, without further delay, let's take an overall look at chemical engineering, how important it is, how long it takes to work as a chemical engineer, and where work can be found in the sector of chemical engineering.

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What is a Chemical Engineer?

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Chemical engineers work hard in the lab to develop new products that will be sustainable and useful to the general public. (Source: Unsplash)

Before we start talking about how to become a chemical engineer and which types of jobs are available for chemical engineering majors, it is of the utmost importance to provide those who may not know a definition. So, what is a chemical engineer?

In the simplest of explanations, a chemical engineer is someone who is engaged in chemical engineering and that deals with the study and the design of chemical plants. But, in addition, chemical engineers work in laboratories to develop commercial products used by everyday consumers from raw materials.

The properties of chemistry and engineering combine to create products that are readily in use and help make daily life much easier. 

To adequately become skilled at chemical engineering, it is of the utmost importance for persons to be capable or have proficiency in the following subjects:

  • Chemistry, 
  • Physics, 
  • Mathematics,
  • Biology, 
  • Economics. 

Depending on the sector or employer, chemical engineers can range from utilising nanotechnology and nanomaterials to large-scale industrial processes such as converting chemicals, changing raw materials, modifying living cells, and using alternative energy sources.

The field of chemical engineering is constantly expanding to meet the industry's needs and create sustainable ways to grow the economy while not hurting the environment.

Nonetheless, how does someone become a chemical engineer? Keep on reading to discover the answer!

Steps Required to Become a Chemical Engineer

To become qualified to work as a chemical engineer in the UK or abroad, there are specific steps that all aspiring chemical engineers must go through. Such as? Without further delay, the following are a few necessary stages that must be accomplished before working in the chemical engineering sector:

  • Get Good Grades in Secondary School: before you start applying for universities, it is of the utmost importance to strive to get fantastic test scores in maths, physics, chemistry, and biology during the GCSEs and A-Levels in secondary school. Without above-average test scores, it is implausible that you will get admitted to chemical engineering programmes.
  • Acquire a Bachelor's Degree: the next step is going to university to study chemical engineering. Without acquiring a Bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, you will not be able to find work relevant to the domain you want to specialise in.
  • Strongly Consider a Master's Degree: though a BSc in Chemical Engineering from a qualified UK university might be enough to land some jobs, in some cases, employers want to hire chemical engineers with a Master's degree to research their firm.

Along with the previously mentioned steps, it is highly recommended for chemical engineering students to acquire skills that will help them succeed. Also, it's worth stating that you will need additional training and certificates for some jobs to show that you have passed security checks and that you will work safely with toxic materials.

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Employment Sectors Where Chemical Engineers Can Find Work

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When looking for a job as a chemical engineer, new chemical engineers should be picky and selective so as not to do something they don't like. (Source: Unsplash)

Because chemical engineering is a vast field of study, there are many career pathways available to recent graduates. The variety of jobs available allow chemical engineers to expand their expertise and change careers throughout their lives without going back to school to get an additional degree.

According to some research, it is widespread for chemical engineers to change careers at different points in their life. 

The following are a few of the employment sectors where chemical engineers may find employment quite easily:

  • Energy Corporations: most chemical engineers will find work in private and public industries that use oil and gas to create new products. Many jobs are available in chemical engineering for oil and gas extraction, nuclear energy, renewable energy programs, and oil refining.
  • Pharmaceutical Sector: chemical engineers will be hired to research and develop new medicine using their knowledge of chemistry for major drug companies and other pharmaceutical firms.
  • Private Enterprises: at private companies, chemical engineers will be hired to produce essential items such as food and drink, polymers, clothes, plastic and metals, pulp and paper, and toiletries.
  • Education: at later stages in their careers, after much practical research and investigation have been accomplished, some chemical engineers may work as educators at primary or secondary schools and universities.

While the previously mentioned sectors are the most common ones to find employment as a chemical engineer, many more areas might hire recent graduates of chemical engineering. For instance, chemical engineering students will work in pollution control, environmental protection, waste recovery, recycling, and health and safety in many cases.

But, what are some of the most typical job responsibilities of a chemical engineer? Take a look at the following subheading!

The Daily Tasks of a Chemical Engineer

Though the job duties of chemical engineers considerably change depending on where they find employment, there are some job responsibilities that most individuals working in chemical engineering will accomplish regularly. Such as? The following list mentions some everyday job tasks of a chemical engineer:

  • Use computer models and other processes to test the efficacy of these products and determine their safety for consumers and the environment.
  • Researching new methods of manufacturing chemicals,
  • Creating the process of which gas or liquid components are separated,
  • Gathering estimates of the cost of producing a new item, 
  • Implementing safety procedures for employees working with potentially hazardous chemicals.

Experienced chemical engineers will often teach new ones how they should conduct their research and what they should be looking for in a specific project. Thus, a lot of the job responsibilities of new chemical engineers are taught on the job and not during their university training.

To accomplish the responsibilities of any employment position for chemical engineers, an individual must be good at solving problems, boast fantastic maths and science skills, work great with others on a team, and possess analytical thinking.

Tips to Successfully Work as a Chemical Engineer

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When studying chemical engineering or starting their career, students are wise to seek the assistance of a private instructor with skills. (Source: Unsplash)

The process of studying for a degree in a topic as complex as chemical engineering is, at times, very stressful. Also, even though you were prepared by your instructors at uni to deal with aspects of chemical engineering, commencing the job search and finding a job with a chemical engineering degree can be quite a lengthy process.

To make both of the previously mentioned situations more manageable, we highly recommend heeding the advice of more experienced members of the chemical engineering community. The tips and tricks provided make studying and working as a chemical engineer much easier since working efficiently and not against the grain of progress.

Without further delay, the following are some tips that all aspiring or working chemical engineers should put into practice:

  • Stay On Top of Things: as a chemical engineering student, you are consistently learning new material from your classes. If you fail to do the homework, study and participate in all chemical engineering classes, it is much too easy to drift away and fall behind. Therefore, we remarkably suggest always doing the homework and preparing for the next class.
  • Ask Questions to Experienced Ones: even though you have a relevant degree from a qualified university, there is still a lot to be learned as a new chemical engineer. So, the best way to acquire knowledge is to ask experts in chemical engineering; your employers or coworkers can become a goldmine of information.
  • Consult a Private Educator: in the last two decades, private, one-on-one education with a qualified tutor has become much more popular. Through personalised lessons with an experienced chemical engineering tutor, a student or amateur chemical engineer can become equipped with the necessary skills to succeed. Tutors are flexible, and they adapt their methods to the needs of their pupils. In the UK, when using Superprof, there are plenty of affordable chemical engineering instructors that can be found.

By strongly considering all three of the previously mentioned tips, as a new chemical engineering tutor, you will view your studying as less of a burden and much more enjoyable than you might have previously thought.

In conclusion, the working life of a chemical engineer is varied and extremely rewarding because you know that you're working towards creating worthwhile things.

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Brentyn

Avid movie-goer, reader, skier and language learner. Passionate about life, food and travelling.