Chemical Engineers: Jobs, Sectors, Qualities, Salaries and Future Prospects

What Chemical Engineers Do?

Chemical engineers develop and design chemical manufacturing processes. Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, physics, and math to solve problems that involve the production or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and many other products.


Chemical engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Programs usually take 4 years to complete and include classroom, laboratory, and field studies. High school students interested in studying chemical engineering will benefit from taking science courses, such as chemistry, physics, and biology. They also should take math courses, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

At some universities, a student can opt to enroll in a 5-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. A graduate degree, which may include a degree up to the Ph. D. level, allows an engineer to work in research and development or as a post secondary teacher.

Some colleges and universities offer cooperative programs where students gain practical experience while completing their education. Cooperative programs combine classroom study with practical work, permitting students to gain valuable experience and to finance part of their education.

Important Qualities for Chemical Engineers

Chemical engineers typically do the following:

  • Conduct research to develop new and improved manufacturing processes
  • Develop safety procedures for those working with potentially dangerous chemicals
  • Develop processes to separate components of liquids and gases or to generate electrical currents using controlled chemical processes
  • Design and plan the layout of equipment
  • Do tests and monitor performance of processes throughout production
  • Troubleshoot problems with manufacturing processes
  • Evaluate equipment and processes to ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations
  • Estimate production costs for management

Sectors for Chemical Engineers

  • Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences
  • Engineering services
  • Petroleum and coal products manufacturing
  • Wholesale trade
  • Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing

Process Design Package

One of the best jobs for chemical engineer is to develop a process design package. Process Design Package is dedicated to Client satisfaction and to providing the highest quality engineering services. It includes

  • Process Chemistry Development
  • Study of Stoichiometry of conversions / Chemical Engineering
  • Material & Energy Balance for Theoretical Conversion with utilities consumption
  • Block Flow Diagram (BFD) & Process flow Diagram (PFD)
  • Equipment Design & Modeling
  • List & Layout of main equipment
  • 2D & 3D Plots / Drawings on Autocad
  • Equipment Data Sheets with main dimensions
  • Piping & Instrumentation
  • Plant Layout
  • Simulation
  • Cost Estimation of the Project
  • Feasibility Report
  • Hazop Studies / Environmental Engineering Science / Safety Plans
  • Absorption Column Evaporator Heater Compressor Cooler Dryer Design

Software Learning

A professional chemical engineer must have the knowledge of either of the following software. An engineer with the experience of programming is always preferred in all sectors.

  • Matlab
  • Simulink
  • COMSOL Multiphysics
  • COCO Simulator
  • DWSIM Simulator
  • Matlab
  • SolidWorks
  • AutoCad MEP

Pay/Salary Estimations

Petroleum and coal products manufacturing $105,310
Basic chemical manufacturing 99,510
Scientific research and development services 97,880
Resin, synthetic rubber, and artificial synthetic fibers and filaments manufacturing 94,810
Architectural, engineering, and related services 93,390

Job Prospects for Chemical Engineers

The need to find alternative fuels to meet increasing energy demand while maintaining environmental sustainability will continue to require the expertise of chemical engineers in oil and gas related industries. In addition, the integration of chemical and biological sciences and rapid advances in innovation will create new areas in biotechnology and in medical and pharmaceutical fields for them to work in. Thus, those with a background in biology will have better chances to gain employment.

Careers Related to Chemical Engineers

  • Architectural and Engineering Managers
  • Biomedical Engineers
  • Chemical Technicians
  • Chemists and Materials Scientists
  • Nuclear Engineers
  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians

Future Looks Bright For a Chemical Engineer