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I would like to know what it takes to be a chemical engineer?

my name is Ilana E. I am in 6th grade. I attend Paintsville Elementary in Pantsville ky. I am currently attending a stem camp in Pikeville. I was struggling to find a career that I am truly fascinated in, until I found a chemical engineer, but I would like to know more about them, and what they do.

# chemical engineer #career

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Muhammad’s Answer

Chemical Engineering is a great field. It's what I would call a "core engineering" principle i.e. civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical. That means that it can feed into a lot of different specializations.

I work in the oil industry, so I can tell you that chemical engineers are the brain of any chemical plant or refinery. They generally work as "process engineers" who monitor the different reactions occurring in the unit. They would control the different inputs required to make a specific chemical blend e.g. plastic, coolant etc. The inputs would be things like pressure, temperature, feed stock etc.

On the other hand, chemical engineers are needed in almost all other industries to some extent. Pharmaceuticals is a good example, where chemical engineers would again work in a similar process engineer role or help with R&D. Same with food processing, mining etc.

I also know a few chemical engineers who did a dual degree and became doctors after bachelors.

Once again, it's a good field with a lot of demand. Also, there is a lot of different specialization options available. I would suggest looking into specific industries you maybe interested in and researching how chemical engineers work in that specific industry. That would help you understand if this is something that you would like doing in the future.
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Ken’s Answer

Congratulations on being interested in finding the right career to follow.. It takes a special person to enter into a specific career field and meet the demands which that career area presents. The first step is to get to know yourself to see if you share the personality traits which make one successful in that area. The next step is doing networking to meet and talk to and possibly shadow people doing what you might think that you want to do to see if this is something that you really want to do, as a career area could look much different on the inside than it looks from the outside.  When I was doing college recruiting, I encountered too many students, who skipped these important steps, and ended up in a career/job for which they were ill suited.


Many people involved in engineering got their start at the local community college as the classes were smaller, the costs were more reasonable, and they had the opportunity for intern and coop programs which allow one to earn and learn and experience the inside view career area. It would be interesting to visit the director of alumni relations at your local community college to arrange to talk to and visit graduates working in chemical engineering to see what they are doing, how they got there, and what advice and suggestions that they might have for you.

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step in your education/career journey is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
Here are some sites that will allow you to become more familiar with engineering opportunities: ## https://www.engineergirl.org/ ## ## http://www.futureengineers.org/ ## ## https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43zVcmTJSKM ## ## http://stemtosteam.org/ ## ## https://www.asme.org/career-education/articles/undergraduate-students/engineering-still-needs-more-women ##
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