5 answers

Where do chemical engineers work ?


Where can a chemical engineer work other than lab ? And what is the job description ?
I want to know what are the criterias and the characteristics of a chemical engineer (personality, passions, style,.. ) to see if this agree with mine because I am studying chemical engineering but I don't see myself as a chemical engineer #chemical-engineering #personality #requirements

5 answers

Olivia’s Answer

Updated Washington, Washington

Scarlett; There are so many jobs a background in chemical engineering can lead you to. I was inspired to study chemical engineering when my brother's friend explained to me that chemical engineers transform raw material to finished product, example making white paper out of wood. I though that would be fascinating for me to do. This led me to get serious about a career as chemical engineer with the goal of working in food manufacturing industry.

Before I could finish and got my degree as a chemical engineer, I got married and had a baby and my husband resides in Washington Metro area with no industries nearby. Trying to get a job I want in the location we live was very difficult and I ended up taking a job in the environmental field as an environmental engineer. I am involved in a lot of varying activities include writing environmental regulations, inspecting and permitting air pollution sources and writing outreach materials to inform regulated communities. I have enjoyed my career even though it took a different turn.

In other words, it means that it is unlimited what you can do with a career in chemical engineering. I know one of my classmate that went on to medical school and became an eye doctor after her engineering degree. You can be a technical writer or reporter, a pharmaceutical sales rep, etc.

The criteria for an engineer is having passion and being creative in every aspect of life. When I was in school, I went to an Engineering association meeting and we had an 80+ year old engineer keynote speaker, and he told us: "engineers do not occupy a job rather they create a job". If engineers occupy a job, there will be no new inventions.

Terry’s Answer

Updated Durham, North Carolina

Hi. Kristina and Rush have already given good answers to your question so I'll keep my response brief. My career as a chemical engineer was spent primarily as a process engineer in oil and natural gas processing plants. This typically involved monitoring the day-to-day operations of the plants to make sure they were operating safely, making products that met the required specifications, and making sure the impact on the environment was as benign as possible. It also involved a lot of troubleshooting and optimization to improve the operations of the plant. I took on more responsibility as I gained experience and helped train newer engineers.

One of the nice things (for me) about this type of work is that you get to collaborate with lots of other engineers and to use your imagination and education to fix problems or improve things in the plants. I found the troubleshooting aspect of the job the most rewarding. Engineering can also be a stepping stone to a wide array of other careers, and many engineers move into other fields as their career progresses. In response to your specific question about lab work, my career involved almost no direct work in a lab (except for my college years, of course).

Good luck in whatever field you decide to pursue.

Kristina’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

Hi there!

Chemical Engineering can open doors to many different industries. Not only can you work in the oil and gas, cosmetics, food and beverage, and pharmaceutical industries just to name a few but mainly, you would be working to make something larger than imagined. My personal word of advice is to ask yourself what do you want to create? For me, I always loved food. But how is that related to chemical engineering? Well, in big industries like Pepsico or Coca-Cola, a specific formula for their products has been made but this also has to be maintained. It can be the job of a chemical engineer to ensure that the quality of their products is consistently being made the same (quality engineer).

Becoming a process engineer can also be a career path for a chemical engineer. This broadly means that you design and maintain a chemical plant. Think big petrochemical plants or small craft breweries. It does not necessarily mean that you will be working in a lab all day or even at all. It's more about using what you learned in the classroom and applying it out in the field. What documents will help you achieve a good design.

In regards to what characteristics (personality, passions, style...) make up a chemical engineer, I would say that there are so many personalities, styles, and passions that drive them. When deciding to become a chem engineer, I think the more important question to ask is what industry do you want to work with? That's where you will find people that share your passions and interests. As for style...I would stay...business professional is the way to go! Unless, you're out in the field; in which case, jeans and a t-shirt with personal protective equipment (hard hat, nomax suit, ear plugs, lab goggles) is required.

Job descriptions that may interest a chemical engineer include, Process Engineer, Packaging Engineer, Product Development Engineer, Quality Assurance Engineer, Nuclear Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, or Project Manager.

Excellent response from Kristina. Investigate many industries. Process engineers can support/improve a process for an industry, or can help develop new facilities in a project role. Since I worked in the chemical industry, my best project Managers were Chemical engineers that were developed into project managers. The opportunities for chemical engineers are endless. Good luck.

Gary Stephen’s Answer

Updated Harlingen, Texas


Hi, here is a good link for Chemical Engineer career outlook and information. I would also suggest doing some career assessments through your school or maybe online to help you figure out what you want to do if not Engineering. Good luck!

Rush’s Answer

Updated Rome, Georgia

As a chemical engineer a professional has a variety of principles she/he can work in. A chemical engineer can work in the petroleum industry as a process engineer, chemical engineer or a safety engineer. In the water process sector, chemical engineers can work as water process engineer to work on designing water process at a plant. Energy analyst, automotive coating engineers, reaction engineer, corrosion engineers, material scientist, treatment manufacturing engineers, controls engineers, pharmaceutical engineers, bio fuel and bio process engineers are few other engineering a chemical engineer can perform.