Chemical engineers use chemistry, physics, and math along with engineering tools to solve problems relating to the production and use of chemicals. This includes things like refining gasoline and other fuels from petroleum, purifying of drinking water, treating waste, recovering raw materials, and producing and processing food. They can work in chemical manufacturing, electronics, pollution control, even medicine and food processing.
Chemical engineers need a four-year college degree. Most have degrees in chemical engineering, although some have specialized degrees in biochemical, petroleum, metallurgical, or sanitation engineering.
Most chemical engineers work in manufacturing industries, in research and development labs, productions plants, or management. Some provide engineering services as consultants in research and testing, design, or policy. The environment and hours that they work varies with the industry and kind of job.
You are a Chemical Engineer, if you:
- Want to keep getting better at things
- Can think creatively
- Can work on a team or alone
- Can be focused and patient
- Enjoy big challenges
- Can use and remember important facts and details
- Are interested in computer modeling
The starting salary for a chemical engineer (2009):
- Design environmentally friendly cleaning products
- Develop chemotherapy that has fewer side effects
- Turn seawater into drinking water
- Develop ways of mass producing vaccines to ward off epidemics
- Reduce pollution by developing cleaner sources of energy