Chemical Engineering Career Path | How to start? Complete Guide

Are you interested in chemical engineering career path and want to become a chemical engineer (Chem Eng)? This post is full packed with the information that you should need to know before considering this career option.

Here’s how I am going to make it easy for you decide; Is Chemical Engineering career path is a right fit for me…..or not?

You will get to know! About these following things…

  • What is chemical engineering?
  • Chemistry vs Chemical Engineering
  • What are the education and skills needed?
  • Career scope in chemical engineering?
  • Chemical engineering career options
  • What are you going to learn in chemical engineering degree?
  • What does a chemical engineer do on a daily basis?


What is Chemical Engineering all about?

As the name implies chemical, means deals with the chemical compounds and molecules structure. But it is half true there is a lot more than that, chemical engineering also shares a large portion of mathematics and physics. It’s a very common misconception in students that they only have to learn about the chemical molecules in this engineering branch. And they correlate with the chemistry undergraduate program.

Do you know? Bachelors in chemistry and Chemical Engineering both are different things. And it is one of the most discussable topics among the chemistry students.

The 4 major difference between Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Bachelor’s Degree. Chemistry Vs Chemical Engineering. These difference will help you to know better prospects of chemical engineering.

Chemical Engineering not all about the study of chemicals and their properties. In the curriculum ‘Chemical Engineering Career Path’ you are going to learn the design, process and operation of plants machinery (like a boiler, container, compressor, pump, reactor etc.).

Chemical Engineering is the combination of Mathematics + Physics + Chemistry + Engineering 


What will you learn in Chemical Engineering?

These are the major field of study that a ‘chemical engineering career path’ chooser would have to cover in their academic sessions.

  • Thermodynamics
  • Fluids flow operations (Fluid mechanics)
  • Plant Utilities and Energy Efficiency
  • Heat transfer and mass transfer
  • Properties and enthalpy deviation of solid, liquid and gas
  • Molecular disorder and randomness (Entropy)
  • Plant economics
  • Plant processing safety
  • Programming and algorithm development
  • MATLAB and AutoCAD
  • Simulation software to monitor the plant operations


Chemical Engineering Education requirements

Education 1 (Mandate): You must have completed your high school [Subject must have: Chemistry and Mathematics] to move further in chemical engineering career path

Education 2 (Mandate): Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering

You can start searching for the job after completing your bachelor’s. The vast majority of students are preferred to get into the industry after education 2.

Education 3 (Optional): Master Degree

For more advancement of skills and for further study of chemical processing industries you can enrol in these following programs…

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Bio-Engineering
  • Biochemical
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Nanotechnology
  • Material processing
  • Metallurgical Engineering

Other than the above programs you can do master’s in business and economics (MBA)

Note: If you had a bachelor’s degree in chemistry; you can also get admission in most of the master’s degree programs. 


Chemical Engineer Skills set

  • Chemistry (General + Organic + Physical)
  • Electrochemistry
  • Kinetics
  • Engineering Mathematics
  • Distillation process
  • Plant and equipment designing
  • Material processing
  • Process flow diagrams
  • Problem Solving
  • Analytic

I hope above all the explanation about chemical engineering career path assist you to determine; is this career option sound like the career path I want to go. If yes then continue reading… and know about the scope and responsibilities of a chemical engineer.


Where do chemical engineers work?

Most of the chemical engineers choose to work with these following chemical engineering companies…

  • Petrochemical industries
  • Chemical process industries
  • Petroleum refinery
  • Energy Sector
  • Oil and Gas
  • Nuclear technology
  • Land and Coal mining
  • Pharmaceutical industries
  • Food and drink manufacturing facilities
  • Consumer goods manufacturing industries
  • Pulp and paper industry
  • Semiconductor and Electronics industries
  • Plastic and synthetic fibre industries
  • Water and wastewater treatment plant
  • Environment protection Agencies

These are the names of employment sector where a chemical engineering graduate can go. Therefore, after completing education in chemical engineering perhaps you would also be going to catch up by one of these above mention industries.

Related Career option: Environmental Engineering

Tips: If you want to go for the water and wastewater treatment facilities. There is an alternative career path you can follow which is easier than chemical engineering. Know more about the water quality analyst career path.   

Note: Process/Processing Engineer is the most common designation for a chemical engineering graduate.

The above list of employment sector is overwhelming; definitely! Chemical engineers work across a wide variety of fields. You have plenty of options to choose. So if you have a question like; what after chemical engineering? I hope you have figured out.


Chemical Engineering Job Description

  • Investigate plant equipment and machinery on a daily basis to find the problems or any sort of issues, and perform the background research to get the solutions.


  • Specify the process requirements to complete the project and running operations. Create and design the efficient and cost-effective equipment. 


  • Before implanting solutions into the plant working environment. First, you have to develop a prototype and test the solution in that environment.


  • You are responsible for controlling the whole process adhering the safety standards.


  • As a processing in charge, you have to test; the using raw materials and ensure it is safe for the consumers. Especially in the food industry, a chemical engineer has to strictly follow the rule book.


  • Purification and distillation of raw chemicals and materials to get the desired result and product. 


  • Build and design plant structure concerning the minimum cost which economically viable for the plant. Therefore you also have knowledge about the market standard price for the required equipment and other using raw materials.


  • For every industry, energy is the most valuable things for manufacturing the products. So it is the responsibility of a chemical engineer or process engineer to make plant energy efficiency. And use the recycled energy to cut the electricity cost.


  • Maintain and monitor the producing heat in the process, to make material balance.


  • As a chemical engineer, you have to design, modify and operate the processes to manufacture the things we rely on every day like; petrol, cosmetics, groceries items, electricity, medicine, etc.


Chemical Engineering career path Scope

To protects the earth from the industrial danger chemical combustion reaction, which affects the atmosphere. And that implicated in the global warming.

Therefore we have to purify all the hazardous fossil fuels combustion gases and liquids before getting mix into the environment. And here the role of chemical engineering graduate rise up in handling the large-scale processing. 

As the above mention employment sectors, they all need a chemical engineer to scale up the product manufacturing adhering safety. Chemical engineering made a huge impact within the last few years because almost every day usable items like; cold drink, water, medicine, cosmetics and groceries items contain chemicals.

So it is a great responsibility to alter the dangerous chemical molecules from the products. And I don’t think industry ever going to stop the manufacturing process of these items. Therefore choosing ‘Chemical Engineering career path’ might be a right career option to choose.