A chemical engineer is a person who applies his chemical knowledge in an industrial setting to create new substances and products and to improve the quality and production processes of existing substances and products. Talking about chemistry these days is no longer just about manipulating test tubes amid toxic overtones. The notions of quality and safety are today at the center of the process and of the professions in the sector. For all these reasons, chemical engineers are highly sought after, whether in heavy chemistry, fine chemistry, para chemistry, or pharmacy. The chemical engineer develops molecules, active principles, or even chemical products intended, for example, for the marketing of pharmaceutical or cosmetic products.
The chemical engineer is involved in all stages of an impressive range of everyday products.
Responsible for the design of clean fertilizers, fuels, or solvents, on water purification and waste treatment
Responsible for the creation of preventive anti-pollution technologies.
Design and production of chemical compounds
Responsible for designing equipment and installations for the manufacture of products (creams, perfumes, and also foods).
Find new, more efficient products, make improvements, and control existing ones.
Ensures the good quality of the raw materials and the products designed, by carrying out tests on samples.
Verifies that the final product complies with the specifications established upstream.
They can help prevent and resolve technical issues that arise during product development.
They can help the advertising department understand the benefits of adding a substance to a product.
Education and Training
To become a chemical engineer, one typically needs to have at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a similar field. This can also lead to a master’s degree in a specific area such as plastics engineering or food science. In the United States, a license for a Professional Engineer (PE) is allowed but not required. This requires a combination of an accredited degree, work experience, and passing multiple exams. He can work in a research laboratory, industrial production, or a design office.
Qualities of a Chemical Engineer
In any case, the chemical engineer must know how to work in a team be versatile. At the end of additional training in marketing and management, he can hold a sales position and see his career prospects broaden. He is persevering and does not give up after having suffered a few failures: finding a new formula can take time. Moreover, he has developed a good spirit of deduction and is particularly pragmatic.
Attentive and rigorous, he handles the chemicals he knows inside out with great care: some reactions can turn out to be very dangerous. The chemical engineer is a meticulous and curious professional. Like an investigator, he tests several hypotheses before finding the ideal solution. He is therefore patient, persevering, and knows how to manage his frustration. In the event of a problem, the chemical engineer is reactive, creative even to multiply the avenues of research. Halfway between development and marketing, the chemical engineer enjoys good interpersonal skills. He knows how to adapt to his interlocutor and likes teamwork.
The salary of the chemical engineer is attractive and as soon as you leave your studies: around $68,430 for a beginner profile, it increases with experience to an average of $108,540 per annum during your career. For the most specialized profiles, this remuneration can even exceed $168,960 yearly.
The professional development of the chemical engineer generally passes through the acquisition of managerial responsibilities. With experience, team management nibbles on their technical missions and can end up representing the major part of their work. Depending on his sector of activity, the chemical engineer can also retrain by integrating the sales department of his company.
The specific duties of a chemical engineer also depend mainly on how much experience they have. Junior-level workers tend to perform basic tasks. While those with more experience tend to take on roles with more responsibility and independence. Some manage teams of engineers themselves, while others propose and execute research projects. Experienced chemical engineers can also work in consulting or have a lot of latitudes if needed. Some chemical engineers may study chemistry at the undergraduate level. A chemical engineer can work in laboratories, public or private, design offices, civil engineering agencies, the chemical industry, and also local authorities.