Chemical Engineers

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About the Job

Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, plastics, detergents, cement, paper, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.

It is also Called

  • Absorption and Adsorption Engineer
  • Automation Engineer
  • Blending Coordinator
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Chemical Process Control, Design, or Development Engineer
  • Chemical Process Engineer
  • Chemical Research Engineer
  • Chemical Test Engineer
  • Commissioning Engineer
  • Design Engineer

What They Do

  • Develop safety procedures to be employed by workers operating equipment or working in close proximity to on-going chemical reactions.
  • Troubleshoot problems with chemical manufacturing processes.
  • Evaluate chemical equipment and processes to identify ways to optimize performance or to ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations.
  • Conduct research to develop new and improved chemical manufacturing processes.
  • Determine most effective arrangement of operations such as mixing, crushing, heat transfer, distillation, and drying.
  • Perform tests and monitor performance of processes throughout stages of production to determine degree of control over variables such as temperature, density, specific gravity, and pressure.
  • Design and plan layout of equipment.
  • Prepare estimate of production costs and production progress reports for management.
  • Design measurement and control systems for chemical plants based on data collected in laboratory experiments and in pilot plant operations.
  • Develop processes to separate components of liquids or gases or generate electrical currents using controlled chemical processes.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: IR.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Realistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Recognition, but also value Achievement and Working Conditions in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

LMI Region

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in United States was $104,340 with most people making between $59,320 and $158,980

Outlook

0.00%
avg. annual growth

During 2010, this occupation employed approximately 30,000 people in United States. It is projected that there will be 32,000 employed in 2020.

This occupation will have about 0 openings due to growth and about 11,000 replacement openings for approximately 11,000 total annual openings.