Chemical engineering can be defined as a branch of chemistry plus engineering that also involve physical science and biology or biological science. Chemical engineering also incorporates other fields of study including mathematics, production, economics, transportation, transformation as well as usage of chemicals, molecules, energy and materials. Chemical engineers normally use various chemical processes to help find creative and innovative methods of producing goods thus help improve the lives of people. In most universities, the degree program runs for a period of 4 years to 5 years. An individual who has graduated with a bachelor degree in chemical engineering normally earns a median pay of $90,300 (according to the 2010 bureau of labor statistics).
Areas involved in chemical engineering
Chemical engineering degree normally requires students with a strong background in mathematics, chemistry and other relevant sciences. The degree is also offered in a wider context touching on other issues such as finance, ethics and environment. The course involves lectures, seminars, laboratory practical work and computer simulation practical.
Research also plays an important role chemical engineering degree. Research is normally carried out in the fields of health care, manufacturing, cosmetics, food, fuel and energy, waste management and textile among others.
Specialties in chemical engineering are normally in three major areas.These are as follows:
Biochemical engineering – it mainly lays emphasis on biochemical industry and has also been involved in pre-medical program.
Environmental engineering – its main emphasis is on environmental issues such as waste management, waste minimization and pollution control.
Materials engineering – this field mainly lays emphasis on production of different materials used in the market such as cosmetics.
Jobs and specialties in chemical engineering
There are different jobs that suit a chemical engineering degree graduate. These include:
- Energy engineer
- Petroleum engineer
- Chemical engineer
- Production or process development scientist/engineer
Other relevant and realistic positions for a chemical engineering degree graduate can also hold include:
- Manufacturing engineer
- Production engineer
- Quality manger
- Materials engineer
Prospects of chemical engineering
Chemical engineering degree help develop numerous skills that are not only critical in the field of engineering but also other sectors such as financial services, information technology and management. In most states, up to 50% of chemical engineering graduates get employed within the first six months after their graduation. This includes those employed within the country and also those employed overseas. They become managers in the industrial sector, public sector and also commercial sector in areas such as mining, energy and manufacturing. Some venture into finance and business associate profession and become underwriters, estimators and valuers, brokers, investment analysts and claims assessors. A few numbers normally enter other careers such as information technology, marketing, sales and advertising as well as other technical and professional occupations.
Chemical engineering degree is one of the fields that highly contribute to the growth and development of many nations and societies around the world. It produces graduates with numerous skills most employers seek. However, graduates must demonstrate their attributes and ability to deliver and not only the degree discipline. Personal attributes and skills involve all the skills developed in the course and other activities such as volunteering, family responsibilities, paid work, leadership roles, membership of societies, sports among others. These help market an individual and improve their profiles in the job market.