Chemical engineers research, design, and develop machinery, processes, and manufacturing equipment used to produce chemicals, fuel, food, drugs, and many other products. The development of new or improved products can require years of study. New chemicals must be thoroughly tested for use in manufacturing and product formulations. In addition to test procedures needed for safe use, chemical engineers may also determine the cost-effectiveness of using a new product versus the cost of more traditional materials.
As a chemical engineer, you will work in an office or laboratory. Most chemical engineers work full time. Chemical engineers spend much of their time working with other people in meetings and conferences—with their team, with clients, and with colleagues from other companies.
Entry-level workers in this field usually need associate degrees, but people can move into research or management with a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who have Ph.D.s also work in this field, as do chemists, biologists, and physicists with backgrounds in engineering.
Chemical engineers work in research and development, production, management and regulation. They design systems for manufacturing chemicals and other products; develop and improve methods to make products; conduct employee training; and oversee quality control and assurance procedures.