Engineering - Chemical Graduate Jobs - Careers Guide

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A career in chemical engineering can combine your love of science with a salary higher than most other engineering jobs.

Chemical engineering encompasses a wide range of careers, from being involved in research and development to managing the safety implications and environmental impact of certain activities.

Everything we use in everyday life has had a chemical engineer involved, as they are the people who turn raw materials into the usable materials that various industries use to create things.

Engineering jobs encompasses many areas of science; so chemical engineers must keep their scientific skills up to date. The Institution of Chemical Engineers are the professional organisation for the industry. Being chartered by them will put you in a strong position and also lead to a much higher salary. Having taken a degree accredited by them will allow you to step into the industry easily.

There are many graduate training programmes in the industry for which you usually have to apply during your final year of study.

What degree do I need?TOP ^

In order to work as a chemical engineer, you will need to take an appropriate degree in a related subject. If you want to progress as an engineer, you will need to continue taking examinations throughout your career. Gaining professional status as a chartered or incorporated engineer will allow you to boost your earning potential.

The degrees that will allow you to get a graduate chemical engineering job include:

  • Chemical engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biological sciences
  • Earth and environmental sciences
  • Mathematics

Most students who take a chemical engineering degree opt for a four-year MEng - however some universities offer a three-year BEng which can be converted to a Masters later. It is also common for students to take sandwich courses with a year out to gain work experience in industry.

What skills do I need?TOP ^

Many of the skills you gain on a chemical engineering degree will be related to the technical side of the qualification, so you should expect to learn about how to turn raw materials into useful products. Health and safety issues are also paramount in the industry, so you should receive some training in this.

Alongside the technical skills you gain, you will also develop soft skills that will be useful in any sector or type of job.

Some skills that would be useful for a graduate chemical engineering role include:

Chemical engineers are constantly updating their skills to keep up-to-date with the latest production processes and techniques. Membership of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (the industry body) will allow you to get new qualifications and take new courses as they become available.

What graduate chemical engineering jobs can I do? TOP ^

Chemical engineers are popular with employers in a number of sectors. According to a survey of 2010 graduates, half of all chemical engineers in employment worked outside the engineering profession.

Graduate jobs in chemical engineering are traditionally based in the industrial sector. Any company involved in the conversion of raw materials into a type of product will require a chemical engineer – therefore manufacturing is a major supplier of chemical engineering jobs.

Some jobs include:

  • Chemical engineer
  • Product development scientist
  • Petroleum engineer
  • Energy engineer
  • Manufacturing engineer
  • Quality manager

Average chemical engineering salariesTOP ^

Engineering is technically difficult to master, so chemical engineers can earn large salaries depending on the company they work in. Membership of a professional body and continuing to gain qualifications throughout your career will ensure your salary continues to grow.

  • Chemical engineer: £28,000 - £60,000
  • Analytical chemist: £14,000 - £50,000
  • Systems engineer: £22,500 - £40,000
  • Materials engineer: £20,000 - £40,000
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