Engineering - Chemical School Leaver Jobs - Careers Guide

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Get stuck into a career that not only uses your love for all things science, but promises a salary higher than most other kinds of engineering jobs.Chemical engineering

Everything we use during the day and take for granted, from our painkillers to our packs of crisps, has a chemical engineer involved. Chemical engineers are the people who help design plants and production processes that turn raw materials and chemicals into usable materials that various industries use to create things.

What’s it all about? TOP ^

Chemical engineers make sure these materials are being produced in an efficient and economic way that benefits the company and the environment as much as possible. Being in this position means they can come up with new materials or concepts that result in new fields of research, such as nanotechnology and fuel cells.

People across a lot of industries rely a great deal upon what chemical engineers can do, so you'll have a lot of fields to choose from – pharmaceutical, energy, biomedical, process plants, food and drink, and more. This means you'll have a lot of career possibilities after you get your degree.

While you're studying, consider which graduate training programmes you'd like to apply for, as you'll usually need to get your details in during the final year of your degree.

While there's a good salary attached to this job, there's also a lot of responsibility in that you need to make sure the plans and recommendations you put into place are accurate. The support and community around chemical engineering is a big advantage – it's easy to meet other people who do similar things to you, and to develop your career with the right training.

What will I earn? TOP ^

Graduates can start out with a salary around £25,000, quickly climbing over £30,000. Experienced chemical engineers can earn well above this, making beyond £50,000 and £60,000 in some positions.

Where can I work? TOP ^

Chemical engineers can work in almost any industry which involves creating a product from raw materials. Some of the most obvious employers include those in the oil and gas industry, nuclear and power generation and pharmaceuticals.

Chemical engineers themselves are involved in the design, development and construction of products as well as the processes required to make those products.

What skills will I need in chemical engineering? TOP ^

Apart from being good at maths, physic and chemistry, it's important to have good social skills and a clear way of explaining things to your colleagues. You’ll need to be confident with managing projects, and in putting your innovative ideas forward.

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 entry level jobs can I do in chemical engineering?TOP ^

Getting into chemical engineering will require you to have a relevant degree. Once you qualify, you will be able to look for an entry level job.

Some entry level jobs in chemical engineering once qualified include:

  • Chemical engineering
  • Analytical engineer
  • Product development scientist
  • Quality manager
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