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Overview - Preparation - Day in the Life - Earnings - Employment - Industries - Professional Development - Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations

A variety of industries employ chemical engineers, representing a diverse range of products, employers, and services. 

Chemical Process Industries
The focus of companies in this industry is on the development, extraction, isolation, combination, and use of chemicals and chemical by-products. Chemical engineers design and operate processes and systems to combine, transport, separate, handle, recycle, and store them. This industry consists of several specialty areas:

  • Agricultural Chemicals
  • Catalysts
  • Specialty Chemicals
  • Industrial Gases
  • Paints, Varnishes, Lacquers, Pigments, and Inks
  • Petrochemicals
  • Petroleum Products
  • Plastics, Synthetic Resins, and Composites
  • Polymers
  • Pulp and Paper
  • Rubber and Rubber Products
  • Soaps, Detergents, Perfumes, Fats, Oils, and Cosmetics
  • Synthetic Fibers, Textiles, and Films

Additional Resources:

This area uses living cells, materials produced by cells, and biological techniques developed through research to create products for use in other industries. This field has produced antibiotics, insulin, interferon, artificial organs, recombinant DNA, techniques for waste reduction and recycling, and hybrid plants that are insect resistant. Chemical engineers develop and design the processes to grow, handle, and harvest living organisms and their by-products. Additional Resources:

Design and Construction
This field works with other industry sectors to design and build facilities, specify machinery, and design and troubleshoot processes that allow companies to operate safe and efficient plants. Chemical engineers are involved with process design and project management and work closely with other engineering disciplines. Additional Resources:

American Council of Engineering Companies

Chemical engineers in the electronics industry are involved with material development and production, process control equipment design, and the manufacturing of microchips and intricate circuitry. Chemical engineers have contributed to the industry by producing components that better dissipate heat and operate faster. Additional Resources:

Environmental Safety & Health
Every process involving use and manipulation of raw materials produces some by-products. Chemical engineers minimize the production of by-products (or find an appropriate use for them) through process monitoring and control, as well as by designing more efficient processes. Chemical engineers are involved in waste treatment and disposal and process safety and loss prevention. Additional Resources:

Food and Beverages
This industry includes the handling, processing, preparing, packaging, and preserving of food and beverages. Chemical engineers formulate new products to meet consumer demand, change ingredients to improve flavor, adapt handling processes to ensure more consistent texture, and freeze-dry products or design aseptic packaging to enable a longer shelf life. Additional Resources:

This industry comprises petroleum and petroleum products production and refining, as well as nuclear and synthetic fuels. Typically known for their work in refineries, chemical engineers are also involved in developing alternative energy sources, working on production processes, environmental monitoring, research and development, and process safety. Additional Resources:

Advanced Materials
Several industries (most notably aerospace, automotive, glass, ceramics, electronics, refractories, metals, metallurgical products, minerals processing, and photographic products) employ chemical engineers to help develop materials. Chemical engineers manipulate the weight, strength, heat transfer, reflectivity, and purity of substances to produce materials with unique properties. Additional Resources:

The technical training received by chemical engineers makes them well suited for positions in business, finance, insurance, law, publishing, education, and government. Chemical engineers manage, analyze, and insure businesses in the chemical process industries. U.S. government employers include the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Navy, NASA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Agriculture.

Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

 Computer Science
 Engineering Technology
  -- Aerospace
  -- Agricultural
  -- Architectural
  -- Bioengineering
  -- Chemical
  -- Civil
  -- Computer
  -- Electrical
  -- Environmental
  -- Industrial
  -- Manufacturing
  -- Materials
  -- Mechanical
  -- Nuclear
  -- Mining
  -- Petroleum
  -- Software
  -- Others


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