What is Chemical Engineering? Job Descriptions, Education, Salaries

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Chemical engineering is a very important and one of the most common engineering fields in the World. There are lots of chemical engineers that are working in various sectors and fields. Here, we will give some necessary information about chemical engineering and you can find this information about chemical engineering in this article; 

  • Definition and job description of chemical engineering, 
  • Sub-disciplines and fields of chemical engineering, 
  • Working fields of chemical engineers, 
  • Chemical engineering education and the best schools of chemical engineering in the world, 
  • Advantages of chemical engineering around other engineering fields,
  • Chemical engineer’s salaries in the world and top countries where chemical engineers have the highest salaries,
  • Frequently asked questions about chemical engineering. 

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What is Chemical Engineering?  

Like other engineering fields, chemical engineering is an engineering field that provides safer and cheaper solutions with optimization. Chemical engineering, chemistry mathematics, physics, biology biochemistry, and economics are used to obtain useful systems for human society. Chemical engineering is the application area of these scientific topics. 

Who is the Chemical Engineer?

In a more technical explanation, a chemical engineer is a person who graduated from accredited chemical engineering faculties of bachelor’s degree schools. The chemical engineer is responsible for the optimization of the industrial chemical processes and products into a financially more efficient state. Chemical engineers are very valuable to companies and companies pay very well to chemical engineers because of this. 

What do Chemical Engineers Do?

There are various kinds of sectors and companies where chemical engineers are hired as professionals. So, there is a wide variety of job types for chemical engineers. 

The biggest employment type of chemical engineer is the process engineer. In the production processes of manufacturing sites, chemical engineers can be hired in the chemical production processes. For example in a galvanic coating process, a chemical engineer can be hired to be responsible for this process and the development of this coating process.

Also in research and development sections of companies, chemical engineers are hired. In the development of chemical equipment and substances, chemical engineers are hired. For example, in the development of a new cleaning detergent, chemical engineers are taking a very big place. 

Sub-Disciplines of Chemical Engineering

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Chemical engineering is one of the 4 main engineering branches. Because of this reason, chemical engineering has lots of sub-disciplines and branches. 

The biggest sub-discipline of chemical engineering in materials science and engineering. In this branch of chemical engineering, ceramic engineering, crystal engineering, and polymer engineering are the main engineering fields. 

Process engineering is the other important discipline of chemical engineering. In the chemical process engineering, design, operation, and control of the chemical processes are made. The most important sub-branches of chemical process engineering are; petrol engineering, polymer engineering, and paper engineering. 

Molecular engineering is another important branch of chemical engineering. Molecular engineers are dealing with the production of different chemical molecules. 

These are the general sub-disciplines and branches of chemical engineering. 

What is the Working Fields of Chemical Engineers?

Because chemical engineering is one of the biggest branches of engineering, there are various working fields that which chemical engineers are hired.

Energy Sector

The production and transferring of natural gas and oil is a very big sector in which chemical engineers are hired. Also, companies that are supplying fuels are an important sector for chemical engineers. 

In the distillation platforms of oil, chemical engineers are hired as process engineers because there are lots of chemical processes taking place. 


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Pharmacy is another important sector that which chemical engineers are extensively hired. In pharmacy companies, chemical engineers are at the stage in the development of pharmacy products and the development of the production of pharmacy products. The pharmacy sector is one of the biggest sectors around the globe in which chemical engineers are hired. 

Manufacturing Companies

In a typical manufacturing company such as an automotive body manufacturing company, there is a certain chemical process that is applied to produce products. For example, in the automotive body production line, there is a coating and painting process for the produced products. In the development and operation of this coating or painting process, chemical engineers are at the stage. 

Food and Beverage Production and Factories

There is a sub-discipline of chemical engineering which is called food engineering, which is hired in the production and development of commercial foods. Food production is also a very big sector in the world, and lots of chemical engineers are required in these sectors. 

Cosmetic Sector

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In our daily life, we are using lots of cosmetic products such as perfumes, shampoos and soaps, toothpaste, and other kinds. In the development and production of these cosmetic products, chemical engineers are at the first stage. You can improve yourself to take part in the cosmetic sector. 

Other Chemical Products Developments and Production

There are lots of chemical products that are used by people extensively, such as concrete, cleaning chemicals, paints and dyes, glues, etc. In the production and development of all these products, chemical engineers take responsibility. 

How is the Chemical Engineering Education?

Like other engineering educations, chemical engineering education is very hard. There are lots of fundamental scientific lessons and professional chemical engineering lessons which are dependent on numbers and calculations. 

Before starting the chemical engineering education, a preparation class can be taken in which you are learning a foreign language which will be very vital for chemical engineering.

The first year starts with the first semester in chemical engineering where fundamentals of maths, calculus, physics, chemistry, and computer skills are required in chemical engineering. The second semester of chemical engineering goes on with the advanced topics of these fundamental lessons. 

In this second year of chemical engineering education, the third semester starts with the advanced calculus lessons such as differential equations, organic chemistry which is a very hard and verbal lesson, lessons about chemical processes in the industry, etc. The fourth semester of chemical engineering continues with the thermodynamics, other advanced calculus topics, and advanced organic chemistry lessons. 

The third year of chemical engineering is the year that you are taking the most important lessons that will make you a chemical engineer. In the fifth semester of the third year, you will take advanced thermodynamics, heat transfer, and physical chemistry. 

With the change from school to school, you will be responsible for a summer practice in which you make your summer intern in a chemical engineering company for 2-3 months. So chemical engineering schools provide this internship and sometimes you need to find it yourself. 

In the sixth semester of the third year of chemical engineering education, you will take laboratory lessons and applications and advanced lessons about chemical engineering such as mass transfer, chemical reaction engineering, etc. 

The fourth year of chemical engineering comes with the selective lessons of chemical engineering in which area you want to improve yourself. Also, you will have a final thesis on chemical engineering assignment which should be related to the optional lessons that you took. We recommend you to complete this final thesis in a professional chemical engineering company that will be a very great asset to your CV. 

Which are the Best Schools for Chemical Engineering?

According to the Topuniversities.com, the current best chemical engineering universities are like this; 

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology(98,5/100) 
  • Stanford University(95,9)
  • National University of Singapore (NUS)(93.7/100)
  • The University of California, Berkeley (UCB)(93.2/100)
  • University of Cambridge(92.6/100)
  • Nanyang Technological University, Singapore(91.2/100)
  • ETH Zurich(90,3)
  • The University of Oxford, the UK(89,5/100)
  • California Institute of Technology(89,3/100)
  • Imperial College London(88,3/100)

In general, the best universities are in the US and the UK to study chemical engineering in the world. Also, the best companies to work as chemical engineers are in these countries. 

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Chemical Engineering?

There are some important advantages of the chemical engineering;

  • Importance of Engineering: The most important advantage of chemical engineering is being an engineering branch. The fundamentals of engineering do not change around the world. You can be an engineer if you have an engineering degree from an accredited school. 
  • Finding Jobs Easily: You can find a job easily in chemical engineering because sectors that which chemical engineers must be hired are very big compared with others. Chemical engineering is also in an advantageous place among other engineering disciplines because it is one of four main engineering branches. 
  • Salaries are High: In general, salaries of chemical engineers are high compared with other job sections. Because responsibilities of chemical engineers are very high in the companies. 
  • Respected by People: Chemical engineering is a very respected engineering field by other people because it requires special skills to accomplish the chemical engineering education and professional chemical engineering. 

There are also disadvantages of chemical engineering that should be considered; 

  • Exposal of Chemicals: Maybe chemical engineers are not directly in touch with the chemical in the workplace, but chemicals in the air can be inhaled which can cause long-term health effects. But lots of occupational safety equipment are developed to make minimum these effects. And implementing these occupational safety rules is mandatory in most companies. 
  • Lots of Brain Work: In chemical engineering, you will feel mentally exhausted because of lots of calculations and predictions on the job. Lots of people may find it joyful but if you deal 9 hours a day, you will feel exhausted. To minimize this mental exhaustion, do some physical activities out of the office. 
  • Less Physical Activity: In most of the time, chemical engineering is a desk job. You will probably sit long hours at the office. So, doing exercises and sporting activities are very important out of the office. 

But chemical engineering is a fulfilling and joyful section of engineering. All of these downsides of chemical engineering can be compensated.

Top Paying Countries to Chemical Engineers

In general, some of the same countries are paying the highest salaries to engineers which are also valid for chemical engineers. Check the list that countries paying the most salary to chemical engineers. 

  • The US

In the US, chemical engineers are earning very good. On average, chemical engineers are earning around $115.000. The most important states are Texas, Delaware, and Louisiana to work in as a chemical engineer. 

  • Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world. The average yearly salary of chemical engineers in Switzerland is around CHF 100.000 which roughly equals $85.000.

  • Japan

According to the work experience, Japanese chemistry companies are paying up to $100.000 to chemical engineers annually. 

  • Norway

Baltic countries are the best places to work in. The working hours are the lowest compared to the world. And average salaries for chemical engineers in Norway are very high. The average salary in Norway is around $80.000 annually for chemical engineers. 

  • Germany

There are lots of chemistry companies in Germany where chemical engineers can find jobs easily. The average starting salary of chemical engineers in Germany is around 55.000 EUR. 

  • Australia

Australia is a very good choice to live in for engineers. Chemical engineers who are freshly graduated can start average salaries of $40.000-50.000 in Australia. 

  • Denmark

The average chemical engineer’s salary in Denmark is around $75.000. 

  • Canada

Canada is one of the first countries that engineers are moved to work in. This is because Canada taking lots of foreign engineers and the working conditions are very good in Canada. The average salary in Canada is $89.000 for chemical engineers. 

  • Ireland

Ireland can be a small country but the average salaries for chemical engineers are very high. According to the experience of a chemical engineer, a chemical engineer can earn between 26.000-70.000 EUR annually in Ireland.

  • Finland

Maybe Finland is cold but it is a very good country to live in for chemical engineers. A freshly graduated chemical engineer can start with a salary of 40.000 EUR yearly. 

As you understand, Chemical engineers are earning very good all around the world.

Conclusion on Chemical Engineering

As you understand that chemical engineering is a very widespread engineering branch. Various engineering areas originated from chemical engineering. And also, there are various sectors where chemical engineers are hired extensively which shows chemical 

engineers will not be jobless anytime. 

All the best schools and institutions have chemical engineering departments also shows the importance of chemical engineering around the world. 

There are various advantages and disadvantages of chemical engineering but the advantages of it outweigh them. Disadvantages can of chemical engineering bde eliminated with the basic measures.

Nearly in all countries, chemical engineering is one of the best-paid jobs because of the lots of important occupational responsibilities.

We tried to give the most general information from the widest viewpoint about chemical engineering. 

Do not forget to leave your comments and questions below about chemical engineering and topics related to chemical engineering! If you are a chemical engineer or a chemical engineering student, your precious feedback will be very valuable for us and the other visitors reading this article! 

FAQs About Chemical Engineering

Is chemical engineering a good job?

As we stated above, there are very good advantages of chemical engineering. Chemical engineering is a good job because it is among the highest-paid careers and it is commonly hired by lots of companies and sectors.

What does a chemical engineer do?

Chemical engineers are responsible for the development and maintenance of the production and development of chemical products in general. Chemical engineers are hired in the petroleum, cleaning, energy, cosmetics, chemistry, and food sectors. 

Which field is best for a chemical engineer?

In general, engineering fields are very good but for a chemical engineer, the energy sector may be the most paid because the energy market is very high and the energy demand is very big around the world. 

What is the future of chemical engineering?

This is because chemical engineering is one of the four main engineering branches, and the future of chemical engineers is very bright. According to the different resoırces, the employment of chemical engineers will grow around 10% in the 10 years ahead. 

Is chemical engineering education hard?

Like other main engineering branches such as mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering, the subjects of chemical engineering are very hard. It requires special care and the ability to finish the chemical engineering education with a good GPA.

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