Chemical engineering is in many ways the
archetypal science job, even involving the traditional white coat and laboratory
work. However, it is also a very stimulating field in general, Samantha Tyson
of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) having described it in The Guardian as “all
about turning raw materials into useful, everyday products.”
Qualified chemical engineers can also look
forward to decent remuneration – a recent IChemE salary survey having found
that starting wages are in the region of £29,500.
More experienced chartered chemical
engineers can expect to earn as much as £70,000, with work in certain
industries such as oil and contracting
potentially commanding even higher amounts. But how can you become a chemical
engineer in the first place?
with other science jobs, you need the right characteristics
Don’t be fooled too much by the ‘chemical’
bit of this particular job title – if you wish to become a chemical engineer,
you will need to have strong mathematical
ability. Maths, physics and chemistry are
the most common A-levels taken by chemical engineering students, according to
But you will also need many other, often
more general skills and attributes to secure a chemical engineering job. These
range from project and resource management skills and oral and written
communication skills to analytical and problem-solving ability and the ability
to work as part of a team.
Graduates seeking these particular science
jobs will also be expected to possess strong IT skills, commercial and business
awareness and the capacity to motivate and lead a team.
qualifications will you require?
You shouldn’t normally be able to secure a
chemical engineer role unless you have a BEng degree or a BTEC HNC or HND in
chemical or process engineering. Admission to a chemical engineering degree
course generally depends on you having at
least five GCSEs graded between A and C, as well as two A-levels including
maths and a science subject.
If you lack maths and science
qualifications, some universities offer a foundation year to help get you up to
speed. As always, you should double-check the exact entry requirements with individual colleges.
It can be advantageous for those wishing to
build an especially lucrative career in chemical engineering to also possess a
Masters degree (MEng) in addition to a first
degree in chemical engineering. Those with a degree in a different branch of
engineering or a related subject such as chemistry or polymer science may opt
to take an MSc postgraduate degree in chemical or process engineering to boost
engineering is an extremely diverse field of work
to sum up everything that chemical engineers do in just a few lines. Depending
on the exact role and sector in which you work, you may find yourself designing
plant and equipment configuration, setting up scale-up and scale-down
processes, assessing options for plant expansion, applying new technologies and
researching new products, among an incredibly wide range of other potential
There are plenty of opportunities for
progression too, which according to the National Careers Service, include progressing
to a senior process or design engineer, research and development manager role or
becoming a plant manager or overall operations manager. Consultancy work is
Remember that Hyper Recruitment Solutions
is a leading science recruitment agency serving those on the lookout for all
manner of engineering roles, including process or chemical engineering. Simply click through to
learn more about our in-depth expertise in this area.