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What Is Chemical Engineering?

chemical engineering

Chemical engineering is a form of engineering that has become more widespread and more important in recent decades. Most of the things we use on a day-to-day basis have more than likely been through some sort of chemical process before making their way to the shelves.

In this blog post, we'll examine chemical engineering in closer detail, looking at what it involves, the careers that you can pursue with a qualification in chemical engineering, and why it's such an exciting field to work in!



Chemical Engineering: An Overview

Chemical engineering is the science of changing one thing into another. Most commonly, raw materials are turned into useful products such as drinks, food, clothes and energy.

Chemical engineers focus on a variety of processes and products, developing and designing methods to create physical goods. Sometimes referred to as 'universal engineering' as a result of its broad nature, chemical engineering concerns itself with managing resources, protecting the environment, and improving health and safety.

Modern chemical engineering is also concerned with pioneering valuable new materials and techniques, such as nanotechnology, fuel cells and biomedical engineering. Chemical engineers quite literally change the world!


Qualifications Needed to Be a Chemical Engineer

To become a chemical engineer, you will have to study and complete a university degree - usually in chemical, process or biochemical engineering. You will then have to become chartered as your career develops, gaining accreditation from the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE).

To become chartered, you'll need to complete an accredited integrated MEng or an accredited BEng, followed by further learning to Masters level or an accredited Masters or engineering doctorate (EngD).

Read our Career Guide blog to learn more about what it takes to become a chemical engineer.

How to Become a Chemical Engineer >


Where Do Chemical Engineers Work?

Any organisation that is involved in the large-scale conversion of raw materials into products will require chemical engineers.

Potential employers for chemical engineers are as diverse as the products they produce. If you gain the relevant qualifications and required work experience, you can choose from all kinds of different sectors, including...

  • Water
  • Oil and gas
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemical and allied products
  • Business, management and consultancy

As a chemical engineer, you can also work for companies who design and manufacture chemical process plants and equipment; however, to do this, you may require some knowledge of mechanical engineering.

Chemical engineering is a challenging but highly rewarding subject, one which will take you from classrooms to laboratories to real industry and back again. It’s a highly practical career that will teach you how to work in a range of environments and across scientific disciplines (including chemistry, mathematics, engineering, and physics).

Chemical engineers are among the most in-demand graduates in the UK, with some of the best career prospects of any subject. So finding employment as chemical engineer should not be too difficult if you have the right qualifications.


Why Pursue a Career in Chemical Engineering?

Chemical engineering is a relatively new field, having been studied for just 125 years or so. This means that there is so much more to learn and a lot of scope for this budding sector to grow, making it one of the most exciting scientific careers you can pursue.

Chemical engineering has changed dramatically in the last few years. Historically, it has been a subject that focused on fuel (oil and gas), but is now much more than that. Many graduates who enter the field nowadays are focusing on the sustainability and ecological side of fuel, focusing on developing new materials, mineral processes, nanotechnology and bioengineering.

As a career, chemical engineering can provide you with real opportunities to change the world while also commanding a handsome salary.


Whether you're a recent graduate pursuing your first role in the chemical engineering industry or an experienced professional looking to take the next step in your career, Hyper Recruitment Solutions can help!

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