Chemical Engineers

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About the Job

Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, plastics, detergents, cement, paper, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.

It is also Called

  • Weapons Engineer
  • Weapons Designer
  • Supplier Quality Engineer (SQE)
  • Scientist
  • Sand Technologist
  • Sand Analyst
  • Research Chemical Engineer
  • Refinery Process Engineer
  • Project Engineer
  • Processes Chemical Design Engineer
View All

What They Do

  • Design and plan layout of equipment.
  • Perform tests and monitor performance of processes throughout stages of production to determine degree of control over variables such as temperature, density, specific gravity, and pressure.
  • Direct activities of workers who operate or are engaged in constructing and improving absorption, evaporation, or electromagnetic equipment.
  • Determine most effective arrangement of operations such as mixing, crushing, heat transfer, distillation, and drying.
  • Design measurement and control systems for chemical plants based on data collected in laboratory experiments and in pilot plant operations.
  • Prepare estimate of production costs and production progress reports for management.
  • Perform laboratory studies of steps in manufacture of new products and test proposed processes in small-scale operation, such as a pilot plant.
  • Conduct research to develop new and improved chemical manufacturing processes.
  • Evaluate chemical equipment and processes to identify ways to optimize performance or to ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations.
  • Troubleshoot problems with chemical manufacturing processes.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: IR.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Realistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Recognition, but also value Achievement and Working Conditions in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Wages

In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $100,150 with most people making between $59,310 and $150,750

Outlook

0.68%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 1,620 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 1,730 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 11 openings due to growth and about 49 replacement openings for approximately 60 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education