Chemical Engineering Overview
The Field - Preparation - Day in the Life - Industries - Earnings Employment - Professional Development - Career Path Forecast Professional Organizations
It would take too long to list all the products that are impacted by chemical engineers, but knowing what industries employ
them may help you comprehend the scope of their work.
Chemical engineers work in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals,
healthcare, design and construction, pulp and paper,
petrochemicals, food processing, specialty chemicals,
polymers, biotechnology, and environmental health and safety industries, among others. Within these industries, chemical
engineers rely on their knowledge of mathematics and
science, particularly chemistry, to overcome technical
problems safely and economically. And, of course, they draw
upon and apply their engineering knowledge to solve any
technical challenges they encounter. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that chemical engineers only make things, though. Their expertise is also applied in the area of law, education, publishing, finance, and medicine, as well as many other fields that require technical training.
Specifically, chemical engineers improve food processing techniques, and methods of producing fertilizers, to increase the quantity and quality of available food. They also construct the synthetic fibers that make our clothes more comfortable and water resistant; they develop methods to mass-produce drugs, making them more affordable; and they create safer, more efficient methods of refining petroleum products, making energy and chemical sources more productive and cost effective. They also develop solutions to environmental problems, such as pollution control and remediation. And yes, they process chemicals, which are used to make or improve just about everything you see around you.
Chemical engineers face many of the same challenges that other professionals face, and they meet these challenges b applying their technical knowledge, communication and teamwork skills, the most up-to-date practices available, and hard work. Benefits include financial reward, recognition within industry and society, and the gratification that comes from working with the processes of nature to meet the needs of society.
"Chemical Engineering Overview"
Prepared as part of the Sloan Career Cornerstone Center (www.careercornerstone.org)
A bachelor's degree in engineering is required for almost all entry-level chemical engineering jobs. Preparation for a career in chemical engineering begins as an undergraduate, but is not limited to course work. Employers value a range of capabilities which you can develop as you acquire technical competence in the classroom. You may also want to explore the possibility of a transfer program or a graduate degree.
The core curriculum of a chemical engineering program serves a dual purpose: it provides technical information and instills a thought process unique to the engineering discipline. This sample curriculum is based on the required courses for chemical engineering students in an accredited university program, and is from the Academic Advising Guide to Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech. This can be a guide for what to expect in your curriculum, but you should always select classes in consultation with a faculty advisor. •
First Year: General Chemistry (with lab); Calculus I and II; Introduction to Engineering; English; Algebra; Statistics; Vector Geometry; Electives
Second Year: Organic Chemistry; Multivariable Calculus; Mass and Energy Balances; Physics; Statistics; Ordinary Partial
Differential Equations; Physical Chemistry; Separation
Processes; Mechanics of Deformable Bodies; Elective
Third Year: Transport Operations; Thermodynamics; Process,
Measurements and Controls; Physical Chemistry (with lab);
Chemical Process Modeling; Chemical Reactor Analysis and
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