What Careers are Available for a Chemical Engineer Graduate?

Carol Francois

A chemical engineer graduate is someone who has successfully completed four to five years of intense training at a post-secondary level. The next stage is to determine the career path and options that best utilize these hard-earned skills. In the first five to eight years after graduation, the options can be grouped into four primary categories: analysis, sales, chemical processing, and training. As a skilled professional, a chemical engineer graduate has a wealth of opportunities for promotion, travel, and interesting work.

Graduates who enjoy working in labs may choose to pursue a career in chemical analysis.
Graduates who enjoy working in labs may choose to pursue a career in chemical analysis.

A modern career is approximately 40 years long, and it is important to note that most people change paths between five to eight times during their career. The options available at the different stages vary, depending on prior experience, additional training, and level of effort. It is a common misconception among recent chemical engineer graduate students that they will automatically receive higher compensation and promotional opportunities, due to their rigorous training program. In order to achieve any degree of success and career advancement, a significant amount of hard work and dedication is required.

A career in analysis is available in a range of settings, from industrial chemical plants to university research laboratories. Analysis is an ideal career for a chemical engineering graduate who enjoys precision and working in a laboratory. The use of computers in this field is expanding and forecast to continue for the next five to eight years. There are a range of promotional opportunities in this field. Although the title may not change, the compensation and complexity of the work often increases.

A chemical engineer graduate with excellent interpersonal skills, who enjoys meeting and working with a wide range of people, can find success in a career in sales. There are opportunities in chemical, equipment, software, and related product sales. Sales staffs with a degree in chemical engineering have a better understanding of the substitute and complementary products for each sale, along with the equipment required for the different types of chemical processes used.

Many chemical engineers work in chemical production factories, holding quality assurance, supervisory, or senior processing operator roles. The chemical industry produces a huge range of products and is responsible for developing a host of new products to meet user demand. These positions are available in production facilities around the world, and may require working night shifts or weekends. New products require years of testing, review, and analysis before they are launched.

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