Chemical engineers work at converting materials into products such as clothing, food, and energy. They develop the processes for this conversion, manage resources, and meet health and safety standards. They are involved both in designing and operating machinery or developing new materials and substances. Chemical engineers have a variety of career options; many work in the water, energy, pharmaceutical and food industries. However, since they are taught project management and process flow in college, chemical engineering graduates can also be recruited to work in the financial industry.
Chemical engineers working in the food and beverage industry are involved with developing new products, modifying flavors and ingredients, ensuring product consistency and developing new packaging. Companies that hire chemical engineers include major international food suppliers such as Kraft, PepsiCo, Hershey Food Corporation, Nestle, General Mills, Frito Lay and Domino Sugar.
Chemical Process Companies
The chemical process industry develops, extracts, combines and otherwise uses chemicals and chemical byproducts. Chemical engineers in this industry develop and implement processes to transport, separate, transform, recycle, store, and separate these chemicals. They can work for companies specializing in agricultural chemicals; petroleum products; paints/varnishes/inks/pigments; pulp and paper; beauty and household products such as soaps and cosmetics; and much more. Companies that hire chemical engineers may include those that produce home and beauty products such as Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson. Pharmaceutical companies such as Astra Pharmacueticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb frequently hire chemical engineers. International Paper and Mead Corporation are examples of pulp and paper employers of chemical engineers. Shell Chemical Company, Exxon, Mobil, and Chevron are among the petroleum companies that employ chemical engineers.
Biotechnology involves taking living cells and creating products that can be used in other industries. Products include insulin, artificial organs, and antibiotics. Chemical engineers design and develop systems to handle, grow, and harvest organisms. Genetech and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals are examples of pharmaceutical companies that work in biotechnology. Companies that develop treatments for cancer frequently have biotechnology divisions that require chemical engineers.
Design and Construction Industry
The construction and design industry works in tandem with other industries to construct facilities, decide on machinery, and lay out processes that allow clients to operate efficient and safe industrial plants. Chemical engineers design these processes and manage projects while working with other types of engineers. Examples of design and construction companies that employ chemical engineers include The Foxboro Company, Arthur D. Little, Fluor Daniel and Schlumberger.