As a chemical engineer you will be involved in converting basic raw materials into a variety of products. This involves you applying the principles of chemical engineering into, either:
- design, manufacture, and operation of plants and machinery in industrial chemical and related processes ie chemical process engineers
- development of new or adapted substances for products ranging from foods and beverages to cosmetics to cleaners to pharmaceutical ingredients, among many other products ie chemical product engineers
- development of new technologies such as fuel cells, hydrogen power and nanotechnology, as well as working in fields derived from chemical engineering such as materials science, polymer engineering and biomedical engineering.
The starting salary for UK graduates is £28,000 and the usual starting point is as a junior/graduate process engineer. With some experience, you can progress to roles in areas such as project management, risk assessment or consultancy and many become specialists in a particular area, such as safety or environmental regulation. As there is a shortage of skilled people and the potential for career growth, the sector is highly attractive for young people. The median chemical engineering salary in 2013 was £53,000.