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What is chemical engineering?

chemical engineering

Check out our guide to choosing a career in this fascinating field of science.


Chemical Engineering is a profession that many people aren’t aware of and so don’t immediately think about as a serious career option. However, it can be extremely rewarding work, especially if you enjoy maths and science.

Chemical Engineers use their knowledge of chemistry by applying it to the creation and design of products and manufacturing processes using raw materials. These can include everyday things like clothes and food, to medicine and energy resources. Chemical Engineers can also work in other fields, such as environmental protection.

But how do you get into it? One popular route is through traditional education. Firstly, study the school subjects which a career in Chemical Engineering is reliant on. The two essential ones are maths and chemistry. They are seriously important. This is because the knowledge of how chemicals work is the foundation of the job, as well as knowing how to handle complex calculations and intricate computer programs.

Gaining GCSEs in these subjects is the best way to start and specialising in them at A-level is the key to getting into a university to study Chemical Engineering at degree level. Many universities offer Chemical Engineering degree courses (BEng) around the UK, including Bath, Strathclyde and Leeds. Wherever you choose to go, make sure that the degree is accredited by IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers). After you have graduated it is then possible to get a job in the industry or to study further and gain an MEng.

But that’s not the only way to get into Chemical Engineering. You can take up an apprenticeship where you will work within a company and gain qualifications while you’re doing it. By taking this route, you might enter the industry at a lower level than some graduates but it’s a great way to get practical experience and gain valuable work experience with a Chemical engineering company. Keep in mind though, that apprenticeships are often geared towards general engineering.

The average starting salary for Chemical Engineering graduates is approximately £28,000. Well-known chemical engineering companies include Dupont, Goodyear and 3M.

So, if you enjoy solving problems with maths and science and are interested in the process of being creative with chemistry, then Chemical Engineering could be the perfect career choice for you! If you want to make it happen you only need to remember one thing: go for it!

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About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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