How to become a chemical engineer

Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products.

Pathways to this career

  1. Complete a degree in engineering, majoring in chemical engineering.
  2. Already studied an undergraduate degree, or looking to further your studies in chemical engineering? Advance your knowledge with a master’s degree in chemical engineering.
  3. While studying, seek out internships and placement opportunities. Working with established firms will help you gain valuable practical experience.
  4. Join recognised industry bodies such as Engineers Australia and the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) to get on-the-ground access to industry news and opportunities.

What does a chemical engineer do?

Chemical and materials engineers research, design and develop specifications of materials to create products or investigate chemical interactions. They modify materials such as ceramics, chemicals, composites, metals, plastics and rubber to improve the their performance, use and increase cost-effectiveness.

These material specialists work in chemical plants as part of the industrial processing of objects going through chemical change and in testing various materials to find new uses for them. They have a good understand of the properties and behaviours of substances from raw materials to finished products.

Duties and tasks

  • Able to implement critical thinking in developing hypotheses, conducting experiments and altering experiments multiple times to achieve desired results.
  • Design experiments to test the chemical process of mixing different components and their outcomes.
  • Ensure that products comply with legal and quality standards and recommend procedures for inspections, maintenance and safety.
  • Fabricate new designs to make products more efficient, safe and cost-effective according to the needs of the company.
  • Monitor operations and industrial conditions as well as material reactions while in use.
  • Operate at high level of alertness and safety at all times and identify when a chemical or material process or malfunction requires additional safety precautions.
  • Strong knowledge of materials and chemical components and be able to identify the best materials and combinations for particular product uses.

Industry bodies

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