Future chemical engineers have a vast array of choices when it comes to the industry and type of position they desire. "The job outlook for chemical engineers is promising because of the wide range of industries that they can contribute to, such as food processing, pharmaceuticals, and environmental and agricultural engineering,"
Opportunities for Success
Though bioengineering, nano materials and alternative energy are at the forefront of chemical engineering, the more traditional areas of the industry still need top graduates. Established chemical industry jobs haven't decreased, it's just that the field itself has diversified to include the newest technologies.
According to the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, between 1990 and 2000 the percentage of students going into traditional chemical processing dropped from 44% to 27%. Sectors that saw an increase, however, included biotech, which rose from three percent to seven percent and electronics, going from two percent to 16%.
"Companies such as Intel hire many chemical engineers, especially in the computer chip making process," says Dr. Gellman. Though these numbers have changed over the last decade, one shouldn't be deceived. "Don't just look at the numbers; companies are not going away. There are many opportunities out there [with the more traditional chemical companies]," says Dr. Zygourakis.
Future chemical engineers have a vast array of choices when it comes to the industry and type of position they desire. "The job outlook for chemical engineers is promising because of the wide range of industries that they can contribute to, such as food processing, pharmaceuticals, and environmental and agricultural engineering," says Dr. Saliba.
Students have gone to work for companies such as Eli Lilly, Bayer and BP America. Engineers who are less interested in the research and development side of the field can consider more traditional positions. "Engineers who hold a Bachelor of Science degree can go into positions that have less research involved, such as plant managers, or they can go into management with a company and work their way up the ladder," says Joe Cramer, director of technical programming at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
This leads to an important question: should future chemical engineers have any concern when it comes to finding a job? "The placement of chemical engineers at the University of Dayton has been good despite the weak economy the past few years," says Saliba. "Sixty-nine percent of our students land a job within three months of graduation." The starting salaries of University of Dayton chemical engineers range from $42,000 to $59,000. And according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average starting salary of a chemical engineer is $52,819. Future of Chemical Engineering
Students graduating with chemical engineering degrees have a unique opportunity to enter the field in any area they choose. Engineering students who decide to go into research will be able to advance technologies that will benefit the environment or help physicians treat their patients more effectively. Those who are interested in business or management will have the opportunity to grow and succeed with the vast number of prosperous chemical companies.
While we're not filling up our cars with hydrogen and proton membrane fuel cells at the local Quickie-Mart today, the hard work chemical engineers like you put in after graduation might work to further this cause. Just think, the cutting-edge technologies that we rely on in the future will be the result of your hard work.