Chemical Engineer

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Chemical engineers design, plan, construct and operate large-scale manufacturing processes. This could be for a wide range of goods from fuel oils to food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. They also help manage world resources and protect the environment. Chemical engineers work in either research and development or manufacturing.

They are sometimes known as process engineers.

The Work

You could be:


The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:

The average starting salary for chemical engineers is around £28,600 a year (IChemE Salary Survey, 2018), but it could be anything from £25,000 a year. With experience this can rise to between £35,000 and £55,000. Chartered engineers can earn up to £70,000 a year or more.


Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

Chemical engineers work in the chemicals, food and drink, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, plastics, paper, textiles, oil, gas, coal, artificial fibres and water industries. There are also jobs in engineering contracting companies to design and build production plants. Work is available in the UK and abroad and there is a steady demand for qualified staff throughout the world.

What Does it Take?

You need to have:

You need to be able to:


Getting On

More Information

The Engineering Council sets and maintains the standards of the engineering profession in the UK. It does so through 50 professional engineering institutions which are Licensed Members of the Engineering Council.

Employment prospects in this area are very good. Jobs are widely available and process plants are located in industrial areas throughout the UK (particularly Scotland, the Midlands, North West and North East England) and overseas.

The Tomorrow’s Engineers website has more information on careers in engineering.



The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Tel: 01925 515200
Twitter: @cogent_skills

Cogent is the Sector Skills Council for the science industries.

Engineering Council
Tel: 020 3206 0500
Twitter: @EngCouncil

Twitter: @_EngineeringUK

Enginuity (formerly SEMTA)
Tel: 0845 643 9001
Twitter: @Enginuity_Org

Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)
Tel: 01788 578214
Website (2):
Twitter: @IChemE

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