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What is Chemical Engineering Really?

By Marla

In theory what is it?

In theory, Chem Es (as we are affectionately known) deal with manipulating the chemistries that chemists come up with to a much larger scale. Example - a chemsit figures out how to make plastic in a beaker at his work bench, a chemical engineer figures out how to make 100billion tons of it cheaply a year!

What is it used for?

Traditionally oil refinaries used us to figure out the best ways to seperate crude oils but now we do a lot of process engineering in many other industries like semiconductors, engineering consulting, anything that makes stuff on a large scale. We figure out how to make things on a large economy of scale.

What does the major actually entail - work-wise?

Well depends on the industry. In oil, probably going out on some big oil rigs in the ocean for 7 days at a time to make sure things are running smoothly. But in general any process engineering job you end up in a lab doing reasearch and development on different processes.

What kind of jobs do you get with it?

Process Engineer is most common. But from my class (~80) a lot went into research and development, financial consulting, eBanking, and of course back to school!

What are the fellow students like (personalitywise) in it?

Most are very bright and very fun but it depends on where you go to school more than the major.

Common Misconceptions

That there is nothing out there for Chem Es. With a bad economy, it is tough but normally you can get a job with an oil company (bare minimum) really quickly out of college.
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Chemical Engineering Major unemployment rate

_Chemical EngineeringAll Majors
Unemployed%2%7
Minimum Wage%1%4
All Others%97%88
More: Unemployment for all Majors *** not counting stay at home parents *** not counting those currently in grad school

Are things going well in Chemical Engineering?

Going Well %80
Not Going Well %20
More: All Majors Satisfaction ??? This is a social "life satisfaction" question. Overall, would people who graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering say that their life is going well? It could be interpreted in terms of stress, salary, long hours, future prospects, etc. *** not counting those currently in grad school

Graduates who stayed in Chemical Engineering

Still in Field %67
Got out %33
More: All Majors Still in field ??? A high "got out" percentage can be interpreted a couple of ways -- for instance, perhaps the major is a great stepping stone to becoming a totally different career -- like a doctor. Or perhaps the jobs one gets with the major just aren't that great. *** not counting those currently in grad school
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