What do Chemical Engineers do?
According to the US Department of Labor, Chemical Engineers "apply the principles of chemistry to solve problems involving the production or use of chemicals and other products. They design equipment and processes for large-scale chemical manufacturing, plan and test methods of manufacturing products and treating byproducts, and supervise production." For more details on the work of Chemical Engineers, visit the chemical engineering pages of Occupational Outlook Handbook, Sloan Cornerstone Career Center and the Chemical Engineering department web site.
Where do they work?
There are many career paths where students can use their technical knowledge and analytical and problem solving skills, from the development of smaller, faster computer chips to innovations in recycling, treating disease, cleaning water, and generating energy, according to the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. The US Department of Labor states that chemical engineers work in a variety of manufacturing industries other than chemical manufacturing, such as those producing energy, electronics, food, clothing, and paper. In addition, they work in healthcare, biotechnology, and business services. Chemical Engineers also work in research and academia.
What are some employers in the field?
Top employers in the field include: Air Liquide ● BASF ● ConEd ● Dow Chemical ● DuPont ● Exxon Mobil ● Infineum ● Praxair ●The Clorox Company ● Unilever. You can also check out attendees to CCE's career fairs in the employer profile books and LionSHARE's employer directory tab.
What resources can I look into for more information and to gain experience?
Center for Career Education Resources: For a full list of resources and services, visit our home page.
- LionSHARE: CCE’s database of internships and full time jobs for students and alumni
- Science Technology Engineering Internship Program (STEP) and other CCE sponsored international and national internship programs
- CCE Career Fairs, employer information sessions, site visits, panels, workshops, and alumni events (see CCE's calendar of events regularly for updates)
- Webshops and webinars covering a wide array of topics
- Vault & WetFeet guides: profiles industries, companies, and careers including: Industries and Careers for Engineers, Careers in Pharmaceuticals, Vault Guide to the Top 50 Consumer Products Employers, Vault Guide to the Top Manufacturing Employers
- List of Leadership Development and Rotational Programs
- LinkedIn.com Columbia Groups: Columbia Career Connections and Columbia Alumni Association Network to find alumni working in the field
Student Clubs & Professional Associations: Student clubs often have direct links with employers and are excellent ways to learn about careers in the field. Many are even linked to regional or national professional associations that have web resources and host conferences and career fairs.
- American Institute of Chemical Engineers Columbia Chapter, connected to the national chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
- Other Professional Associations: Use the low student membership rates in professional associations to gain career guidance and information about scholarships, networking opportunities, job postings, conferences and workshops, and access to job fairs.
Research, Other Opportunities, and Resources:
- Chemical Engineering Department Web site
- Undergraduate Research Involvement Program
- Columbia Genome Center
- SEAS Global Initiatives – Intern/Study Abroad Web Site
- Fellowships for CC/SEAS, GS, and GSAS
- Mentornet, an online mentoring community in which Columbia University participates
Internship/Job Posting Websites
- Pathways to Science: To find programs such as undergraduate summer research opportunities, graduate fellowships, postdoctoral positions, as well as resources and materials pertaining to recruitment, retention, and mentoring
- National Science Foundation REU Sites: The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation
- American Academy for Advancement of Science: A resource list of AAAS career development programs
- Engineering Jobs – Chemical: This component of the EngineeringJobs.net site is catered specifically to jobs in the chemical engineering industry
- ChemJobs: A job-search site that features chemical jobs worldwide
- Chemical Engineer: A job search website specifically relating to the chemical engineering field
- Chemploy: A job search site that has a dual focus on chemical and biomedical engineering positions at top companies
- Penn Energy Jobs: Connects the leading industry employers with the best talent that the energy industry has to offer through job boards, career fairs and the Energy Workforce magazine
- ACECNY: A proactive coalition of more than 270 firms representing every discipline of engineering related to the built environment - civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, geotechnical - and affiliated companies. A listing of consulting engineering firms from across New York State. Use membership directory to identify local companies and check their job boards for postings
- Research Gate: A network dedicated to science and research. Connect, collaborate and discover scientific publications, jobs and conferences
- Engineering Central: Lists engineering positions and resumes across all engineering disciplines
- Engineer.net: A broad-scale engineering job-search engine that many companies use to find new talent
- All Engineering Links compiled by CCE
Professional Journals: Keep up to date on trends in the field, identify potential employers, and find out about new opportunities. Your access to the Columbia library system gives you extensive exposure to important information in the field today.Through the CU library login, get full text access to quality technical literature in engineering.