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.”
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.
Chemical Engineering Job Search
While some large organizations may recruit in the Fall semester, many others will seek full-time hires on an “as needed” basis. The key is to start your search early so that you do not miss opportunities. Use resources like the professional associations listed below to apply to positions and seek out networking opportunities, attend CCE’s Engineering Career Fair and Engineering Industry Showcase, and pay attention to your departments’ emails and your LionSHARE saved searches. For some positions, an MS, an MBA, or a PhD may be required. A PhD may be essential for advancement in research, teaching, and administration. Typically, new recruits begin as trainees or process engineers. They often begin work under the supervision of seasoned engineers. Many participate in special training programs designed to orient them to company processes, procedures, policies, and products. This allows the company to determine where the new personnel may best fulfill their needs. After this training period, new employees often rotate positions to get an all-around experience in working for the company.
- Science Technology Engineering Internship Program (STEP) and other CCE sponsored international and national internship programs
- Career Fairs and Networking Events: Attend our career fairs and special events throughout the year including the Engineering Career Fair and Startup Career Fair.
- Engineering Industry Showcase: Held in the Spring semester, offers a panel session and networking opportunities with representatives from a variety of engineering disciplines.
- List of Leadership Development and Rotational Programs
- Firsthand guides: We subscribe to Firsthand, which offer profiles of industries, companies, and careers. For example, check out the Firsthand industry guide for Chemicals.
- Student Organizations including American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Society of Women Engineers.
- Chemical Engineering Department Website
- Columbia Genome Center
- Student Research Involvement Program
- Fellowships for CC/SEAS, GS, and GSAS
- Mentornet, an online mentoring community in which Columbia University participates
- Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)
- American Chemical Society
- National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE)
- National Society of Professional Engineers
- Society of Women Engineers
- 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
- 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
- Chemical Engineering Journal
- Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data
- The Open Chemical Engineering Journal
- Air Liquide
- Dow Chemical
- Exxon Mobil
- The Clorox Company
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 website. See what Columbia students have gone on to do with their degree with CCE’s What Can You Do With A Degree in Chemical Engineering tipsheet.