What you can do with a chemical engineering degree

chemical engineering

A degree in chemical engineering opens up a world of opportunities, leading to diverse career paths that extend far beyond traditional boundaries. This article examines the array of vocations available to chemical engineering graduates, highlighting both direct and complementary career opportunities.

Jobs directly related to a chemical engineering degree

Here is a list of popular chemical engineering career paths that stem directly from the degree itself.

  • Biotechnologist: Focusing on biological organisms to develop new products and processes, biotechnologists play a crucial role in industries ranging from pharmaceuticals to agriculture.
  • Chemical engineer: At the core of their field, chemical engineers design and optimise processes for the production of chemicals, food, pharmaceuticals, and more.
  • Colour technologist: Specialising in the science of colour, these professionals develop dyes and pigments for a variety of applications, including textiles and paints.
  • Energy engineer: Working towards efficient energy use and developing renewable energy sources, energy engineers are vital in the fight against climate change.
  • Nuclear engineer: These engineers are involved in the design, operation, and safety of nuclear reactors, playing a pivotal role in energy generation and medical technology.
  • Petroleum engineer: Focusing on the extraction of oil and gas, petroleum engineers ensure efficient and safe recovery of these vital energy resources.
  • Product/process development scientist: Innovating new products and improving existing processes, these scientists drive advancements in a multitude of sectors, including food and drink, beauty, and healthcare.

Jobs where a chemical engineering degree would be useful

However, with a degree of any kind, this doesn’t mean you are locked into a directly related field of work. Here’s a list of chemical engineering career paths which would utilise core aspects of the degree but indirectly relate.

  • Analytical chemist: Utilising their knowledge of chemistry to analyse substances, identify what they’re made of, and how they react under different conditions.
  • Energy manager: Overseeing the energy efficiency in organisations, helping to develop sustainable practices and reduce environmental impact.
  • Environmental engineer: Applying engineering principles to improve the natural environment, tackling issues like pollution reduction and waste management.
  • Manufacturing engineer: Optimising production processes and ensuring efficient operation of manufacturing systems.
  • Materials engineer: Developing new materials with advanced properties for use in a range of industries, from aerospace to electronics.
  • Mining engineer: Ensuring the safe and efficient development of mines and other surface and underground operations.
  • Production manager: Overseeing the production process, coordinating all production activities and operations.
  • Quality manager: Ensuring that products meet certain thresholds of acceptability and maintaining quality standards.
  • Waste management officer: Focusing on waste reduction and advising on the disposal and recycling of waste.
  • Water engineer: Working on projects related to the provision and use of water resources, sewage treatment, and flood defence.


A chemical engineering degree equips graduates with a versatile skill set that is highly valued in a wide range of industries. Whether pursuing roles directly tied to chemical engineering or veering into related fields, the opportunities are vast and varied. With the ever-growing importance of sustainable practices in all sectors, chemical engineers are more in demand than ever, poised to make significant contributions to our world. Perhaps here you have found a career that you take a liking to, now find out how to secure that role.