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What do chemical engineers do?

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Quick Answer

Chemical engineers develop and produce a wide range of products, such as chemicals, medicines, food and fuel. They use an extensive knowledge of chemistry, biology, mathematics and physics to solve problems related to production of these items and to improve production processes.

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Full Answer

Specific duties of a chemical engineer include conducting research to improve existing manufacturing processes, developing safety procedures for working with dangerous chemicals, developing processes to manipulate chemicals or electrical currents, designing and planning the layout of lab and production equipment, supervising and testing various aspects of the production process, troubleshooting problems that occur in the production process, performing safety and regulation compliance inspections, and estimating production budgets.

Entry-level engineers generally work under the supervision of more experienced engineers. In time, engineers can move on to supervise teams of other engineers and technicians. Chemical engineers may specialize in a particular sub-field, for example working with nanomaterials or biological engineering.

Working as a chemical engineer requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. Chemical engineers may also become licensed to become a professional engineer. This licensure requires a combination of a diploma from an engineering program accredited by ABET, passing grades on the Fundamentals of Engineering and Professional Engineering exams, and some amount of relevant work experience.

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