Chemical engineers (NOC 2134)

About this job

Chemical engineers:

  • research, design, and develop chemical processes and equipment
  • oversee the operation and maintenance of industrial chemical, plastics, pharmaceutical, resource, pulp, and food processing plants
  • perform duties related to chemical quality control, environmental protection and biochemical or biotechnical engineering
  • work for a wide range of manufacturing and processing industries, consulting firms, government, research and educational institutions
Common job titles
  • engineer, biochemical
  • engineer, biotechnical
  • engineer, chemical - environmental
  • engineer, explosives
  • engineer, fuels
  • engineer, industrial waste treatment
  • engineer, biochemical
  • engineer, biotechnical
  • engineer, chemical - environmental
  • engineer, chemical - process control
  • engineer, electrochemical
  • engineer, environmental chemical

Earnings

Annual provincial median salary

$81,568

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage data

Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2016 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • High
  • Median
  • Low

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage Report

Duties

Chemical engineers:

  • carry out economic and technical feasibility studies in areas related to chemical, petroleum, pulp and paper, food or other processing industries
  • carry out research into the development or improvement of chemical engineering processes, reactions and materials
  • evaluate chemical process technology and equipment, and determine production specifications
  • design and test chemical processing, and associated plants and equipment
  • oversee the construction, modification, operation and maintenance of pilot plants, processing units or processing plants
  • create and carry out quality control programs, operating procedures and control strategies to ensure consistency and adherence to standards for raw materials, products and waste products or emissions
  • prepare contract documents and evaluate tenders for the process aspects of industrial construction
  • supervise technicians, technologists and other engineers
  • work in an administrative capacity, for example, in the development of rules and specifications for the handling of dangerous chemicals, environmental protection, or standards for foods, materials and consumer goods

Special duties

Chemical engineers may specialize in the products and processes of industries such as pulp and paper manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, energy processing, plastics, metal extraction and refining, or adhesives and coatings production.  

They may also specialize in areas that are in various industries such as process control, pollution control or fermentation processes.

Work environment

Work in this occupation is typically performed in an indoor environment, where one may be exposed to chemicals or substances that may endanger health, while being in the presence of noxious, intense or prolonged odours.

Job requirements

Education, training & qualifications

  • A bachelor's degree in chemical engineering or in a related engineering discipline is required.
  • A master's degree or doctorate in a related engineering discipline may be required.
  • Licensing by a provincial or territorial association of professional engineers is required to approve engineering drawings and reports and to practise as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.).
  • Engineers are eligible for registration following graduation from an accredited educational program, and after three or four years of supervised work experience in engineering and passing a professional practice examination.

Skills

  • Spatial Perception
  • Innovative
  • Numerical Ability
  • Detail-Oriented
View skills definitions

Education programs in B.C.

The following program areas are related to this occupation:
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Electrical, Electronic & Communications Engineering
  • Engineering Science

For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.

Select a region to view regional outlook
Vancouver Island / Coast Mainland / Southwest Thompson-Okanagan Kootenay Cariboo Northeast North Coast & Nechako
Cariboo
Employment in 2016:
30
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Kootenay
Employment in 2016:
0
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Mainland / Southwest
Employment in 2016:
710
Average annual employment growth:
1.3%
Expected number of job openings:
280
North Coast & Nechako
Employment in 2016:
0
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Northeast
Employment in 2016:
0
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Thompson-Okanagan
Employment in 2016:
0
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Vancouver Island / Coast
Employment in 2016:
110
Average annual employment growth:
-1.4%
Expected number of job openings:
30

N/A - Data not available

Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

Career paths and resources

Career paths

There is considerable mobility between chemical engineering specializations at the less senior levels.

Chemical engineers work closely with chemists and other scientists and engineers and mobility is possible between some fields of specialization.

These workers also often work in a multidisciplinary environment and acquire knowledge and skills through work experience that may allow them to practise in associated areas of science, engineering, sales, marketing or management.

Additional resources