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, chemical - process control
  • engineer, electrochemical
  • engineer, environmental chemical


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.

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