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Career and Education Opportunities for Chemical Engineers in Chicago, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for chemical engineers in the Chicago, Illinois area. About 930 people are currently employed as chemical engineers in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to shrink by 3% to 900 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for chemical engineers are expected to shrink by about 2.0%. In general, chemical engineers design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.

A person working as a chemical engineer can expect to earn about $38 per hour or $79,160 yearly on average in Illinois and about $40 per hour or $84,680 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Chemical engineers earn less than people working in the category of Engineering generally in Illinois and more than people in the Engineering category nationally. Chemical engineers work in a variety of jobs, including: poly area supervisor, refinery process engineer, and fuels engineer.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a chemical engineer. Given that the most common education level for chemical engineers is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a chemical engineer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Chemical Engineer

Chemical Engineer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, chemical engineers design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.

Chemical engineers evaluate chemical equipment and processes to pinpoint ways to optimize performance or to insure adherence to safety and environmental regulations. They also design safety procedures to be employed by staff operating equipment or working in close proximity to on-going chemical reactions. Equally important, chemical engineers have to perform laboratory studies of steps in the manufacture of new products and test proposed processes in small scale operations such as pilot plants. They are often called upon to design processes to separate components of liquids or gases or generate electrical currents using controlled chemical processes. They are expected to design and plan layout of equipment. Finally, chemical engineers perform tests and monitor effectiveness of processes throughout stages of production to establish degree of control over variables such as temperature and pressure.

Every day, chemical engineers are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to read and understand documents and reports. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for chemical engineers to layout measurement and control systems for chemical plants on the basis of data collected in laboratory experiments and in pilot plant operations. Somewhat less frequently, chemical engineers are also expected to design safety procedures to be employed by staff operating equipment or working in close proximity to on-going chemical reactions.

Chemical engineers sometimes are asked to decide on most effective arrangement of operations such as mixing and drying. They also have to be able to ready estimates of production costs and production progress summaries for management And finally, they sometimes have to design safety procedures to be employed by staff operating equipment or working in close proximity to on-going chemical reactions.

Like many other jobs, chemical engineers must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Aerodynamics Engineer. Perform a variety of engineering work in designing, constructing, and testing aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. May conduct basic and applied research to evaluate adaptability of materials and equipment to aircraft design and manufacture. May recommend improvements in testing equipment and techniques.
  • Agricultural Engineer. Apply knowledge of engineering technology and biological science to agricultural problems concerned with power and machinery, electrification, structures, soil and water conservation, and processing of agricultural products.
  • Biomedical Engineer. Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.
  • Civil Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures, and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, water and sewage systems, and waste disposal units. Includes architectural, structural, and geo-technical engineers.
  • Computer Engineer. Research, design, and test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, or scientific use. May supervise the manufacturing and installation of computer or computer-related equipment and components.
  • Electrical Engineer. Design, develop, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use.
  • Electronics Engineer. Research, design, and test electronic components and systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use utilizing knowledge of electronic theory and materials properties. Design electronic circuits and components for use in fields such as telecommunications, aerospace guidance and propulsion control, acoustics, or instruments and controls.
  • Fire Prevention Research Engineer. Research causes of fires, determine fire protection methods, and design or recommend materials or equipment such as structural components or fire-detection equipment to assist organizations in safeguarding life and property against fire, explosion, and related hazards.
  • Health, Safety, and Environment Manager. Plan, implement, and coordinate safety programs, requiring application of engineering principles and technology, to prevent or correct unsafe environmental working conditions.
  • Industrial Engineer. Design, develop, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes including human work factors, quality control, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination.
  • Manufacturing Engineer. Apply knowledge of materials and engineering theory and methods to design, integrate, and improve manufacturing systems or related processes. May work with commercial or industrial designers to refine product designs to increase producibility and decrease costs.
  • Materials Engineer. Evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. Develop new uses for known materials. Includes those working with composite materials or specializing in one type of material, such as graphite, metal and metal alloys, ceramics and glass, plastics and polymers, and naturally occurring materials.
  • Mechanical Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. Oversee installation, operation, and repair of such equipment as centralized heat, gas, and steam systems.
  • Petroleum Engineer. Devise methods to improve oil and gas well production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversee drilling and offer technical advice to achieve economical and satisfactory progress.
  • Product Safety Engineer. Develop and conduct tests to evaluate product safety levels and recommend measures to reduce or eliminate hazards.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Chemical Engineer Training

University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607. University of Illinois at Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,709 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of Illinois at Chicago has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Chemical Engineering which graduated nineteen, six, and ten students respectively in 2008.

Illinois Institute of Technology - Chicago, IL

Illinois Institute of Technology, 3300 S Federal St, Chicago, IL 60616. Illinois Institute of Technology is a medium sized school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,404 students and an admission rate of 57%. Illinois Institute of Technology has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Chemical Engineering which graduated nineteen, twenty, and four students respectively in 2008.

Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

Northwestern University, 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208. Northwestern University is a large university located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,128 students and an admission rate of 27%. Northwestern University has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Chemical Engineering.

CERTIFICATIONS

Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing Professional - Technologist: ASME GDTP Certification provides the means to recognize proficiency in the understanding and application of the geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) principles expressed in the ASME Y14.

For more information, see the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International website.

Certified Water Technologist: The Certified Water Technologist (CWT) program represents the highest professional credential in the industrial and commercial water treatment field.

For more information, see the Association of Water Technologies website.

LICENSES

ENGINEER, PROFESSIONAL

Licensing agency: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Address: 320 West Washington, Springfield, IL 62786

Phone: (217) 782-8556
Website: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.