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Career and Education Opportunities for Chemical Engineers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for chemical engineers. About 1,100 people are currently employed as chemical engineers in Pennsylvania. By 2016, this is expected to grow 9% to about 1,200 people employed. This is better than the national trend for chemical engineers, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 2.0% over the next eight years. Chemical engineers generally 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 $37 per hour or $78,750 annually on average in Pennsylvania and about $40 hourly or $84,680 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for chemical engineers are better than earnings in the general category of Engineering in Pennsylvania and better than general Engineering category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: nanotechnologist, blending coordinator, and chemical process control, design, or development engineer.

The Pittsburgh area is home to eighty-three schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Pittsburgh 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, it will take about four years to learn 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 Pittsburgh include:

  • 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.
  • Nuclear Engineer. Conduct research on nuclear engineering problems or apply principles and theory of nuclear science to problems concerned with release, control, and utilization of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.
  • 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

Carnegie Mellon University - Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890. Carnegie Mellon University is a large university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,646 students and an admission rate of 29%. Carnegie Mellon University has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Chemical Engineering which graduated fifty-eight, thirteen, and eighteen students respectively in 2008.

Geneva College - Beaver Falls, PA

Geneva College, 3200 College Ave, Beaver Falls, PA 15010-3599. Geneva College is a small college located in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,931 students and an admission rate of 81%. Geneva College has a bachelor's degree program in Chemical Engineering which graduated one student in 2008.

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus - Pittsburgh, PA

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus, 4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus is a large university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 27,562 students and an admission rate of 56%. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Chemical Engineering which graduated fifty-one, two, and ten students respectively in 2008.

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

Professional Engineer

Licensing agency: Department of State
Address: Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Professional Engineer, Land Surveyors & Geo Board, 124 Pine Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone: (717) 783-7049
Website: Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs Professional Engineer, Land Surveyors & Geo Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania photo by Conk 9

Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 310,037, which has shrunk by 7.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pittsburgh, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Pittsburgh cost $196,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-five new homes were built in Pittsburgh, up from one hundred seventeen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Pittsburgh are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 26.2% of Pittsburgh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Pittsburgh is 7.8%, which is less than Pennsylvania's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Pittsburgh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 71.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Saint Pauls Cathedral, Saint Patrick Roman Cathlic Church and Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are some of the churches located in Pittsburgh. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.

Pittsburgh is home to the Mount Washington Overlook and the Golden Triangle as well as Magee Playground and Kennard Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Shadyside Shopping Center and Allegheny Center Mall. Visitors to Pittsburgh can choose from Best Western University Center, Avalon Motel and Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport for temporary stays in the area.