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Career and Education Opportunities for Chemical Engineers in Seattle, Washington

Chemical engineers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Seattle, Washington area. There are currently 730 jobs for chemical engineers in Washington and this is projected to grow by 22% to 890 jobs by 2016. This is better than 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 $44 per hour or $92,820 yearly on average in Washington and about $40 hourly or $84,680 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for chemical engineers are better than in the overall category of Engineering in Washington, and better than the overall Engineering category nationally. Jobs in this field include: chemical research engineer, process control engineer, and technical supervisor.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as a chemical engineer. Chemical engineers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so 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 Seattle 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Chemical Engineer Training

University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Seattle, WA

University of Washington-Seattle Campus, 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195-4550. University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 39,675 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Washington-Seattle Campus has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Chemical Engineering which graduated forty-five, sixteen, and seven students respectively in 2008.

Everett Community College - Everett, WA

Everett Community College, 2000 Tower Street, Everett, WA 98201. Everett Community College is a medium sized college located in Everett, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,765 students. Everett Community College has an associate's degree program in Chemical Engineering which graduated one student 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.