The thing about Chemical Engineering majors is they do a little bit of everything. They take all the math classes required of an engineering student. They add on all the science classes of a chemistry student. And then they are trained how to use the both together, creating scientific solutions to everyday engineering problems. Most Chemical Engineering students can find work after a bachelor’s degree. Advanced degrees can provide for a few notches higher on the job ladder or open doors to teaching.
Like most engineering majors, Chemical Engineers like to tinker and take things apart to find out what makes them work. But for the Chemical Engineering student, it’s more of a geeky-science tinkering than a take-the-car-engine-apart tinkering. No need to apologize for the geekiness of it all – that geekiness makes the world a better place.
Chemical Engineering majors are problem solvers. Perhaps just as importantly, they’re problem finders. They snoop around at how things work, decide there’s got to be a better way, and then figure out that way. At least when it comes to all the building blocks of stuff – chemicals.
If you tend to break things rather than fix them, and if chemicals like to explode merely because of your presence, you’ll either want to invest in some serious protective goggles and warn your lab partner or find another major. Sure, it may be your passion – but safety first.
You’d think a degree in Chemical Engineering would be easy to figure out – combine chemistry and engineering classes and you’re good. That’s only part of the picture, though. In addition to chemistry and engineering (of the mechanical and electrical persuasion) you’ve got to throw in physics and mathematics as well.
Pick a specialty, any specialty. There’s something for a Chemical Engineer to do just about anywhere. A Chemical Engineer can work in a paper mill improving the quality of paper by changing the “recipe” a little bit. Or a Chemical Engineer can find better, more efficient ways to get oil out of the ground. There’s even work for Chemical Engineers in the food industry, improving the production of ketchup.
If you plan to take college science classes seriously, you’d better start by taking your high school science classes seriously. You’ll want a solid basis of physics and chemistry, plus all the math you can cram into both your class schedule and your brain.
Chemical Engineering is going to mean a heavy class load pretty much all of the time. You’ll want to keep up in all of your classes and get top grades. You’ll also want to see what clubs and competitions your college has available. Often there are engineering teams that can attend intercollegiate competitions – all teams are given the same problem to solve, and their solution is pitted against other teams of nerds … er, engineers. A winning team entry can easily turn into recognition in the job market.