What is a Chemical Engineer?
Chemical engineers use design skills supported by their knowledge of the sciences to develop techniques to manipulate molecules that make up chemicals. They design ways to make new chemicals, improve the use of chemicals, manage energy systems, and destroy harmful chemicals before they enter the environment. This mastering of chemicals allows them to perform an amazing array of jobs that result bettering our global society.
What does a Chemical Engineer Do?
Just a few example jobs performed by chemical engineers are bioprocessing (ex. making glues from algae), environmental cleanup (ex. using ozone to remove a pollutant from water), materials design (ex. developing a self-healing plastic), biomedical delivery systems (ex. designing injectionless drug delivery through the skin), sustainable energy systems (ex. making biocoal from wood wastes), synthetic human body components (ex. producing artificial skin), energy storage (ex. rethinking battery designs), pharmaceuticals (ex. designing a production system for a cancer fighting drug), chemical production from raw materials (ex. refining crude oil into products), designing clean energy systems (ex. constructing a better fuel cell), computer modeling of chemical reactions (ex. developing a cheaper and/or greener way to produce chemicals), and design of complex chemical plants (ex. designing a production facility that makes biodiesel from soybean oil).
While many chemical engineers work in chemical plants, there are many other job sectors for chemical engineers. Examples include consulting firms, government agencies, water treatment facilities, research firms, regulatory agencies, technical sales, and device design companies. Additionally, many chemical engineers after graduation often go on to medical school, law school, or graduate school. In fact, chemical/biomedical engineers consistently score higher on the MCAT exam than other majors (including biology and premed majors which tend to score the lowest among all majors as per the MCAT database). The problem solving and reasoning skills learned by chemical engineers give them unique mental tools to be excellent doctors or lawyers.
Make a Difference as a Chemical Engineer
With our entire universe literally made up of chemicals, the chemical engineer is capable of making tremendously positive impacts on our earth and how our global society interacts with the planet. But our planet is not a limitation, chemical engineers are now also developing solutions to allow humans to explore and live in space, and one day soon, live on planetary bodies like Mars. In short, chemical engineering allows you to make a difference. UL Lafayette Chemical Engineering graduates are doing that every day! So, we invite you to join our department and one day take your place as a “Master of Chemicals” thus allowing you to also make a difference.
The UL Lafayette department of chemical engineering is made of world-class faculty members with a love of teaching and a passion for researching new solutions to complex problems. They invite our students to get involved in our cutting-edge research through jobs and special learning opportunities. Also, our students enjoy opportunities to work while in school for industries via paid internships and cooperative education jobs hosted by companies from around the globe, such as Hershey, Citgo, Chevron, Phillips, Monsanto, BASF, Dow, Sasol, US Army Corps of Engineers, Halliburton, and the list doesn’t stop there!
The Chemical Engineering Jobs Market Today and Tomorrow
The jobs market for chemical engineers is very bright. For example, the Gulf of Mexico region of the U.S. is experiencing a building boom in chemical engineering-related companies totaling well over $100B in new construction. Chemical engineering jobs are expected to be in high demand not only in our region but worldwide. Chemical engineers often enjoy some of the highest starting salaries on college campuses. So, whether you dream to produce a green chemical in New Orleans or produce a fuel cell in Seattle or treat polluted water in Berlin or design a new chemical plant in Lafayette – we are here to help you design your future!