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Career advice for a Chemical Engineer graduating in 2016?

  1. Jul 21, 2015 #1
    Hi all, my name is Brandon and I'm new to these forums

    I'm going into my 5th year at university and am majoring in Chemical Engineering. From my understanding, those who choose to go into industry after graduating are usually in process, petroleum, etc.

    However, I am rather more interested in Environmental Engineering, as topics such as wastewater and air quality intrigue me more than what I've learned thus far(I've taken Thermo, Fluid Mechanics, Materials, Heat Transfer, Process, etc.) Unfortunately, my school(UCSB) didn't offer environmental engineering as a choice, and even then I'd be rather stuck since it's my last year with me just taking my senior design classes pretty much.

    Is it difficult to find jobs in the environmental engineering field after college with a chemical engineering degree? If not, what would you all recommend I do? Thank you all for your advice.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2015 #2
    It's an ABET accredited program, so if you do a nation wide job search and have a good GPA, I would not expect a problem.

    A mediocre GPA and/or a geographically constrained job search always make it much harder.
  4. Jul 22, 2015 #3
    Look at any large water/waste-water utility. They have environmental engineers. The studies and interests you have would be almost ideal for many jobs in larger utilities.
    In my own biased view of the world (I have been working at the same water/waste-water utility for nearly 30 years), you would do well on process engineering for water or waste-water plants, SCADA, Plant Operations, watershed management, and the like.

    The opportunities are out there. For more information, I suggest joining the American Water-Works Association and/or Water Environment Federation. They have student memberships. Through the events they host you can make many contacts in industry.

    Just a word of caution: what we don't make in large salaries, we typically get with good job benefits, employment stability, and very little overnight travel. If you're interested in exciting times traveling, and making piles of money, you might want to reconsider the petrochemical industry...

    I think you have a bright future ahead of you. Good Luck!
  5. Jul 22, 2015 #4
    Do an MSc specialized in exactly what you are interested in. Look nationwide, or international in countries you want to live for a couple of years, for the best program.

    In my country we score consistently no.2 in other people's ranking on water quality (as they place themselves no.1). My school is specialized in this subject as well.

    If you want to look for a similar program, go ahead. But chemical technology is the right generic bachelor for this program, though specialsed bachelors are offered in this field as well.

    If not, you can of course apply for jobs, of course. If you don't get hired in the right industry immediatately, you can always try again later, as you don't have the wrong degree.
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