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Engineering From UK finishing my PhD in Chemical Engineering, want to move to USA

  1. Dec 31, 2011 #1

    I'm from the UK, and I've almost completed my PhD in Chemical Engineering. I'll soon be 25 years old and I've got my sights set on moving to the USA before I get too old.

    I could use some American advice on the following:

    1) How easy will it be to find an employer in the USA willing to sponsor my visa?
    2) How are British university graduates looked upon within the USA?
    3) In an ideal world I'd like to move to one of the less densely populated states, and as far away from cities as possible, what chemical engineering jobs will allow me to do this?

    My PhD would most likely qualify me for positions in process development/R&D in oil & gas or possibly even pharmaceutical companies. My PhD itself is in the area of process development and scale-up for petrochemical production. The research is both directly and indirectly sponsored by an oil & gas company with whom I have worked extensively for the past three years. I don't want to say much more to protect my anonymity.

    I'm really willing to look at any jobs, technical or non-technical, engineering or non-engineering, it doesn't bother me.

    Thanks so much
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 31, 2011 #2
    Well would you consider being a professor? You can find work as a professor in some unpopulated state I'm sure. Most of those oil refineries are in populated areas, so you would live near ''the city'', and they aren't usually associated with the nice part of town either. I don't see sponsorship as being a problem. We don't hate the brits either, this isn't the revolutionary war anymore. Oxford and Cambridge are extremely well known of course

    Come to los angeles and be my tutor, that can be your first job. I wanna get a PhD in chemical engineering! :)
  4. Dec 31, 2011 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Where on earth did you get that?
  5. Dec 31, 2011 #4
    I have absolutely no interest in staying in academia. Having worked with postdocs for a few years now, I've come to understand one thing, they're massively over-worked and underpaid (at least in the UK). I want to work in industry.
  6. Dec 31, 2011 #5
    Have you any better suggestions? :wink:
  7. Dec 31, 2011 #6
    For the oil industry, look into companies / etc in the state of Texas.
  8. Dec 31, 2011 #7
    The fact that not many people go beyond a bachelor's degree in engineering because it's less prosperous to do so...
  9. Jan 1, 2012 #8
    Right now, extremely tough. One thing that you can consider doing it to work for a large multinational and at some point, you may be able to get some lateral transfer. The other thing is to wait for the economy to improve.

    No particular views either positive or negative.

    Pretty hard, since Ph.D. jobs are mostly city jobs.
  10. Jan 1, 2012 #9
    Or also Norway or Alberta. I know people that have moved back and forth between Norway and Texas in oil/gas, and I think that EU will let you work in Norway without much trouble.

    Also professionals with Canadian citizenship can get NAFTA visas to work in the US. So if your plans are long term, this could be part of a "two-step" plan.

    The other thing is that most oil/gas jobs are in urban areas.
  11. Jan 1, 2012 #10
    But can you really look yourself in the mirror everyday and say ''I work in the oil and gas industry"?
  12. Jan 1, 2012 #11


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    I guess all your energy comes from nuclear?
  13. Jan 1, 2012 #12
    I just wouldn't want to propagate an industry that is destroying our earth, that's all.
  14. Jan 1, 2012 #13
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
  15. Jan 1, 2012 #14

    Thanks for your response. This is more or less what I had thought. Could you explain why it's so 'tough' right now? I was under the impression that most countries have a shortage of good engineers.
  16. Jan 1, 2012 #15

    Vanadium 50

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    Woopy's idea for a faculty position is terribly, terribly ill-informed. It's worth pointing out that it's important to consider the background of people providing advice - it's not uncommon here for people still in high school telling postdocs what they should do.

    In the 10 least most populous states, there are 12 schools offering a BS in ChemE. Most of them are in medium-sized cities like Albuquerque, Lincoln or Reno. There are five in metropolitan areas under 100,000 people. Typically, they are small departments with 5-10 faculty, and with a turnover of 5%, that means there are ~2 openings per year.

    Now, recognizing that they are looking for people with industrial or postdoctoral experience, and that they get of order 100 applications per position, you can tell me if you think this is a good plan or not.
  17. Jan 1, 2012 #16
    yeah why wouldn't they hire him when 85 of those 100 applicants are chinese or indian and can't even be understood? It's a moot point since he doesn't want to be in academia.
  18. Jan 1, 2012 #17
    EngCommand, consider Alberta, Canada also. They might have what interest you (jobs outside cities).
  19. Jan 2, 2012 #18
    I don't much about research jobs, but businesses are definitely hiring lots of engineers here in Alberta. One thing I can say is while I was applying for summer jobs in the oil and gas industry I came across plenty of postings requiring masters and PhD. With your petrochemical production background odds are in your favour. Plus, if you're not the city type you can always work in the field up in Fort McMurray and make a good fortune. :biggrin:
  20. Jan 3, 2012 #19
  21. Jan 3, 2012 #20

    Vanadium 50

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    Hey Woopy,

    Read the ad. It's a part-time job, and it's in the 2nd largest metropolitan area in the country.
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