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Chemical Process Engineering Major Questions  
User currently offlineACB777 From Canada, joined Sep 2003, 350 posts, RR: 2
Posted (6 years 7 months 13 hours ago) and read 3041 times:

Has anyone here majored in chemical process engineering?

I'm in a useless major right now, and I want to switch to a major that has better job prospects. I've taken some science courses, so I can go into 2nd year chemical engineering. I've done calculus 1, 2, some physics, and first year chemistry. I've also taken organic chemistry for science majors. I did well in the calculus courses, but not as well in the others (but still far from poor, and better than a lot of others). I'm considering engineering because I enjoyed calculus classes, and physics (except for the few tricky problems, but they were never on any exam). In particular, I enjoyed fluid dynamics.

How hard are subsequent chemical engineering courses? Are they a lot tougher, or better?

And also, what are the job prospects like? Where I live in Canada, there are many unemployed engineers, and the ones I know who have been working for many years are still making about $65,000/year.
However, in the USA, I heard that engineers are well paid and that engineering is considered more prestigious. Whats the starting salary for chemical process engineers in the USA? I heard its about $65,000, but how fast does the pay go up? How much does a senior engineer work (who supervises, consults, etc)? Is the career progression good? I hope to go to business school after working as an engineer, but is it only worth it if I go to a top US MBA school like Stanford, Duke, UCLA, etc?
I hope to live in the USA in the future, and work as an engineer in Houston or Dallas for a multinational oil and gas company. I would like to eventually work in the management area of these organizations. Is it competitive to get a position at those companies?

5 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineEmirates773ER From Pakistan, joined Jun 2005, 1449 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (6 years 7 months 9 hours ago) and read 3019 times:

Hi AC, I am majoring in mechanical engineering at present and can answer most of your questions.

Quoting ACB777 (Thread starter):

I'm in a useless major right now, and I want to switch to a major that has better job prospects. I've taken some science courses, so I can go into 2nd year chemical engineering. I've done calculus 1, 2, some physics, and first year chemistry. I've also taken organic chemistry for science majors. I did well in the calculus courses, but not as well in the others (but still far from poor, and better than a lot of others). I'm considering engineering because I enjoyed calculus classes, and physics (except for the few tricky problems, but they were never on any exam). In particular, I enjoyed fluid dynamics.

I would encourage you to go into engineering if you like science, it is the dedication what matters to me personally, I am no genius at math or science but have done pretty well for myself.

Quoting ACB777 (Thread starter):
How hard are subsequent chemical engineering courses? Are they a lot tougher, or better?

Engineering courses in canada are pretty tough, first and second year are rather easy but it does get rough in the third year. Don't let this deter you though, you got to study to be an engineer and should easily get through if you keep a marked difference in your social and school activities.

Quoting ACB777 (Thread starter):

And also, what are the job prospects like? Where I live in Canada, there are many unemployed engineers, and the ones I know who have been working for many years are still making about $65,000/year.
However, in the USA, I heard that engineers are well paid and that engineering is considered more prestigious. Whats the starting salary for chemical process engineers in the USA? I heard its about $65,000, but how fast does the pay go up? How much does a senior engineer work (who supervises, consults, etc)? Is the career progression good? I hope to go to business school after working as an engineer, but is it only worth it if I go to a top US MBA school like Stanford, Duke, UCLA, etc?

Your profile says you are from ontario, no doubt the level of unemployment is high. But how did u get this idea of no jobs for engineers in canada? Alberta is literally crying for engineers to work in the oilsands for them, we are seeing the biggest engineering boom happening in calgary, fort mac, Edmonton. Throughout my degree I have had summer jobs/internships without any problems, recruitments is at its highest at the moment with companies like suncor employing 1200 per year. Pay depends on your experience really, but $60k is a reasonable start with a $100k in sight once you get you professional status in a few years.

Quoting ACB777 (Thread starter):
I hope to live in the USA in the future, and work as an engineer in Houston or Dallas for a multinational oil and gas company. I would like to eventually work in the management area of these organizations. Is it competitive to get a position at those companies?


With the canuck dollar being at par with the greenback I see no reason of going down south, but if you prefer there are quite a fews jobs in texas.



The Truth is Out There ---- Face It!!!!!
User currently offlineScrubbsYWG From Canada, joined Mar 2007, 1495 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 7 months 9 hours ago) and read 3012 times:

i agree with much of what emirates said above me. I am a couple years out of mech engineering at u of manitoba, and there are really no shortage of jobs, even here in winnipeg where most will argue the economy is nowhere near the boom in alberta. I dont know many unemployed engineers here, and the ones that are are that way because of how their schooling went(i.e. 7 years for a bsc, failed classes, no summer work, etc.).

I also kind of think picking out the exact career you want after first year is jumping the gun somewhat. You have many courses left, and you might get pursuaded into a different direction after you take some courses.

Like emirates said, engineering school does get tough in year 2 and 3, at least that was my experience.

As far as work and salary, well, do well in school, and get good summer/co-op jobs and then you can demand a higher salary when you finish school and enter the work world. If you go to fort mac, i believe they are starting well above 60k at this point, but the downside is you are in fort mac.


And as for business school, most MBA programs, especially the top ones, will most likely not admit you until you have several years of full time work experience. So go work for your oil company, and then get them to pay for school, but there will be competition within these companies for the spots!


User currently offlineCasInterest From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4498 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (6 years 7 months 9 hours ago) and read 3005 times:

Having started with Chemical Engineering and switched to Computer Engineering, all engineering courses are tough if you don't study.

Fluid Dynamics and Thermo are pretty tough courses, you have to be very analytical when doing these.

All Engineering is interesting to those that like to solve problems.

My university had a Survey of Engineering course, a semester long course aimed at Freshman who were interested in Math and Science,to help evaluate each field Hopefully there is such a course at your school.

My advice is to not concentrate on Money. Make sure you are doing something you will enjoy. I enjoyed working with computers and programming more than Mass Balances and Chemical Equations.



Older than I just was ,and younger than I will soo be.
User currently offlineACB777 From Canada, joined Sep 2003, 350 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (6 years 7 months 3 hours ago) and read 2983 times:



Quoting Emirates773ER (Reply 1):
Your profile says you are from ontario, no doubt the level of unemployment is high. But how did u get this idea of no jobs for engineers in canada? Alberta is literally crying for engineers to work in the oilsands for them, we are seeing the biggest engineering boom happening in calgary, fort mac, Edmonton. Throughout my degree I have had summer jobs/internships without any problems, recruitments is at its highest at the moment with companies like suncor employing 1200 per year. Pay depends on your experience really, but $60k is a reasonable start with a $100k in sight once you get you professional status in a few years.

I'm actually from southern BC, so thats probably why I think the job prospects of engineers is poor. Can the salary go well above $100,000 though, to about $150,000? Are there any boundaries? I would like a career where I can work up to an executive position.

Quoting Emirates773ER (Reply 1):
Engineering courses in canada are pretty tough, first and second year are rather easy but it does get rough in the third year.

What university do you go to? What are the typical class averages? At UBC (where I go), the class averages for 3rd and 4th year engineering ranges from 64%-76% (or a C+ to B+, but I find that most are at a B-). I don't mind if the courses are hard, as long as the marks are adjusted if everyone else does poorly (which I believe they are at UBC). I heard that UofT engineering is the hardest in the country, though...

Quoting CasInterest (Reply 3):
My university had a Survey of Engineering course, a semester long course aimed at Freshman who were interested in Math and Science,to help evaluate each field Hopefully there is such a course at your school

Unfortunately, no!

Quoting CasInterest (Reply 3):
My advice is to not concentrate on Money. Make sure you are doing something you will enjoy. I enjoyed working with computers and programming more than Mass Balances and Chemical Equations.

Its hard to find something I'm very interested in. I enjoyed Spanish language, but that won't get me a good job! But I did enjoy chemical equations in first year chemistry.


User currently offlineEmirates773ER From Pakistan, joined Jun 2005, 1449 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (6 years 7 months 2 hours ago) and read 2978 times:



Quoting ACB777 (Reply 4):
I'm actually from southern BC, so thats probably why I think the job prospects of engineers is poor. Can the salary go well above $100,000 though, to about $150,000? Are there any boundaries? I would like a career where I can work up to an executive position.

You can work yourself up into a executive positions if you want or go technical, the choice is totally your own. I understand that a professional engineer with a few years under his/her belt is getting paid around the 120k-150k mark depending on the company and experience.

Quoting ACB777 (Reply 4):

What university do you go to? What are the typical class averages? At UBC (where I go), the class averages for 3rd and 4th year engineering ranges from 64%-76% (or a C+ to B+, but I find that most are at a B-). I don't mind if the courses are hard, as long as the marks are adjusted if everyone else does poorly (which I believe they are at UBC). I heard that UofT engineering is the hardest in the country, though...

I go to the university of new brunswick out east. The typical class average for the university is also about the same (65%-75%), adjusting the marks according to the bell curve is up to the prof but happens a lot when class performance is poor. You can go to any university in canada to study, whether it be UofC or UofT, in the end what matters is your degree. No one will look at the university you are studying at, an engineer from Memorial University is just as capable as a engineer from U of Victoria.



The Truth is Out There ---- Face It!!!!!
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