Duties and responsibilities
Process engineers are chemical engineers who help to transform raw materials into valuable everyday products. They are responsible are designing, implementing, controlling and optimising industrial processes and machinery in the manufacturing industry. Their typical duties include:
- Researching, designing and developing new equipment
- Developing, configuring and optimising end-to-end industrial processes, from ideation to certification
- Managing cost and time constraints
- Ensuring compliance with both internal and external protocols and regulations
- Running risk assessments of the equipment and processes being used
- Collecting data, writing reports, and presenting findings to senior management
Like all other engineers, process engineers will need a bachelor’s degree in engineering (preferably chemical engineer) from an ABET-accredited program. To obtain licensure, process engineers will need to pass several exams, participate in internships and obtain work experience. Many process engineers will go on to achieve a masters degree as this will allow them to enter high paying management positions.
Skills and relevant work experience
Process engineers will learn many skills through their education and on-the-job training. As well as this, they will need skills such as:
- Problem-solving skills, as process engineers will need to transform raw materials into valuable everyday products
- Communication skills, process engineers must work with and communicate other professionals
- Leadership skills, as process engineers need to oversee operations and must manage costs and time constraints
- Analytical skills, as process engineers must use advanced techniques to research, design and develop new equipment
Process engineers are likely to work full time hours (40 hours per week). They may have to work overtime when they have to travel between sites.
According to payscale, the median annual salary for a process engineer in the United States is $74,173. At the lower end, process engineers can expect to earn around $58,000 per year. Whereas, at the upper end, production engineers earned over $103,000 per year.
By obtaining a masters degree, process engineers will have lots more opportunities. With more experience, process engineers may develop into management conditions where they will become responsible for supervising a team of other engineers and technicians. They may also progress into project management, consultancy, research and lecturing roles.