Chemical engineers usually work for engineering design companies or on site at process plants. They may also work in laboratories and universities conducting chemical process research. If you choose to work mainly in design, you will have to travel occasionally to visit construction and process sites. If you are a chemical engineer who works predominantly on site to oversee processing, you will normally work at processing plants in rural WA. Sometimes these conditions can be dirty, dusty and noisy, as well as socially isolating. Chemical engineers tend to work normal hours, but may have to do shift work on site or work overtime to meet design deadlines.
Graduate chemical engineers can expert to earn approximately $1 317.31 per week ($68 500 per year), depending on the organisation they work for. With experience their earning potential may increase substantially.
Chemical engineers use complex equipment for testing and measuring processes and materials. They also use specialised computer programs for drawing construction designs. Since the work environment on site can be hazardous, they are often required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) including, bright and reflective safety clothing, hard hats, enclosed steel-capped boots, goggles, gloves and masks.
To become a chemical engineer, you need to study chemical engineering at university.
Most universities in Western Australia offer degrees in these fields. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.