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Process engineer

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Summary of occupation

Process engineers design, develop and operate a range of machinery and equipment that undertake multiple tasks in the mining, manufacturing and utilities infrastructure industries. They undertake research into the manufacture of new products, redesign existing processes, develop and implement new products, and select appropriate equipment or materials for carrying out particular tasks. Process engineers also study the environmental implications of particular industrial processes and work towards ensuring that these processes are as environmentally non-invasive as possible. Process engineers work all over the state, from mine sites in the Pilbarra and South West regions to industrial process plants in our cities and large regional centres.

ANZSCO description: Process engineers design, develop and operate a  range of machinery and equipment that undertake multiple tasks in the  mining, manufacturing and resource processing industries.
Alternative names: Process Development Scientist
Specialisations: Industrial Process Engineer, Minerals Process Engineer
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A process engineer needs:

  • an interest in science and engineering
  • problem solving skills
  • technical and practical skills
  • communication skills
  • analytical and research skills
  • to be able to work as part of a team
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Working conditions

Process engineers often work in the offices and laboratories of mining, manufaturing or processing facilities, research institutes or universities, consulting companies or city and shire councils. They may occasionally be required to work in the field in mining or manufacturing facillities or processing plants. They usually work regular hours, but may be required to work longer hours at times, and may be required to work irregular hours when working in the field. They may travel to attend conferences, or to work or consult on a particular project.

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Salary details

Graduate process engineers, classified under mining engineers, can expect to earn approximately $1 442 per week ($75 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for. With experience their earning potential may increase substantially.

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Tools and technologies

Process engineers use computers and computer-aided-design (CAD) software. They also use data managementand process analysis software. They also work with specialist equipment to obtain samples, as well as calculators and measuring devices, and analysis and testing equipment. Whilst carrying out field work they may be required to wear protective clothing such as helmets, goggles, high visibility clothing and work boots.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

​To become a process engineer, you usually need to study a degree in engineering, with a major in chemical or metallurgical engineering. 

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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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.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

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.

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