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Occupation Details

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Chemical Engineer

Job Zone

Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, you may need to complete three - four years of college and work for several years in the career area to be considered qualified.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

€25k > 90
Chemical Engineer
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€25 - 90
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
Sigmar / CPL

Last Updated: February, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Shortage Indicator

Employment growth in this occupational group, which includes mechanical, electrical and electronic engineers, was above average. Employers are frequently citing these occupations as difficult to fill although the demand is likely to be small in number given the size of the employment stock. While the supply from the education system appears to be growing, demand is mostly for roles requiring sector-specific experience (e.g. medium-high, high-tech and food/beverage manufacturing).

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Occupational Category

Other Engineering Specialities

Also included in this category:

Mechanical engineers; Electrical engineers; Electronics engineers; Engineering professionals n.e.c.; Science & engineering technicians; Laboratory technicians; Electrical and electronics technicians; Engineering technicians; Quality assurance technicians;

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 1%
Non-Nationals: 16%
With Third Level: 79%
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At a Glance... header image

Researches, designs and plans the processes involved in the production of chemicals.

Videos & Interviews header image

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Go..Chemical Engineers - from: YouTube Video

The Work header image

Chemical engineers change raw materials into valuable products that we all can use everyday. They help to create and develop the processes that are used to make a huge range of products, including artificial fibres, detergents, food and drink, fuels, household cleaners, paints, pharmaceuticals and plastics. They often lead teams of other professionals and are often involved in every stage of a project such as production, manufacturing, design and electronics.  
When chemical engineers design a new process, they have to think carefully about its eventual cost, safety and any impact on the environment that it may have. To put a process plant into action involves the detailed design of the chemical reactors, heat exchangers, separation systems, storage vessels and all the other types of equipment that are used in the process plant.  
Chemical engineers have to pay a great deal of attention to safety. This includes managing the control systems that are needed for safe and economic operation of the process. Once a plant has been commissioned, it is chemical engineers who are responsible for its management and operation, and for supervising plant operators and maintenance staff.  
They also work on project design, for example, deciding whether a product should be made as a solid, a liquid or a spray. Design work will involve the use of computer-aided design (CAD) technology.  
Chemical engineers work closely with other experts. For example, they may be involved with civil engineers to provide foundations, access roads and structures to support the various plant items. They work with mechanical engineers on the design of specialist equipment, and with electrical engineers on the supply of power, with scientists in process development, and accountants/marketing professionals to consider the commercial aspects of production.  
Chemical engineers also have a vital role to play in protecting the environment. They work on ways to sustain natural resources, recycle materials and find new renewable resources. They aim to develop alternative technologies to solve problems such as the greenhouse effect and acid rain. Some chemical engineers are involved in groundbreaking research to solve these problems, while others hold management positions in areas where existing technology is used.

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Develop safety procedures to be employed by workers operating equipment or working in close proximity to on-going chemical reactions.


Troubleshoot problems with chemical manufacturing processes.


Evaluate chemical equipment and processes to identify ways to optimize performance or to ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations.


Conduct research to develop new and improved chemical manufacturing processes.


Determine most effective arrangement of operations such as mixing, crushing, heat transfer, distillation, and drying.


Perform tests and monitor performance of processes throughout stages of production to determine degree of control over variables such as temperature, density, specific gravity, and pressure.


Design and plan layout of equipment.


Prepare estimate of production costs and production progress reports for management.


Design measurement and control systems for chemical plants based on data collected in laboratory experiments and in pilot plant operations.


Develop processes to separate components of liquids or gases or generate electrical currents using controlled chemical processes.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


Thinking Creatively: Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.


Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.


Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Provide Consultation and Advice to Others: Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.


Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Engineering and Technology: Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.


Chemistry: Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.


Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


Physics: Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.


Production and Processing: Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.


Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.


Operations Analysis: Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.


Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Systems Evaluation: Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.


Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Systems Analysis: Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

Chemical engineers must enjoy solving problems and be committed to keeping up to date with advances in this fast changing area.  
You must have strong communication and interpersonal skills to interact with engineers from other disciplines. You are also likely to need management skills, including the ability to lead and motivate others.  
Chemical engineers should have an excellent grasp of modern technology, including the ability to use computers. For example, you may use computer-aided design technology in design and research work.  
You are also likely to need a commitment to protecting the environment and knowledge of issues like acid rain, lead pollution and the greenhouse effect.

Entry Routesheader image

Entrants to this career must successfully complete a relevant BSc in chemistry or chemical engineering. Programmes are available in several of the Colleges and IOTs.

Management positions in chemical engineering typically require 3-5 years relevant experience.

Most large employers in this field operate a graduate training programme of Initial Professional Development (IPD) to assist graduates achieve Chartered Engineer status. This usually takes about four years. Once you have attained Chartered Engineer status you are expected to maintain your skills by a programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). See Engineers Ireland for details of professional engineering status.

Last Updated: October, 2014

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

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Go..Chemical development engineer - from: GradIreland
Go..Chemical Engineer - from: N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Chemical Engineer - from: STEPS
Go..Chemical Engineering Technician - from: N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Engineers Ireland
Address: 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 665 1300
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Biological, Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science
Engineering & Manufacturing
Biomedical Technologies & Medtech
Physics, Mathematics & Space Science

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