Chemical Engineering is one of the oldest and most popular engineering sub-domains that existing in the physical sciences. Also referred by many experts as applied Chemistry, this field deals with the transformation of raw materials into more useful and valuable forms by application of physical sciences (physics & chemistry) as well as (microbiology, biochemistry & biology) and mathematics. In simpler terms, Chemical Engineers are involved in designing, construction and operation of machinery and plants to perform a variety of chemical reactions on raw materials to give them the shape of more useful substances. One of most common examples of chemical engineering products that we use in our daily life includes petroleum products, cosmetics, plastic and many more. Considering the vast impact of this subject on the things that we use and employ in our day-to-day life, chemical engineering offers excellent career opportunities to students.
Scope of Chemical Engineering
The traditional understanding of Chemical Engineering was limited to development, production and operation of chemicals and chemical production plants on an industrial scale. However, like all other subjects fields, Chemical engineering has also come a long way and is involved in any industrial process that involves dealing with chemicals.
As far as course curriculum is concerned, students taking up Chemical Engineering will be taught theoretical as well as practical aspects related to topics like:
• Inorganic chemical technology
• Organic chemical technology
• Physical chemistry
• Partial differential equations
• Chemical engineering thermodynamics
• Particulate science and technology
• Environmental engineering
• Fluid mechanics
• Basic concepts of mechanical engineering
• Material science & technology
• Biochemical engineering
Apart from being part of traditional chemical centric industries like pharmaceuticals and petroleum sectors, chemical engineering has also been part of new and upcoming fields like biotechnology, information technology, food technology and pollution control technology. This clearly exhibits the vast scope and variety of specialization options available to the student taking up Chemical Engineering.
Eligibility for Chemical Engineering Programme
Like all common engineering domains, the field of Chemical Engineering also requires students to be well-versed in the fundamental aspects of physical sciences i.e., Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics. In addition to this, to be part of new fields like biotechnology, biochemistry, students also need to have flair and aptitude for life sciences.
• Undergraduate Programmes: Many reputed institutes offer B.Tech / B.E programmes with specialization in Chemical engineering. Students interested in joining B.Tech Chemical Engineering courses should clear their Class 12 / 10+2 examination with PCM has their core subjects. Admission to 4-year B.Tech programmes is granted on the basis of an entrance examination like JEE (Mains)/JEE Advanced, students should clear these exams in order to be considered to admission.
• Postgraduate Programmes: Reputed institutes like IITs and NITs offer master degree programmes in the field of Chemical Engineering. The basic eligibility criteria for these are B.Tech degree. Some institutes are also known to conduct entrance exams for admission to postgraduate engineering programmes in chemical engineering.
• Diploma Programmes: Some institutes are also known to offer 3-year Diploma programmes in the field of chemical engineering. These programmes are aimed at preparing students for professional employment by offering practical knowledge of the subject. Students can become junior engineering after completion of Diploma in Chemical Engineering.
Career Prospects for Chemical Engineers
With the rise of Information Technology and electronics boom; the domain of Chemical Engineering has been pushed to sidelines as far as career prospects are concerned. However, being such an important part of core engineering processes in almost all major industrial processes, it still remains a very popular career choice among the students. There is a plethora of employment opportunities available to students taking chemical engineering in both public and private sector.
As far as employment domains are concerned, chemical engineers can be part of industrial processes fibres, fabrics, paints, medical drugs, biomaterials, gasoline, lubricants etc used in various industries such as textile, food, plastics, automotive, aerospace, petroleum, oil and gas, biomedical, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Apart from these, the new and up-coming fields like food, materials, specialty chemicals, plastics, power production, environmental control, waste management and biotechnology also employ chemical engineers as part of their operations processes.
Pay Package of Chemical Engineers
Chemical Engineers form the core part of designing, development and operation of industrial processes; therefore, they are always in demand among the chemical centric industries across the globe. When it comes to India, chemical engineers are known to find excellent employment offers in public sector units especially in petroleum processing industries as well as chemical and fertilizer industries. When it comes to the private sector, pharmaceutical industries and biotechnology centric businesses are known as the best pay masters for chemical engineers.
Like all other engineering fields, the pay package for chemical engineers is higher in the private sector compared to public sector units and increases significantly with experience, seniority and qualifications. Following are the general pay packages offered to chemical engineers in India:
• A Diploma holder in chemical engineering can expect pay package ranging between 5,000 to Rs. 9,000 per month as a junior engineer
• A fresher with a B.Tech degree in Chemical Engineering can expect anywhere between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 15,000 per month excluding other perks and allowances
• Senior Chemical Engineers with more than 5 years of work experience can expect salary in the range of Rs 30,000 and Rs 50,000 a month with perks and benefits
Top Chemical Engineering Institutes in India
The top ranking chemical engineering institutes offering undergraduate and postgraduate level academic programmes are:
• M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore
• Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani
• Assam Engineering College, Guwahati University
• Vellore Engineering College, Vellore
• Nirma Institute of Technology (Gujarat University)
• Faculty of Engineering & Technology, Jadavpur University
• Faculty of Engineering & Technology, Annamalai University
• University Department of Chemical Technology
• University College of Science & Technology, Calcutta University
• Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University
• College of Engineering, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam
• University College of Technology, Osmania University