National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 Version 1.0


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21320 - Chemical engineers

Chemical engineers research, design, and develop chemical processes and equipment, oversee the operation and maintenance of industrial chemical, plastics, pharmaceutical, resource, pulp and paper, and food processing plants and perform duties related to chemical quality control, environmental protection and biochemical or biotechnical engineering. They are employed in a wide range of manufacturing and processing industries, consulting firms, government, research and educational institutions.

  • Illustrative example(s)

    • adhesives engineer
    • biochemical engineer
    • biotechnical engineer
    • chemical process control engineer
    • chemical process engineer
    • chemical project engineer
    • environmental chemical engineer
    • industrial hygiene engineer
    • industrial waste treatment engineer
    • liquid fuels engineer
    • petrochemical engineer
    • polymer engineer
    • pulp and paper engineer
    • refinery engineer
    • waste treatment engineer

    All examples

  • Inclusion(s)

    • pipeline transport engineer
  • Exclusion(s)

    • Agricultural engineer (See 21399 Other professional engineers)
    • Biomedical engineer (See 21399 Other professional engineers)
    • Chemists (See 21101 Chemists)
    • Civil environmental engineer (See 21300 Civil engineers)
    • Electrical process control engineer (See 21310 Electrical and electronics engineers)
    • Engineering managers (See 20010 Engineering managers)
    • Metallurgical and materials engineers (See 21322 Metallurgical and materials engineers)
    • Petroleum engineers (See 21332 Petroleum engineers)
  • Main duties

    This group performs some or all of the following duties:

    • Conduct economic and technical feasibility studies in areas related to chemical, petroleum, pulp and paper, food or other processing industries
    • Conduct research into the development or improvement of chemical engineering processes, reactions and materials
    • Evaluate chemical process technology and equipment and determine production specifications
    • Design and test chemical processing and associated plants and equipment
    • Oversee the construction, modification, operation and maintenance of pilot plants, processing units or processing plants
    • Establish and conduct quality control programs, operating procedures and control strategies to ensure consistency and adherence to standards for raw materials, products and waste products or emissions
    • Prepare contract documents and evaluate tenders for the process aspects of industrial construction
    • Supervise technicians, technologists and other engineers
    • May work in an administrative capacity, for example, in the development of guidelines and specifications for the handling of dangerous chemicals, environmental protection, or standards for foods, materials and consumer goods.

    Chemical engineers may specialize in the products and processes of a particular industry such as pulp and paper manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, energy processing, plastics, metal extraction and refining, or adhesives and coatings production. They may also specialize in functional areas of various industries such as process control, pollution control or fermentation processes.

  • Employment requirements

    • A bachelor's degree in chemical engineering or in a related engineering discipline is required.
    • A master's degree or doctorate in a related engineering discipline may be required.
    • Licensing by a provincial or territorial association of professional engineers is required to approve engineering drawings and reports and to practise as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.).
    • Engineers are eligible for registration following graduation from an accredited educational program, and after three or four years of supervised work experience in engineering and passing a professional practice examination.
  • Additional information

    • There is considerable mobility between chemical engineering specializations at the less senior levels.
    • Supervisory and senior positions in this unit group require experience.
    • Engineers often work in a multidisciplinary environment and acquire knowledge and skills through work experience that may allow them to practise in associated areas of science, engineering, sales, marketing or management.
    • Chemical engineers work closely with chemists and other scientists and engineers and mobility is possible between some fields of specialization.
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