Work Environment and Job Opportunities for Women in Chemical Engineering

Hi! I am a freshmen taking the general requirements. I am taking chemistry classes and I like them. As i have already been interested in engineering and was not sure which engineering to take, after taking chemistry i am seriously been thinking of doing chemical engineering. But i am not sure if chemical engineering jobs will offer a suitable environment for women. I also want to know the different kind of jobs for chemical engineers.
posted by Swarnalaxmi, Columbia, MS on March 30, 2012

Answer by Dr. Elisabeth Drake

Dear Swarnalaxmi, I had the same questions you raise when I was trying to decide about what major to take in college. I liked chemistry but didnt want to go into a pure research field (where a doctorate is usually required for professional stature). My choice was finally based on what field would both match my interests and give me the most options for the future. I picked chemical engineering and have always been glad that I did. Today, there are increasing numbers of women in all the branches of chemical engineering and the range of activities open to chemical engineers is wide. Chemical engineering was a great background for all sorts of things as my interests and opportunities changed over my career. I worked for six years after getting my B.S. and then went back to school and got a doctorate in chemical engineering so I could move ahead in the consulting industry. Chemical engineers work in bioengineering, energy, environmental engineering, as well as in education and the traditional chemical industry. With globalization, there are great chemical engineering jobs worldwide. If you like solving real world problems, I cant think of a better preparation than chemical engineering the chemistry piece gives it a unique edge over other engineering fields. It takes work, but Ive always found interesting new challenges and have had a lot of fun along the way. With many good wishes! Lis