How to Become a Process Engineer

Process Engineer

A process engineer works in factories or plants to create, analyse and maintain processes and machines. They will consider the processes of transforming materials into products and evaluate how they can produce higher quality products in a cost-effective way.

Process engineers are responsible for transforming raw materials into products. The products could be anything, for example, gas, oil, food, or drink. They oversee the industrial processes that create these products. They also design the processes, equipment, systems, and methods to transform materials into the full product.

Process engineers are similar to chemical engineers and manufacturing engineers. However, process engineers have more of a focus on mathematics and physics than chemical engineers, and manufacturing engineers are generally trained more for chain management. Nonetheless, there is certainly some crossover. Process engineers do still work on chemical and biochemical processes.

A process engineer job description includes: 

  • Creating and developing processes to make certain products throughout the factory. Must create them with the aim of maximum output and minimum issues.
  • Re-analysing processes by considering cutting costs, increasing productivity and optimising work.
  • Designing and manufacturing equipment.
  • Testing equipment to check for any issues and maintaining it.
  • Managing costs for new equipment, including researching the prices and helping with purchasing.
  • Abiding by internal and external protocols and regulations.
  • Running risk assessments.
  • Overseeing processes in the plant and the safety of employees while working there. 
  • Collecting and analysing data on budgets and efficiency. 
  • Reporting and completing other paperwork on findings.

The process engineer career path generally starts with a degree. Related subjects are chemistry, physics, manufacturing and industrial engineering. Post-graduate education is beneficial – some jobs will require a master’s degree or even a PhD. Vocational experience is also crucial – internships and work experience will strengthen an application.

After working in the field for some time, a process engineer will need to gain accreditation from their institute of chemical engineers. Gaining this accreditation will help a candidate progress up the career ladder and boost their salary.

Process engineers must be highly skilled in IT and maths, as their day to day tasks will include frequent use of both academic areas. They should be able to look at situations analytically, and enjoy problem-solving – as a large part of their career will involve analysing problems and producing solutions to them.

Attention to detail is fundamental in being a process engineer; professionals in this vocation should be meticulous about ensuring that the processes are running as they should. Business awareness and administration is also an essential skill, as considering how to maximise profits and increase efficiency is an integral part of a process engineer’s daily tasks.

Process engineers will generally work full time in a laboratory, factory, plant, or refinery. It is a physically tiring job; professionals may be required to spend much time on their feet and might be working in cramped and hot conditions. The process engineer salary is generous and increases as a candidate progresses up the career ladder. 

What degree is most commonly held by a Process Engineer ?

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Bachelor of Chemical Engineering
  • Masters of Physics
  • Bachelor of Science- Electromechanical Engineering

Career Transportability across Countries

Transportability: High
All types of engineering are highly transportable, and process engineering is no exception. Fully-trained process engineers are in demand all over the world, and qualified professionals can easily either be placed abroad in an international company or apply directly for work overseas. There are vacancies available in plants and factories all over the world.

What is the Salary of a Process Engineer ?

Experience Average salary | year
Process Engineer 1-3 yrs $66,000 £35,000 $49,542
Process Engineer Manager 3-5 yrs $83,000 £45,000 $63,675
Process Engineer Supervisor 5-10 yrs $129,000 £53,700 $74,749

What skills are needed to become a Process Engineer ?

  • Process Engineering
  • Engineering
  • Microsoft Office
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Project Management
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Matlab
  • Manufacturing
  • Project Engineering
  • Process Simulation
  • Aspen HYSYS
  • Leadership
  • Research
  • Data Analysis
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Commissioning
  • Teamwork
  • Microsoft Word
  • AutoCAD
  • HAZOP Study
  • P&ID
  • Process Control
  • Management
  • Lean Manufacturing
  • Process Optimization

Process Engineer courses

Candidates who would like to become a process engineer would benefit from taking some relevant courses. At FutureLearn, we have various courses on process managing and related topics. It is beneficial for candidates to learn about both engineering and business.

  • More Data Mining with Weka

    Enhance your skills in practical data mining as you get to grips with using large data sets and advanced data mining techniques

  • Pre-Contract Management for Construction Projects: The Basics

    Understand the pre-contract management process for construction projects considering procurement and tendering

  • The Musculoskeletal System: The Science of Staying Active into Old Age

    Demystify the ageing process and learn how our everyday behaviours are likely to affect our long-term musculoskeletal health

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