Chemical engineers (CHMEs) combine the fundamentals of physical science (chemistry and physics) and life science (biology, microbiology, biochemistry) with the principles of mathematics and economics to processes that convert raw materials (chemicals) into more useful or valuable products. CHMEs are pioneering materials and associated processes essential to nanotechnology, fuel cells, and biomedical engineering. Such materials include: fuels, medicines, foods, papers, plastic, fertilizers, and semiconductors to name but a few. CHMEs also work to protect the environment by determining chemical system lifespan, invent substitutes for scarce resources, and create new products from recycled materials. Career opportunities are extensive. In 2008, AICHE captured the top ten achievements of the discipline and published these accomplishments in the November issue of Chemical Engineering Progress.
Chemical Engineering is the premier pre-medical program degree. CHMEs view the body from a process perspective which helps them to be highly successful in medical school. NMSU Chemical Engineering has developed a biomedical engineering minor beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year. This program has been reviewed by the UNM School of Medicine to assure all requirements for entry are met. In this curriculum, an emphasis is placed on biology, biomedical engineering, and healthcare topics. During their degree program, students will complete all the courses required for medical school entry while completing the chemical engineering studies.
Other minors offered by the Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering include: materials engineering, nuclear chemical engineering, and pre-law intellectual property.
An undergraduate degree in chemical engineering leads to an exciting career in fields that include: advanced materials; petrochemical and refining; chemical synthesis and production; power and energy production (including the nuclear industry); computer chip manufacture; environmental restoration and pollution prevention; biotechnology and bio-engineering; pharmaceutical manufacture; food production; transportation (including automotive and aerospace); law; medicine; or advanced studies at the graduate level.
A chemical engineer has many career options because of their problem-solving skills. While pursuing the degree, a student in CHME learns to approach problem solution in a highly systematic method, a skill which can be applied in all aspects of life, and the most valuable asset gained from this program of study.
If you have an interest in the History of Chemical Engineering, Wayne Pafko captured and documented it nicely.
If your a high school student and are considering a career in CHME, preview this presentation given at the 2014 NMACTE Conference.