Chemical and Materials Engineers design and prepare specifications for chemical process systems and the construction and operation of commercial-scale chemical plants, supervise industrial processing and fabrication of products undergoing physical and chemical change, and investigate the properties of metals, ceramics, polymers and other materials and assess and develop their engineering and commercial applications.

    A bachelor degree in materials, chemical, biochemical or process engineering is needed to work as a Chemical or Materials Engineer. Many Chemical and Materials Engineers complete postgraduate studies.

    Tasks

    • preparing designs for chemical process systems and planning control systems for processes such as those used to remove and separate components, effect chemical changes, test and evaluate fuels, transfer heat, and control the storing and handling of solids,liquids and gases
    • monitoring the operation and maintenance of equipment to achieve maximum efficiency under safe operating conditions
    • ensuring correct materials and equipment are used and that they conform to specifications
    • diagnosing malfunctions in chemical plants and instituting remedial action
    • studying product utilisation and pollution control problems
    • reviewing plans for new products and submitting material selection recommendations in accordance with design specifications and factors such as strength, weight and cost
    • planning and implementing laboratory operations to develop new materials and fabrication procedures for new materials to fulfil production cost and performance standards
    • conferring with producers of materials, such as metals, ceramics, polymers, cements and elastomers, during the investigation and evaluation of materials suitable for specific product applications
    • reviewing product failure data and implementing laboratory tests to establish or reject possible causes, and advising on ways to overcome any problems

    More about Chemical and Materials Engineers

    All Chemical and Materials Engineers

    All Chemical and Materials Engineers

    • $3,019 Weekly Pay
    • Strong Future Growth
    • Average unemployment Unemployment
    • 7,400 workers Employment Size
    • Very high skill Skill level rating
    • 88% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 44 hours Average full-time
    • 38 years Average age
    • 20% female Gender Share

    The number of people working as Chemical and Materials Engineers (in their main job) grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years:
    from 7,400 in 2018 to 8,200 by 2023.
    Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
    There are likely to be around 4,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 800 a year).

    • Size: This is a small occupation.
    • Unemployment: Unemployment was average in 2018.
    • Location: Many Chemical and Materials Engineers work in Western Australia.
    • Industries: Most work in Manufacturing; Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; and Mining.
    • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $3,019 per week (higher than the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • Full-time: Most work full-time (88%, much higher than the average of 66%).
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 44 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 38 years (compared to the average of 40 years).
    • Gender: 20% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
    YearNumber of Workers
    20085500
    20096400
    20105600
    20118000
    20123600
    20135300
    20146500
    20155500
    20165300
    20175100
    20187400
    20238200

    Weekly Earnings

    Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

    Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (cat. no. 6306.0), May 2018, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
    EarningsChemical and Materials EngineersAll Jobs Average
    Full-Time Earnings30191460

    Main Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
    Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
    Manufacturing33.9
    Professional, Scientific and Technical Services24.4
    Mining15.0
    Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services12.5
    Other Industries14.2

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateChemical and Materials EngineersAll Jobs Average
    NSW24.231.6
    VIC27.125.6
    QLD17.720.0
    SA5.67.0
    WA23.410.8
    TAS1.12.0
    NT0.61.0
    ACT0.31.9

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketChemical and Materials EngineersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-190.0-5.05.0
    20-247.1-9.39.3
    25-3433.0-22.922.9
    35-4425.6-22.022.0
    45-5419.8-21.621.6
    55-596.5-9.09.0
    60-644.5-6.06.0
    65 and Over3.5-4.24.2

    Education Level

    Highest Level of Education (% Share)

    Source: ABS, ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
    Type of QualificationChemical and Materials EngineersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate27.7-10.110.1
    Bachelor degree62.2-21.821.8
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma2.8-11.611.6
    Certificate III/IV3.0-21.121.1
    Year 123.8-18.118.1
    Year 110.1-4.84.8
    Year 10 and below0.3-12.512.5

    A bachelor degree in materials, chemical, biochemical or process engineering is needed to work as a Chemical or Materials Engineer. Many Chemical and Materials Engineers complete postgraduate studies.

    Registration may be compulsory in some states and territories. In addition, Engineers Australia has a non-compulsory National Engineering Register.

    Thinking about study or training?

    Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

    • Search and compare thousands of higher education courses, and their entry requirements from different institutions across Australia at Course Seeker website.
    • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.

    Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

    Useful links and resources


    The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

    Employers look for Chemical and Materials Engineers who can work well in a team, communicate clearly with a diverse range of people and provide good customer service.

    Filter Skills & Knowledge

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    1. Engineering and Technology

      94% Skill level

      The use engineering science and technology to design and produce goods and services.

    2. Chemistry

      84% Skill level

      Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.

    3. Mathematics

      82% Skill level

      Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

    4. Physics

      77% Skill level

      The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.

    5. Design

      74% Skill level

      Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 17-2041.00 - Chemical Engineers.

    Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

    Filter Work Environment

    Demands

    The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

    1. Electronic Mail

      98% Important

      How often do you use electronic mail?

    2. Indoors, Heat Controlled

      96% Important

      How often do you work indoors with access to heating or cooling?

    3. Telephone

      96% Important

      How often do you talk on the telephone?

    4. Face-to-Face Discussions

      95% Important

      How often do you talk with people face-to-face?

    5. Work With Work Group or Team

      85% Important

      How important is it to work with others in a group or team?

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 17-2041.00 - Chemical Engineers.

    go to top