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CHEMICAL ENGINEER: It's About Using What You Learned In School To Solve Real World Problems

About this video 

Pamela is a chemical engineer working as a technical manager in sales for a company in the oil industry. Instead of describing what a typical day looks like for her, she shares what a typical month is like. Although Pamela has been out of college for six years, she's already held down many different jobs in her career as a chemical engineer. She talks about what she's learned since starting down this career path and provides smart advice for people considering following in her footsteps.

Degree: Chemical Engineering
Job Title: Technical Manager

Job Summary: Chemical Engineers

Job Description

Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, and physics to solve problems. These problems involve the production or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and many other products. They design processes and equipment for large-scale safe and sustainable manufacturing, plan and test methods of manufacturing products and treating byproducts, and supervise production.

On-the-Job Training

None

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
Confirm
$55,000 - $140,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
0 to 10 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Office, Travel, Indoor, Hospital / Clinic, Home, Physically demanding
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Problem solving skills, Analytical skills, Teamwork, People skills, Empathy, Mathematical skills

Educational Path

Education requirement
Education Requirement
Bachelor's degree
View Detailed Career Data

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='0'>My</span> <span m='340'>current</span> <span m='680'>job,</span> <span m='1100'>I</span> <span m='1290'>am</span> <span m='1410'>a</span> <span m='1500'>chemical</span> <span m='1870'>engineer.</span> <span m='2540'>And</span> <span m='2670'>I</span> <span m='2770'>work</span> <span m='3020'>for</span> <span m='3150'>a</span> <span m='3190'>company</span> <span m='3720'>in</span> <span m='3850'>technical</span> <span m='4400'>sales.</span> <span m='4920'>And</span> <span m='5020'>what</span> <span m='5140'>we</span> <span m='5260'>do</span> <span m='5450'>is we</span> <span m='5590'>help</span> <span m='5860'>customers</span> <span m='6380'>in the</span> <span m='6470'>oil</span> <span m='6700'>industry</span> <span m='8109'>build</span> <span m='8530'>new</span> <span m='8680'>refineries,</span> <span m='9250'>so</span> <span m='9420'>that they</span> <span m='9550'>can</span> <span m='9740'>take</span> <span m='9920'>crude,</span> <span m='10720'>make</span> <span m='10920'>products</span> <span m='11300'>for our</span> <span m='11510'>gas,</span> <span m='11850'>cars,</span> <span m='12110'>and</span> <span m='12370'>jets.</span> <span m='12920'>And</span> <span m='13140'>help</span> <span m='13160'>supply</span> <span m='13620'>their</span> <span m='13920'>nation.</span> </p><p><span m='15230'>I'll</span> <span m='15350'>describe</span> <span m='15510'>more</span> <span m='15780'>of</span> <span m='15900'>a</span> <span m='15960'>month.</span> <span m='16260'>Because</span> <span m='16370'>a</span> <span m='16430'>lot</span> <span m='16660'>goes</span> <span m='16890'>on, and it</span> <span m='17340'>could</span> <span m='17440'>depend</span> <span m='17870'>on</span> <span m='18000'>the</span> <span m='18090'>week.</span> </p><p><span m='19070'>When</span> <span m='19210'>I'm</span> <span m='19340'>in</span> <span m='19440'>the</span> <span m='19500'>office,</span> <span m='20160'>I</span> <span m='20250'>work</span> <span m='20430'>with</span> <span m='20570'>my</span> <span m='20710'>team</span> <span m='21150'>to</span> <span m='21300'>get</span> <span m='21660'>different</span> <span m='22030'>parts</span> <span m='22280'>of</span> <span m='22340'>the</span> <span m='22420'>solution</span> <span m='22870'>for</span> <span m='22960'>the</span> <span m='23050'>customer.</span> <span m='24120'>And</span> <span m='24750'>once</span> <span m='25140'>we</span> <span m='25400'>get</span> <span m='25530'>to the</span> <span m='25690'>point</span> <span m='25920'>where</span> <span m='26140'>the</span> <span m='26180'>customer's</span> <span m='26530'>ready</span> <span m='26770'>to meet,</span> <span m='27030'>I</span> <span m='27190'>get</span> <span m='27380'>to</span> <span m='27640'>travel</span> <span m='28410'>to</span> <span m='28940'>pretty</span> <span m='29580'>cool</span> <span m='29660'>locations.</span> <span m='30300'>I've</span> <span m='30520'>been to</span> <span m='31340'>Russia</span> <span m='31710'>and</span> <span m='31960'>Egypt</span> <span m='32340'>and</span> <span m='32720'>Korea.</span> </p><p><span m='33650'>And</span> <span m='33860'>I</span> <span m='33930'>get</span> <span m='34100'>to</span> <span m='34210'>learn</span> <span m='34380'>a</span> <span m='34450'>lot</span> <span m='34670'>about</span> <span m='35160'>how</span> <span m='35410'>their</span> <span m='35610'>business</span> <span m='36030'>culture</span> <span m='36360'>works.</span> <span m='36820'>And</span> <span m='37280'>work</span> <span m='37520'>on</span> <span m='37750'>solutions.</span> <span m='38280'>And</span> <span m='39280'>hopefully</span> <span m='39730'>arrive</span> <span m='40080'>at</span> <span m='40210'>an</span> <span m='40620'>answer</span> <span m='41070'>that they</span> <span m='41200'>want</span> <span m='41350'>to</span> <span m='41400'>implement</span> <span m='41755'>to</span> <span m='42110'>help</span> <span m='42340'>their</span> <span m='42440'>business.</span> </p><p><span m='43420'>My career path</span> <span m='43530'>has been</span> <span m='43990'>very</span> <span m='44310'>interesting.</span> <span m='44690'>I've been</span> <span m='44870'>out of</span> <span m='45090'>college</span> <span m='45510'>for</span> <span m='45640'>almost</span> <span m='46010'>six</span> <span m='46270'>years</span> <span m='46540'>now.</span> <span m='46810'>And</span> <span m='47040'>I've</span> <span m='47190'>had</span> <span m='47380'>a</span> <span m='47450'>new</span> <span m='47600'>job</span> <span m='47880'>almost</span> <span m='48160'>every</span> <span m='48410'>year</span> <span m='48630'>in</span> <span m='48750'>industry.</span> </p><p><span m='49380'>So I've</span> <span m='49520'>learned</span> <span m='49750'>a</span> <span m='49810'>lot.</span> <span m='50720'>I</span> <span m='51020'>started</span> <span m='51360'>off</span> <span m='51950'>on</span> <span m='52100'>a</span> <span m='52200'>trading</span> <span m='52520'>floor.</span> <span m='52880'>And so</span> <span m='53240'>I</span> <span m='53370'>could</span> <span m='53790'>see</span> <span m='53980'>how</span> <span m='54120'>pipelines</span> <span m='54480'>worked.</span> <span m='54810'>And</span> <span m='54960'>how</span> <span m='56390'>gas</span> <span m='56620'>got</span> <span m='56840'>from</span> <span m='56920'>the</span> <span m='56980'>gas</span> <span m='57250'>station</span> <span m='57930'>from a</span> <span m='58040'>refinery.</span> <span m='58720'>And</span> <span m='58910'>help</span> <span m='59350'>people's</span> <span m='60220'>city</span> <span m='60900'>supply</span> <span m='62100'>everyone</span> <span m='62330'>that</span> <span m='62540'>lives</span> <span m='62790'>there.</span> </p><p><span m='63510'>I've</span> <span m='63880'>dealt</span> <span m='64030'>with a</span> <span m='64200'>hurricane,</span> <span m='64819'>and</span> <span m='64980'>how</span> <span m='65170'>you</span> <span m='65489'>make</span> <span m='65660'>sure</span> <span m='65780'>people</span> <span m='66010'>can</span> <span m='66140'>evacuate.</span> <span m='66840'>And</span> <span m='67260'>have</span> <span m='67640'>enough gas</span> <span m='67810'>to</span> <span m='67900'>do</span> <span m='68070'>that.</span> </p><p><span m='69010'>And I've</span> <span m='69190'>also</span> <span m='69570'>worked</span> <span m='69880'>in</span> <span m='70650'>Montana.</span> <span m='71250'>Which</span> <span m='71470'>is kind</span> <span m='71700'>of</span> <span m='71820'>a cool</span> <span m='72250'>location</span> <span m='72860'>for</span> <span m='72990'>folks</span> <span m='73440'>to</span> <span m='73530'>be</span> <span m='73760'>in.</span> <span m='74060'>It's</span> <span m='74120'>beautiful.</span> </p><p><span m='75280'>And</span> <span m='75900'>I've</span> <span m='76500'>seen</span> <span m='76700'>operations.</span> <span m='77480'>I've</span> <span m='77650'>also</span> <span m='77920'>done</span> <span m='78880'>planning.</span> <span m='79890'>And</span> <span m='80150'>now</span> <span m='80520'>I</span> <span m='80620'>wanted</span> <span m='80840'>to</span> <span m='80910'>try</span> <span m='81120'>something</span> <span m='81280'>that</span> <span m='81430'>was</span> <span m='81610'>more</span> <span m='81830'>collaborative.</span> <span m='82910'>Where</span> <span m='82970'>I could</span> <span m='83340'>deal with</span> <span m='83610'>people</span> <span m='84120'>on</span> <span m='84220'>a</span> <span m='84260'>daily</span> <span m='84520'>basis.</span> <span m='84970'>And so I</span> <span m='85450'>found</span> <span m='85700'>this</span> <span m='85800'>current</span> <span m='86140'>job</span> <span m='86440'>in</span> <span m='86870'>Chicago.</span> <span m='87260'>And it was</span> <span m='87740'>great.</span> </p><p><span m='88580'>When</span> <span m='88750'>I</span> <span m='88870'>start</span> <span m='89090'>engineering</span> <span m='89620'>I</span> <span m='90220'>was</span> <span m='90350'>a</span> <span m='90400'>little</span> <span m='92360'>stickler</span> <span m='92650'>about</span> <span m='93010'>it.</span> <span m='93420'>I</span> <span m='93530'>don't</span> <span m='93790'>to</span> <span m='93870'>be</span> <span m='94000'>in a</span> <span m='94100'>lab</span> <span m='94510'>all</span> <span m='94590'>day,</span> <span m='95190'>solving</span> <span m='95480'>math</span> <span m='95680'>problems.</span> <span m='96300'>And</span> <span m='96390'>I</span> <span m='96450'>wasn't</span> <span m='96830'>super</span> <span m='97060'>excited.</span> <span m='97940'>But</span> <span m='98220'>not that</span> <span m='98500'>I'm</span> <span m='98610'>actually</span> <span m='98910'>in</span> <span m='98960'>the</span> <span m='99040'>workforce,</span> <span m='99600'>and</span> <span m='99680'>I</span> <span m='99850'>see</span> <span m='100090'>that</span> <span m='100930'>it's</span> <span m='101140'>more</span> <span m='101410'>than</span> <span m='101620'>just</span> <span m='101890'>solving</span> <span m='102180'>math</span> <span m='102470'>problems,</span> <span m='103100'>and</span> <span m='103200'>memorizing</span> <span m='104270'>chemical</span> <span m='104640'>compounds.</span> <span m='104975'>It's</span> <span m='105310'>really</span> <span m='106140'>using</span> <span m='106450'>that</span> <span m='106630'>knowledge</span> <span m='106910'>you</span> <span m='107190'>learned</span> <span m='107570'>to</span> <span m='108640'>solve</span> <span m='109280'>real-world</span> <span m='109970'>problems</span> <span m='110360'>for</span> <span m='110520'>customers.</span> </p><p><span m='111170'>And in</span> <span m='111400'>a</span> <span m='111510'>business</span> <span m='111860'>setting,</span> <span m='112630'>you</span> <span m='112960'>realize</span> <span m='113220'>where</span> <span m='113700'>it</span> <span m='114050'>meets,</span> <span m='114540'>and</span> <span m='114650'>it's</span> <span m='114870'>great.</span> </p><p><span m='115510'>I</span> <span m='115620'>didn't</span> <span m='116140'>think</span> <span m='116350'>I</span> <span m='116440'>would</span> <span m='116650'>be</span> <span m='116840'>here,</span> <span m='118690'>meeting</span> <span m='118930'>people</span> <span m='119290'>across</span> <span m='119610'>the</span> <span m='119780'>world.</span> <span m='120520'>And</span> <span m='120570'>learning</span> <span m='120820'>about</span> <span m='121150'>their</span> <span m='121790'>governments,</span> <span m='122090'>their</span> <span m='122390'>cities,</span> <span m='122920'>and</span> <span m='122990'>how</span> <span m='123560'>my</span> <span m='123790'>technical</span> <span m='124220'>solutions</span> <span m='124650'>can</span> <span m='124760'>help</span> <span m='124990'>them</span> <span m='125730'>achieve</span> <span m='126030'>their</span> <span m='126180'>goals.</span> </p><p><span m='126630'>So</span> <span m='127510'>I</span> <span m='127610'>had</span> <span m='127790'>no</span> <span m='127880'>idea</span> <span m='128240'>that's where I would be</span> <span m='128729'>today.</span> </p><p><span m='129930'>I</span> <span m='130139'>would</span> <span m='130370'>advise</span> <span m='130729'>them</span> <span m='130870'>to</span> <span m='130960'>study</span> <span m='131210'>hard</span> <span m='131660'>in school.</span> <span m='132860'>But</span> <span m='133030'>don't</span> <span m='134180'>forget</span> <span m='134810'>that</span> <span m='136220'>it's</span> <span m='136440'>more</span> <span m='136670'>than</span> <span m='136860'>just</span> <span m='137600'>the</span> <span m='137670'>book</span> <span m='138120'>learning.</span> </p><p><span m='138440'>It's</span> <span m='138760'>about</span> <span m='139020'>how</span> <span m='139110'>you</span> <span m='139220'>interact</span> <span m='139570'>with</span> <span m='139670'>people.</span> <span m='140590'>It's</span> <span m='140770'>about</span> <span m='140940'>how</span> <span m='141050'>you</span> <span m='141220'>work</span> <span m='141420'>as</span> <span m='141550'>a</span> <span m='141610'>team.</span> <span m='143150'>And</span> <span m='143490'>it's</span> <span m='143680'>really</span> <span m='143850'>figuring</span> <span m='144090'>out</span> <span m='144930'>what</span> <span m='145200'>do</span> <span m='145440'>you</span> <span m='145680'>bring</span> <span m='145910'>to</span> <span m='146010'>the</span> <span m='146080'>table.</span> </p><p><span m='146650'>Because</span> <span m='147020'>engineers,</span> <span m='147560'>everyone</span> <span m='147790'>says,</span> <span m='147960'>oh,</span> <span m='148250'>you</span> <span m='148700'>know</span> <span m='148850'>how</span> <span m='148980'>to</span> <span m='149060'>do</span> <span m='149180'>math.</span> <span m='149435'>And</span> <span m='149690'>sure,</span> <span m='150360'>we</span> <span m='150460'>can</span> <span m='150600'>do</span> <span m='150730'>math.</span> <span m='151070'>But</span> <span m='151190'>there's</span> <span m='151430'>computer</span> <span m='151810'>programs</span> <span m='152330'>that</span> <span m='152530'>do</span> <span m='152660'>that</span> <span m='152870'>now.</span> </p><p><span m='153240'>And</span> <span m='153590'>in</span> <span m='153780'>reality</span> <span m='154190'>it's,</span> <span m='154610'>how</span> <span m='154740'>do</span> <span m='154890'>I</span> <span m='156050'>talk</span> <span m='156380'>to</span> <span m='156420'>you,</span> <span m='156600'>so that</span> <span m='156760'>we</span> <span m='157220'>understand</span> <span m='157520'>the</span> <span m='157580'>problems?</span> <span m='158580'>And</span> <span m='158750'>then</span> <span m='158870'>let's</span> <span m='159300'>put</span> <span m='159580'>our</span> <span m='159680'>brains</span> <span m='159970'>together</span> <span m='160110'>to</span> <span m='160580'>get</span> <span m='160780'>better</span> <span m='160970'>solution,</span> <span m='161060'>than</span> <span m='161440'>just</span> <span m='161760'>me</span> <span m='161910'>myself.</span> </p><p><span m='163350'>So</span> <span m='163900'>think</span> <span m='164070'>about</span> <span m='164550'>working</span> <span m='164770'>with</span> <span m='164890'>other</span> <span m='165060'>people.</span> <span m='165475'>And</span> <span m='165890'>when</span> <span m='166120'>you</span> <span m='166510'>put</span> <span m='166620'>that with</span> <span m='166820'>technical</span> <span m='167190'>skills,</span> <span m='167465'>you'll</span> <span m='167740'>have</span> <span m='167990'>a</span> <span m='168010'>really</span> <span m='168220'>great</span> <span m='168420'>career.</span> </p>","file":{"id":315640,"video_id":"2883617033001","name":"1552-Pamela-p-ChemicalEngineer","duration":169390,"thumbnail_url":null}});