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How to get a chemical engineer job in the pharmaceutical industry

The pharmaceutical industry in the UK is strong with a large number of companies working on treatments for diseases such as cancer, respiratory disorders and cardiovascular disease. There is a wide range of engineering skill sets utilised in the pharmaceutical industry ranging from hands on mechanical engineering through to compliance and quality engineering.

Why work in pharmaceuticals?

It offers the opportunity to tackle some of the world’s most serious diseases.

Around one in five of the world’s top medicines were discovered and developed in Britain – more than any other country other than the US, and as much the whole of the rest of Europe combined.

The Chemical, Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences are rapidly developing fields within in the sciences. They are also significant industries and employment sectors worldwide. Career opportunities and occupations in this sector span from how to make medicines and control the quality of those medicines, to the research and development of new drugs and therapies. 

What skills do I need to get a chemical engineering job?

You’ll normally need an Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) or Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) accredited BEng degree in chemical, process or biochemical engineering.

If you have a degree in a different branch of engineering, or a related subject like chemistry or polymer science, a postgraduate qualification in chemical or process engineering may increase your chances of finding work.

You could also take an integrated master’s qualification, like an MEng, to prepare you for further postgraduate study like a PhD or EngD.

Some universities offer a foundation year for people without qualifications in maths and science. 

If you are interested in chasing down a career in this sector but haven’t got experience in the right subjects, you might want to consider engineering courses to give you the springboard you need.

How do I gain chemical engineering experience?

Getting valid placement experience is integral to your career as a chemical engineer in pharmaceuticals. So if you are currently studying at a university, get in touch with your career adviser as soon as possible.

A placement is also a great opportunity to get to know an organisation better than you could through simply reading company literature. This will give you a good basis from which to figure out whether it’s the sort of business you could work for on a long-term basis – and whether you feel the area of engineering and kind of role are right for you. It also gives employers a chance to get to know you better. Many graduate recruiters like to hire students who perform well on their placements and some may even offer sponsorship to help you complete your degree.

Is it chemical engineering you want to study? Not sure which chemical course is for you? Why not contact us and find out more about the chemical engineering course we have at London TFE.

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