As a process engineer, there are a variety of different engineering disciplines you may choose to specialize in. Though process engineers are most closely associated with chemical engineering, your skills are also needed in other industries like manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and food processing. Your primary responsibility is to design, implement and improve the processes and procedures employed at your company.
Your day to day work can involve everything from research and development to testing and analyzing, with the end goal of creating more efficient procedures. You often oversee operations and maintenance, keeping an eye out for opportunities to improve function and efficiency. As such, process engineers are an essential component for maintaining quality control.
As a process engineer, you will work full-time in a plant or manufacturing facility, though some process engineer jobs may require you to work out of an office. Though process engineering jobs are most frequently associated with chemical engineering, you may choose to work in other disciplines such as mechanical engineering or industrial engineering. You may work in industries such as chemical, oil and gas, mineral processing, food production, pharmaceuticals, biotech or even software development.
Entry-level salaries for process engineer jobs tend to be between $50,000 and $60,000 in most markets across Canada. That said, the average process engineer salary in Canada hovers around $70,000. With the right education, skills and experience, you will find you can make as high as six figures.
As is the case with many engineering jobs, the demand for process engineers in highest in cities with a strong manufacturing presence. Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver all offer a wealth of opportunities and competitive salaries to match.
Process engineers research, design,
As a process engineer, there are plenty of opportunities for you across Canada. Like most engineering professionals, your skills are in high demand from coast to coast. Cities with a strong manufacturing presence, such as Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto will have the strongest demand and the most process engineer jobs.
If you're looking for work as a process engineer, some of the fields or specialties you may want to consider include: chemical, oil and gas, mineral processing, food production, pharmaceutical, biotech and software development.
As a process engineer you need training in your engineering discipline, but above and beyond that, you are a problem solver. You have an inquiring mind and are excellent at analyzing processes and pinpointing areas for improvement.
You evaluate, design, maintain and improve various systems. You are adept at communicating your ideas, not only to management but to colleagues who must carry out the processes and procedures that you design.
You may also be asked to head up implementation efforts or sell others (such as clients or executives) on the modifications and new approaches that you suggest.
To become a process engineer, you must have a bachelor's degree in chemical or another engineering discipline related to the field you plan to work in. A masters or PhD degree is often required or preferred by many employers, as well. Depending on the role, co-op placement or entry-level work is also often required.
As engineering is a regulated field in Canada, you must also be licensed in the province or territory you're working in. In most provinces, this is a P.Eng. To obtain it you must complete an undergraduate degree in your field of choice, complete several years of on-the-job work and pass an official licensing exam.
Process engineers often navigate into senior engineering roles. If you have strong leadership capabilities, supervisory or management positions are also a possibility. Some management positions that are a natural progression for you include: plant manager, operations manager or production manager. Keep in mind that these roles typically require you to have a significant amount of experience.
As your specialty is typically in chemical engineering or manufacturing, you can also opt to pursue various opportunities in these fields. Once you've honed your skills, you may also be able to work independently as a consultant.