Nigeria is blessed with various scientific professions and industries that have helped to develop human living. Chemical engineering is an example of such a profession. Chemical engineering is a combination of chemistry and engineering, two core sciences that deal with chemical plant design and the use of raw materials to create various products. In this article, we wish to discuss the work tasks of a chemical engineer in Nigeria.
How to Start a Career in Chemical Engineering
There are many career options for chemist graduates in the field of chemical engineering, and accordingly, many chemical engineering enthusiasts are hoping to join the bandwagon.
If you wish to walk down this career path or other chemist careers in Nigeria, you must start nursing your ambitions during your junior secondary class. It would be best to focus on subjects like integrated science, mathematics, introductory technology and other related modules at this level.
As soon as you cross to the senior arm of your secondary class, your focus must be on core science subjects like physics, chemistry, biology, and further mathematics.
These modules will prepare you adequately for your next level of education at the university. By the end of the three years secondary class, you must apply to study chemical engineering at any university that offers the course.
You can also enrol in an advanced diploma programme. An advanced diploma programme will help you solidify your secondary school knowledge.
Your five-year stay at the university will upgrade your knowledge and experience base. It will also expose you to rudiments of chemical research and industrial chemistry.
As a general rule, you must ensure that your Grade Point Average (GPA) stays at the upper level throughout your stay on campus, as a lower grade after graduation may prove detrimental.
Your GPA and academic honours at the end of the five-year degree programme will determine many things when you start looking for available jobs for chemistry graduates in Nigeria.
Your chances are higher for further studies if your GPA is at the upper level by end of your Bachelor of Engineering degree programme.
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Typically, you will be awarded a Bachelor's degree at the end of any university's five-year degree course.
In some institutions, you need a bachelor of science degree or bachelor of education to start a post-graduate degree programme in chemical engineering. If you wish to be considered for available jobs for chemistry graduates in Nigeria, you must graduate with at least a second class upper.
Most organizations do not accept applicants with a grade or GPA within the second class lower level.
A candidate with second class lower has lesser chances in the labour market when compared with someone with a second class upper and above.
After five years, when you're done at the university, you can proceed with your academic honours to various industries or develop yourself through postgraduate studies like Masters or PhD. The prerequisite for postgraduate studies like Masters or PhD differs from country to country.
In Nigeria, you need a minimum of second class upper or second class lower in some cases to be considered for Masters, PhD, or other postgraduate courses by tertiary.
In some countries like Argentina, you need a Licenciado, Titulo, or Diplome in some other regions to be considered for postgraduate studies. The Licenciado, Diplome, or Titulo is equivalent to a Bachelor's degree in most cases. However, the duration of Licenciado, Diplome, or Titulo varies for each university.
If you do not have a diplome, Licenciado, or Titulo, you can opt-in for a one-year professional diploma programme that will introduce you to the rudiments of chemical engineering. If you wish to boost your portfolio, you can also enrol in a higher institution's one-year diploma programme where you will cover modules in research and other related courses.
In addition to your academic honours, Masters, PhD, or other qualifications, there are specific skills that an average chemical engineer or whoever wishes to start a career in chemical engineering must possess to be productive. Most entry-level positions require someone versatile and resilient.
These skills are particularly crucial for an engineer whose work requires adopting new methods and processes every time. You also need logical thinking and patience to thrive on the job.
The reason is that chemical engineers have to study raw materials for many years and look for different ways of utilizing them before concluding. As such, anyone looking for entry positions must be equipped with adequate skills and a broad knowledge base if they wish to be considered.
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Job Task Description of a Chemical Engineer
A chemical engineer has a diverse set of roles and responsibilities depending on the area or sector that they find themselves in. However, there are some common roles and duties that span every industry.
First and foremost, chemical engineers are responsible for using software and other computer tools to test product efficacy and safety in various firms. They are also responsible for doing cutting-edge research and developing new processes for other experts in the field.
Apart from helping in producing chemicals, chemical engineers also work with various separation techniques to create new raw materials. They are also involved in training other experts in the workplace on safety procedures.
In some instances, these professionals help create training modules and budgets to procure quality grade equipment. No matter the role chemical engineers find themselves in, it is pertinent to note that experience and having some certain skill set helps to ease the task.
Read about working in the field of research as a chemistry graduate.
Tips to Become Better as a Chemical Engineer
Like most chemist careers in Nigeria, working among these professionals is fulfilling but getting considered at interviews and becoming good at it is not a day's job.
The first tip to getting considered and becoming good in chemical engineering is strengthening your knowledge base and grade irrespective of the number of degrees you possess. Many students think that having a Titulo, Licenciado, Masters, or PhD is enough. They are oblivious of the process and demands of entry positions.
As a start, you must aim for a high grade in your subjects while in school if you wish to be considered for various jobs. Doing this requires that you have a good study process and design.
A helpful recommendation is to hire a private tutor who will help you get a high grade or GPA and develop and help you design a good study technique using the appropriate modules. Apart from developing your credentials, the tutor will also help you get a minimum of the second class upper.
You can hire private tutors with experience and various qualifications and degrees on Superprof. These honours range from advanced Diplome, Titulo, Licenciado, Masters to PhD. It's a platform that students use to connect with experts in various fields.
The process of getting a tutor on the platform is easy. Search for chemistry teachers and read through their profiles. Their profiles usually contain their biodata, credentials, location, training modules, and fees or rates per hour.
As soon as you select a preferred tutor, you can set up a trial class where the tutor will assess your level and draw up different training modules for you. Aside from designing training modules, you can also determine your compatibility with the tutor through the trial session. This trial class is always free!
If you're ready to go, the last part of the hiring process is to pay teaching fees. The fee ranges from NGN5000 to NGN 7000 per hour. You can even find tutors that charge as little as NGN 4000 per hour.
The price is determined by the teaching mode, programme duration, training modules, and teacher's credentials. Remember that learning to boost your GPA is crucial when looking for chemistry graduate jobs in Nigeria. In fact, it is safe to say that your GPA might determine your chances out there.
The platform affords you a convenient way to learn chemistry and get a good grade or GPA. You can choose to learn online or offline. Your study design and preference will determine the best learning mode. Another tip for becoming better in chemical engineering is to ask questions.
Many students fail to ask questions that matter during the learning stage. These lapses will show when it comes to industrial and advanced applications. Remember that a minimum of second class upper or lower is mandatory for entry positions in this niche.
Learn more on places a chemistry graduate can work in Nigeria.
Employment Opportunities for Chemical Engineers
There are several career options for chemist graduates in Nigeria. However, chemical engineers even have more options than other experts in their niche. You can choose to work in various public and private industries due to the versatile nature of this engineering field.
One of the most common jobs available to chemical engineering graduates is working in the energy and food or research industries.
These energy industries need a specialist that can come up with new products using raw materials from petroleum.
Apart from working in energy industries, you can also ply your trade-in private companies that deal with products like food or large-scale toiletries production. Chemical engineers are needed in various food production companies to apply the latest advanced technology to food safety.
Apart from energy and food or research industries, other common types of jobs available to chemical engineering graduates are to find positions in large-scale plastic and cloth factories.
Making plastics or other related products requires mixing different chemicals, which is the forte of these experts.
People who have a drink business or water plant also require the services of these professionals. Making pure and safe water on a large scale requires many chemical processes and technology, which is one of the specialities of this niche.
Pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria also need the services of these experts in ensuring drug safety and development.
Other careers for chemistry graduates in this niche include working in waste recycling firms and environmental protection agencies. The salary structure of people working in these firms outweighs what can be obtained in other sectors.
You can also start a tutorial business, advanced diploma programme, or opt to teach in secondary schools or tertiary institutions.
The teaching business has a varying salary structure, but it has a lot of fulfilment. Remember that getting an entry position in most of these firms requires several honours at the secondary and university level in most cases. Other places that do not require school honours will prefer candidates with specific skill sets. However, having both skills and school honours will increase your chances in most firms.
To sum it up, there are numerous chemistry graduate jobs in Nigeria, but chemical engineering stands out due to its versatility.
Many students are also lured into this niche or other careers for chemistry graduates because of the huge salary prospect, especially those working in the energy or food industries. However, getting to this stage takes time and years.
Develop yourself, get a high grade or GPA and fill your time with activities that'll enhance your portfolio.
For further studies, check these articles on Superprof:
The platform that connects tutors and students