Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


Five year job forecast


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

What's it like?

You would work with chemical engineers on the research, development and manufacture of products such as plastics, medicines, foods, textiles and fuel.

Depending on which part of a plant you work in, you would:

  • Help to design, build or install production plant equipment
  • Carry out laboratory experiments to develop new products
  • Check production processes, using measuring and control instruments
  • Record data and make adjustments to machinery
  • Do maintenance checks and make repairs
  • Make sure safety procedures are followed
  • Do quality control checks.

With experience, you could work as a shift manager and supervise chemical plant process workers.

Working conditions


You would normally work between 37 and 40 hours a week. In research and development, you might work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, with occasional overtime. In processing and manufacturing, you might work on a shift system that includes weekends, evenings and nights.


You could be based in a laboratory, office or process plant.


In the mineral processing or oil exploration industries, you might be based in remote parts of the world for the duration of a contract.

UK employment status





Self employed


Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Developing a plan
  • Filtering
  • Attention to detail
  • Analysing
  • Working with technology
  • Verbal communication
  • Researching
  • Working with numbers
  • Problem solving
  • Evaluating

Build your skills

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


A Modern Apprenticeship with a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Engineering (SVQ level 3/4), Oil and Gas Production (SVQ level 3) or Gas Industry (SVQ level 2/3) such as:

  • Process Operations Modern Apprenticeship
  • Oil & Gas Production Modern Apprenticeship
  • Engineering Modern Apprenticeship

A Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) such as Engineering, Applied Chemistry or Engineering technologies to enter as a trainee.

Entry requirements vary but many employers ask for qualifications at SCQF levels 4 to 6 when applying to a Modern Apprenticeship.

You can enter some National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF 2 to 6) with no formal qualifications but most courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications. 

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by many courses and employers)
  • Science subjects in particular chemistry, physics (required by many courses and employers)
  • Technologies subjects (required by many courses and employers)
  • English
  • Engineering science

Helpful to have

Qualifications that demonstrate understanding and experience of the industry such as Skills for Work Engineering Skills (SCQF level 5).

Once in a job with further training, you could qualify as a chemical engineer. Training could include a Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or degree (SCQF level 9/10) in chemical engineering, applied chemistry or engineering technologies.