Process Engineer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Process Engineer, or Manufacturing Process Engineer, designs and implements systems and equipment procedures used manufacturing facilities. Their main duties include testing and monitoring equipment, updating current system processes and conducting risk assessments.

 

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Process Engineer duties and responsibilities

A job description for a Process Engineer may contain the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Conducting research to develop new and improved processes for manufacturing
  • Establishing safety procedures for individuals working with dangerous chemicals
  • Developing methods for separating components of gases and liquids or for generating electrical currents 
  • Designing and planning equipment layout
  • Conducting tests and monitoring the process performance throughout production
  • Troubleshooting problems associated with manufacturing processes
  • Evaluating processes and equipment to ensure compliance with environmental and safety regulations
  • Estimating production costs

 

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What does a Process Engineer do?

Process Engineers work in the manufacturing industry to build and oversee the design and production of a facility’s processes. They’ll regularly meet with production managers to determine what their current processes consist of and will collaborate with them to make adjustments accordingly. They’ll also perform risk assessments to determine what kind of improvements could be made to keep the facility running smoothly and efficiently. 

Process Engineers are also responsible for reviewing safety and quality standards to ensure the facility is properly meeting these guidelines. They’ll use these guidelines to design and test their own process upgrades and new systems to see if they meet quality standards and regulations. Process Engineers will then update Product Managers of any changes by providing them with operating instructions and process documents with instructions and details listed.

 

Process Engineer skills and qualifications

A job description for a Process Engineer may contain the following skills and qualifications requirements: 

  • Analytical skills for troubleshooting designs not working as planned, asking the right questions and finding answers that work
  • Ingenuity for using the broad concepts of chemical engineering  and applying them to address specific production problems
  • Interpersonal skills in developing positive working relationships with other employees working with the production process
  • Math skills for using the principals of advanced math topics including troubleshooting their work, calculus for analysis and design

 

Process Engineer salary expectations

A Process Engineer makes an average of $88,423 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location. 

 

Process Engineer education and training requirements 

A Process Engineer requires a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or a similar field. These programs typically take four years to complete and include field, classroom and laboratory studies. Some colleges offer five-year engineering programs that result in the student graduating with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Graduate degrees, including a Ph.D., allow Engineers to work in development and research. 

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) accredits engineering programs, including chemical engineering programs such as biology, chemistry and physics. These programs include applying the sciences to analysis, design and control of biological, chemical and physical processes.

 

Process Engineer experience requirements

Some universities and colleges offer cooperative programs and internships in partnership with an industry where students can gain practical experience while completing their degree. 

Entry-level Engineers are generally supervised by experienced Engineers with larger companies occasionally offering additional formal training via classroom course work or seminars. Junior Engineers with experience and knowledge can move on to more challenging projects with greater independence to make decisions, solve problems and develop designs. 

 

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Frequently asked questions about Process Engineers

 

Who does a Process Engineer report to?

Process Engineers will typically report to Production Managers with updates on their process plans and with ideas for ways to improve the manufacturing facilities’ efficiencies. Production Managers will thoroughly review the Process Engineers’ plans and will provide them with valuable feedback and input that the Process Engineer will use to update their plans accordingly. 

After new plans are implemented by facility workers, the Process Engineer will monitor its progress and will report and present it to the Production Manager. The Production Manager may relay this information to key stakeholders or the Process Engineer may be responsible for reporting to the stakeholders and presenting on their process’ success on their own with the Production Manager’s guidance.

 

What settings do Process Engineers typically work in?

Process Engineers can work in a wide variety of settings depending on the company they work for and the responsibilities they’re assigned that day. They may spend a majority of their time on the factory floor, walking around monitoring the equipment wearing safety equipment, like hard hats, protective shoes and vests. They’ll inspect the efficiencies of the equipment and will note any improvements to make. 

After spending time in the factory or plant, the Process Engineer will return to their desk to create drafts of new processes and techniques for workers to follow to improve the safety, efficiency and productivity of the factory and its employees. 

 

Do Process Engineers have different responsibilities in different industries?

Process Engineers can work in many different industries, where they’ll typically hold similar responsibilities of developing processes to improve the performances of factories, plants and workers. Many of them work in manufacturing facilities, helping create processes to enhance the safety and usage of tools used to make products. Others will work in water treatment facilities to determine the safety of various chemicals located in the water within the factory. 

Some serve in the food and beverage industry to build processes that help workers better evaluate the safety and nutritional value that goes into creating foods and drinks. There are also Process Engineers who work in environmentally friendly facilities, finding ways to boost their efficiency and eco-friendly processes.

 

What makes a good Process Engineer?

Many great Process Engineers should have strong mathematical abilities to correctly input and calculate various data points to build accurate systems and processes. They should also have knowledge of and experience using different complex machinery since they oversee and cultivate ways to improve the usage of them. Strong verbal and written communication abilities are also needed in the ideal candidate to create and present reports on the success of their processes and strategies.

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