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Agriculture Career of the Month:
Chemical Engineer

ADMEvery day, the 30,000 people of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) turn crops into renewable products that meet the demands of a growing world. And every month, ADM is proud to provide a glimpse into the wide variety of careers that a college education can prepare you for in the agricultural field.

This month, we take a look at how to get started in a chemical engineering career.

What's the Job Description?
One Chemical Engineer at ADM described the position for us: “Pursuing a career in engineering allows an individual to use highly specialized educational training on a daily basis. Engineers are trained to be experts in math and science, but, most importantly, they are trained to be exceptional problem solvers.”

Entry-level Chemical Engineers’ duties include managing process operations, specifically: extractions, separations, isolations, reactions and recoveries on various agricultural feed stocks. The job requires engineers to troubleshoot and develop new processes to improve these extractions, separation, isolations, reactions and recoveries.

How Much Can I Make?
An entry-level Chemical Engineer will make around $60,000 per year.

What's the Career Path Like?
There are plenty of diverse opportunities available as a Chemical Engineer within ADM. Traditionally, new employees start as Production Assistants and move on to become Process Engineers. From there, you can either move into plant management or into a design position, and that's not all. The Chemical Engineer we spoke to said "With [an] effort to explore other interests, and perhaps obtain additional needed training, chemical engineers can move into almost any area in business, engineering, or research."

In her case, that meant moving from her work in the Process Development group to the business world. "My career path with ADM followed the traditional path through process engineering; after five years ... I moved into plant management. With the help of my colleagues and challenging projects, I was able to successfully transition from the academic world of engineering to the industrial world of applying these learned skills. (ADM also actively supported the development of my leadership skills through team projects and discretionary opportunities.) Having an interest in business-based roles, I went back [to school] for my MBA and, I am now managing the procurement of chemicals."

What Are the Job Requirements?
Ideally, you'll possess a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Agricultural Engineering or closely related engineering degree, with a very strong background in chemistry. Previous laboratory or pilot plant work experience is preferred but not essential, and production experience is a plus. In addition, experience with chromatography, ion exchange, solvent extractions, liquid/liquid extractions and working with reactors is preferred, and successful candidates must have the ability to work independently as well as in a team. ADM offers relocation assistance for chemical engineering hires, too.

Find out more about working at ADM.

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