Firstly, there is a mark to any engineer in any field. One has to have an astute, inquisitive and critical mindset that seeks to answer the “whys” and “hows” of the status quo. Why?? a given phenomenon occurs as it does, why?? it doesn't follow the other route, why?? the universe is as it is, why?? an apple falls from a tree! An engineer needs to ask why and ask why some more!! Every engineer also needs an appreciation of “how” to get to a particular destination. How many routes there are, which is better and again why it is better. An engineer’s profession is encapsulated in the why (the scientific bit) and how (engineering design bit) of the natural world. It is in inquiry that engineers discovered energy can be harnessed from algae; gasoline replacement can be obtained from sugar cane, rubber from a tree, and cloth from oil. Before academics, before equations, science and math the true mark of a chemical engineer is the ability to question norms, systems and conventions. A lecturer of mine used to say he always tries to find the shortest route possible that uses the least energy at anything he does. Weather it’s walking to a destination or cooking a meal, we all attempt to shorten the time to accomplish most of the things we are doing or to use less energy to accomplish the ends - which is why I believe EVERYONE is a chemical engineer in their own right!
The above paragraph seeks not to under estimate the necessity of academics in any aspiring young engineer’s journey. Appreciation (and quite a lot of it by my reckoning!) of the natural sciences is significantly important. To be a chemical engineer you have to have a strong affinity for Maths and Physics. Engineering (and pretty much any other profession really) is heavily dependent on math and mathematical manipulations. It may seem daunting at first but once you get the hang of it, it is easily noticeable that the math and science get easier as one progresses. And where there is a will, there is always a way anyways! Chemistry, Physics and Biology are also required depending on the field one eventually ends up in, and contrary to popular belief, these subjects aren't as difficult as decades of reckless mindset and social programming have made them!
The above two qualities position one on the path to becoming a successful process engineer. And the next stage is getting the relevant tertiary education. I ran a little research and I found out that of the 12 current Zimbabwean universities only 4 offer chemical engineering degrees and courses, albeit differently branded! This is testament to the immense opportunity for the profession in the country (Zimbabwe). The following information was obtained from the Zimbabwean university websites:
The National University of Science and Technology has got a 5 year program - B.Eng (Hons) in Chemical Engineering, which demands 3 A level Passes in Maths, Chemistry and one or more of the following Physics, Biology, and Computer Science. Chinhoyi has 2 other B.Tech Honors degrees in Fuels and Energy Enginering and Production Engineering that are both 4,5 and 5 year degrees respectively. Both demand "good A Level passes in Mathematics and any other subjects e.g. Physics, Chemistry or equivalents".
The Harare Institute of Technology also has 2, 4 year B.Tech Honors programs in Chemical and Process Systems Engineering and Polymer Technology. Both require at least 2 A Level passes in Chemistry and either Physics or Maths or a National certificate or diploma in either of the 2. Midlands State University also has its B.Sc Chemical Technology Honors Degree, a 4 year program which requires "A Level Chemistry and any other sciences." The discipline is offered in many other African Universities - University of Pretoria, University of Witwatersrand and Cape Peninsula University of Technology and many other institutions across the continent.
The top 5 schools of chemical engineering according to the QS World University rankings are Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California Berkley (UCB) (all in the USA), Imperial College London, University of Oxford and University of Cambridge (all in the UK)in that order. Imperial College London, a personal favorite, requires an A* in a Mathematics subject, A or A* in Chemistry and Grade A in other relevant subjects, including Physics, Biology, Further Mathematics, Economics and a minimum English language qualification of at least grade B at GCSE or a grade of 6.5 overall (with at least a grade of 6 in the Writing and Speaking modules) in the IELTS exam.
Evidently much of the information has been condensed as I cannot illustrate all university requirements across the board in a single installment. However, input and comments are more than welcome on what else a process engineer needs to have, what else is required in the character of an engineer, the academics necessary, and any other input you might have! Feel free to join in the discussion!