Process Engineer Vs. Process Control Engineer

Nov 30, 2017

Though process and control engineers are in similar industries, and their degree requirements and career outlooks are the same, their salaries and responsibilities differ. We explore each, highlights these key similarities and differences.

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Comparing Process Engineers to Process Control Engineers

Process engineers and process control engineers work in manufacturing, but their goals are quite different. In fact, readers will see that their salaries and duties differ significantly.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Process Engineers Bachelor's Degree $71,466 8% (Chemical Engineers)
Process Control Engineers Bachelor's Degree $85,989 8% (Chemical Engineers)

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Process Engineers vs. Process Control Engineers

Process engineers work with chemicals to develop new goods. Process control engineers, however, design the systems that operate parts of manufacturing processes. Both may deal with hazardous working conditions related to the raw materials and industrial machines, and both may work with computers. Additionally, both are responsible for keeping projects within budget and on schedule.

Process Engineers

Process engineers design and complete experiments that produce new fuels, medicines, and even paper. These engineers specialize in chemical processes, such as polymerization, which creates new kinds of synthetic rubber. They use chemistry and physics to analyze the data from the studies, as well as document the processes for future manufacturing. Process engineers estimate how much large-scale production and raw materials will cost. They may also have a hand in deciding how to lay out the equipment, working alongside manufacturing designers. Additionally, the task of devising a way to deal with byproducts in an environmentally sound way falls to these professionals.

Job responsibilities of a process engineer include:

  • Gathering or creating study samples for experiments
  • Developing safety procedures that protect employees and the environment from hazardous materials
  • Creating new mixtures and processes that can improve the product and manufacturing rates
  • Maintaining and testing the equipment to keep it calibrated and in working order

Process Control Engineers

Process control engineers meet with clients or company leaders to determine the specifications of a project related to process control technology. This can include the equipment, computers, and any control valves used in industry settings, which these engineers bring together to increase efficiency. To estimate the cost of the project, they develop a list of materials and labor. They also use computer-aided design (CAD) software to draw schematics of the electrical control systems and control panels. Once the project plan is complete, process engineers integrate and test the system to ensure it works as planned. Lastly, they may show employees how to operate the new system.

Job responsibilities of a process control engineer include:

  • Making operator interfaces more intuitive, including buttons that make part of the process happen
  • Writing proposals for improvements and updates to control system equipment and software
  • Creating standard operating procedures to keep employees safe
  • Documenting system maintenance, including security updates

Related Careers

Because process engineers and nuclear engineers both develop processes for dealing with chemicals, you may want to research the latter if a position as a process engineer intrigues you. If, however, a career as a process control engineer seems exciting, you could explore a position as an electrical engineer, since both work with designing power systems.

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