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Battle of The Bachelor’s STEMinists: civil vs chemical engineering, explained

Sogand and Chelsie

It’s no secret that we’ve been crushing on bachelor Matt Agnew’s epic astrophysics-turned-data-science career since the Ten series started, but it’s the female contestants with similarly impressive STEM gigs that we’ve been most stoked on.

Finance boss Danush went home without a rose weeks ago, so our only chance of STEM babies is if one of the two engineers – Sogand or Chelsie – win over Matt’s heart (and brain).

With Chelsie McLeod in chemical engineering and Sogand Mohtat in civil, we thought it was a good opportunity to hash out the ins and outs of each specialisation so you can see which engineering pathway is your academic match.

Warning: falling in love with both is totally possible.

Job description

Chemical engineers like Chelsie use their extensive knowledge of chemicals to evaluate, asses and refine familiar products – think: food, drink and fuel – as well as critique and improve production and manufacturing processes.

Since graduating in 2014 Chelsie has landed various engineering roles within the water industry. Credit: Ten

As a civil engineer Sogand would be concerned with production intricacies too, yet she’d be more focused on infrastructure and construction projects. On her daily to-do list would be ensuring regulations for building plans are adhered to, securing permits, developing budgets and designing large scale builds such as tunnels, septic systems, airports.

After graduating Sogand worked as a project co-ordinator at mining company Thiess and then as a civil engineer at construction contractor Multiplex. Image: Ten

Work environment

The lab is a chemical engineer’s second home! They spend stacks of time hanging out in laboratories when they’re not working on office-based research work.

Civil engineers on the other put in a lot of hours on-site, travelling to project locations to inspect builds in person. We’re guessing Sogand has worn a couple of hard hats in her time, although doing admin work in the office is also pretty standard too.

RELATED: An astronomy expert explains how the Bachelor’s research will help us discover new planets

Study options

University degrees are usually prerequisites across both industries, although specialisations can be done via one of two paths – within a bachelor of science or as part of a general engineering degree.

Chelsie went down the science route and completed a Bachelor of Science (Chemical Engineering) at The University of Melbourne before smashing out a Masters of Chemical Engineering there too.

Sogand chose a classic Bachelor of Engineering (Civil Engineering) at the University of Sydney.

Salary expectations

According to PayScale, the annual pay for both careers is pretty similar. A chemical engineer might earn anything from AU$50K – AU$121K, while civil engineers sit somewhere around the AU$52K – AU$111K mark.

Career inspiration

Apart from Chelsie and Sogand’s killer resumes, there are a stack of young, inspirational chemical and civil engineers carving our incredible career trajectories. Among our favourites are Jennifer Shook, whose chemical engineering degree led to an unexpected job at a bank and Maria Antwan, who’s running her own project management company.

Still can’t work out which engineering career to give a rose to? Now you know how Matt feels.

Learn more about Bachelor Matt and his impressive resume here.

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