How to Become a Chemical Engineer

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As human population continues to grow and the environmental impact of chemicals and chemical manufacturing processes becomes a major concern, chemical engineers will be consulted for guidance on how to best meet the needs of society without causing undue damage to the planet. Chemical engineers are central to the manufacturing processes of a myriad of products that fulfill our daily needs, such as clothing, food, medicines and paper products.


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What does a chemical engineer do?

Chemical engineers combine the principles of physics, engineering, chemistry and mathematics to design chemical manufacturing processes and equipment. They are responsible for understanding the effects of chemical manufacturing on humans and the environment and supervise the testing of chemicals, biochemicals and chemical manufacturing processes.


Chemical engineers are a key component in the manufacturing of numerous products, including chemicals, gasoline, plastics, electronics, clothing, paper products, food and pharmaceuticals. Click here to find out how to become a chemical engineer.

What kind of training does a chemical engineer need?

Most entry-level chemical engineering jobs require a bachelor degree in chemical engineering. Students who plan to provide services to the public will need to select a chemical engineering program that has been approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET) in order to be eligible for licensure.

Baccalaureate-level chemical engineering degree programs emphasize math and science courses, particularly chemistry, physics, biochemistry and related subjects. Chemical engineering programs will also include specialized courses in chemical engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. Upon graduation, the first step in the licensing process can be completed by passing the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). The second exam, Principles and Practice of Engineering, can be taken after individual state licensing requirements are met, which generally include completing an ABET-approved degree program and four years of work experience in the field.

Chemical engineers may choose to advance their careers by obtaining specialty certifications or obtaining a master or doctorate degree in chemical engineering specialties, such as biochemical engineering, polymers and polymer processing, materials engineering, thermodynamics, plastics and resins, fertilizers and pesticides, biotechnology or pollution control. Click here to get a list of programs to get your degree in chemical engineering online.

What are the prospects for a career as a chemical engineer?

In 2006, there were approximately 30,000 chemical engineers working in the United States. This number is expected to grow by 8% by the year 2016, with the most promising job prospects in the fields of biotechnology, nanotechnology, energy research and pharmaceuticals. (1) Click here for a list of online chemical engineering degree programs.

How much do chemical engineers make?

Entry-level chemical engineer salary varies depending on geographical location, level of education and experience, and additional certifications obtained. The base range of salary for chemical engineers is $51,327 to $71,097, with a median salary of $59,500 to $64,900, depending on geographical region.

Students who are drawn to chemistry and would enjoy improving manufacturing processes and finding new ways to solve problems and enhance production for items that people need and use every day will find a career in chemical engineering a rewarding choice. Click here to find your path to a chemical engineering career.

Joshua T Osborne

Founder/CEO – Mr. & Mrs. Leads

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