Education Portal is now Study.com! We still offer the same great content and features, with more added every day, just under a new name. Learn more x

Chemical Engineer: Education Requirements and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a chemical engineer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties, licensure and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

View 2 Popular Schools »

Essential Information

Chemical engineers use chemical formulas and discoveries made in laboratories and apply them to much larger scale for commercial use. They are often tasked to accomplish this with safety, cost-efficiency and profit in mind. While entry-level positions require only a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, advanced training options including certificate programs are available and can increase hiring and income potential.

Required Education Bachelor's degree; master's or doctoral degree for advanced positions
Other Requirements Licensure preferred by some employers
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 4%*
Average Salary (2013) $104,340 annually*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Chemical Engineer Job Requirements

Education

Entry-level chemical engineering positions require a bachelor's degree. Some schools have additional specializations and certificate programs that last 2-4 years. A strong mathematical background in calculus, trigonometry, algebra, and geometry--along with a thorough understanding of science topics such as physics, chemistry and biology--is necessary to enter a chemical engineering program.

A master's degree is ideal for advanced or managerial vocations in chemical engineering. Chemical engineers interested in performing independent or scholarly research usually have doctorate degrees. At all education levels, chemical engineers have to strike a balance between independent research, laboratory assignments and classroom lectures. Some schools combine classroom instruction with practical work assignments, allowing chemical engineers to gain beneficial work experience before heading into the field.

Licensure

Chemical engineers rarely need to be licensed, but it can lead to enhanced job prospects. To obtain licensure, candidates must complete four years of work experience, pass a state examination and hold a degree from an accredited engineering program.

Individuals can take the first examination, the Fundamentals of Engineering, after graduation from an approved postsecondary degree program. Once work experience has been acquired as an engineer intern or engineer in training, a person can sit for the Principles and Practice of Engineering examination to obtain state licensure. Continuing education is necessary in many states to maintain and renew this license.

Chemical Engineer Career Information

Job Duties

An employer assigns chemical engineers to specific work projects. The nature of the project determines the work duties performed by the chemical engineer. After learning and understanding the purpose of a project, a chemical engineer begins to perform preliminary theoretical tests. Once a solid plan is created for manufacturing, a chemical engineer begins the production of test samples. These test samples are carefully assigned to subjects. The results of these tests are monitored and adjustments are made to formulas as needed. When the product has been fully tested, it is sent away for approval and the chemical engineer moves on to another project.

Work Environment

Chemical engineers are employed in many industries other than chemical manufacturing. Some are employed in biotechnology, business services, healthcare, food manufacturing, electronics and energy manufacturing. Due to the waste materials and other dangers that come along with chemical manufacturing, chemical engineers exercise extreme caution to ensure the safety of customers and other employees.

Advancement Options

After working through the training and internship level, a chemical engineer works independently or in small groups with other chemical engineers. As more experience is acquired, a chemical engineer is likely to be promoted to a position of supervision within the company. More assignments are given to experienced engineers, giving them more responsibility and better pay. Chemical engineers that dislike managerial roles might find themselves moving to a sales or teaching role in chemical engineering.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), chemical engineering jobs are expected to grow slower than the national average at 4% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). Additionally, the BLS reported that the average annual salary for chemical engineers was $104,340 as of May 2013.

Show me popular schools

Related to Chemical Engineer: Education Requirements and Career Information

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Chemical Engineer PhD Program Information

With a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Chemical Engineering, one can build their research and teaching skills. Coursework can...

Chemical Engineer Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a chemical engineer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as...

How to Become a Verification Engineer

Find out how to become a verification engineer. Research the education requirements, and learn about the experience you need to...

Construction Engineer: Job Description, Outlook and Duties

A construction engineer is a civil engineer that designs, manages and oversees projects within the construction industry. These...

Building Engineer Degree and Training Information

Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Petroleum Engineering
      • Systems Engineering
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Geological Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Systems Engineering
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Biological and Agricultural Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Nuclear Engineering
      • Ocean Engineering
      • Surveying
      • Systems Engineering
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Cornell University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Biological and Agricultural Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Engineering Mechanics
      • Engineering Physics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Nuclear Engineering
      • Systems Engineering
  • School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Louisville include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Syracuse University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Engineering Physics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics