Entry-Level Chemical Engineering Career Options
Chemical engineering is a field that overlaps several other areas that involve chemistry and/or engineering, and therefore, provides several different kinds of entry-level positions. These positions generally apply concepts from chemical engineering to their work and do not require prior work experience, but vary greatly in their specific job duties. Explore a few of these entry-level chemical engineering jobs below.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)*|
|Chemists and Materials Scientists||$75,420||7%|
|Biochemists and Biophysicists||$82,180||11%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Information for Entry-Level Chemical Engineering Jobs
Chemical engineers are not required to have previous work experience in a related occupation or any on-the-job training. These engineers specialize in using the life sciences, especially chemistry, to improve the production processes of drugs, food, chemicals and more by designing and conducting complex experiments. These experiments may be used to address a particular problem, evaluate equipment or develop better manufacturing procedures and ensure that everything complies with current safety regulations. Chemical engineers need at least a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering or a related field, and although it is not required, internship or other work experience may be helpful.
Chemical technicians do not need prior work experience, but they do undergo some moderate-term on-the-job training to learn their job duties. These technicians help chemists and chemical engineers conduct their research and experiments on chemicals, new drugs and other products by setting up lab equipment and mixing solutions. They also examine chemical processes, help analyze data from experiments and present their findings in technical reports. In addition to the on-the-job training, chemical technicians must hold an associate's degree in chemical technology or another applied science.
Chemists and Materials Scientists
Chemists and materials scientists are not required to have related work experience or on-the-job training to perform their job. Similar to chemical engineers, these scientists help create and improve various products, but they focus on studying the chemical properties of the substances of the products. They conduct research projects and test the quality of materials, present their findings in reports and often train other scientists and technicians on proper laboratory procedures. Chemists and materials scientists must have at least a bachelor's degree in chemistry, materials science and engineering or a related field, but many positions require a master's or doctoral degree.
Materials engineers do not need prior related work experience or on-the-job training to develop and test materials. They examine a wide range of materials to find the right ones with specific chemical and mechanical properties for a particular project or product. This requires them to figure out why materials may be deteriorating or malfunctioning and design new methods for processing materials. Afterwards, they prepare detailed reports with their results, the estimated costs of a project and any environmental impact the project may have. Materials engineers need a bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering or a related engineering field, such as chemical engineering. Like in other engineering positions, experience is not required but may be beneficial.
Biochemists and Biophysicists
Biochemists and biophysicists also do not require related work experience or on-the-job training. These scientists use chemistry to study and manipulate different biological processes to develop better drugs, genetically modified crops, biofuels and other products to help people and the environment. This requires them to conduct research projects, isolate molecules and present their findings in research papers and technical reports. These professionals usually need a Ph.D. in biochemistry, chemistry, biology or engineering for research jobs, but some entry-level positions may only require a bachelor's or master's degree.