Process Engineer Vs. Chemical Engineer

Process engineers can focus on making specific chemicals or materials but they may also perform roles similar to the work chemical engineers do to develop methods of production. Read on to learn more about these professions and how they compare.

View popular schools

Comparing Process Engineers to Chemical Engineers

Process engineers can work within the field of chemical engineering or may assume roles related to mechanical engineering or other engineering fields. Chemical engineers prioritize the way that products are made and create production systems. The educational requirements for these occupations are similar and chemical and process engineers earn comparable salaries.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)**
Process Engineers Bachelor's degree $71,423 8% (chemical engineers)
Chemical Engineers Bachelor's degree $72,977 8%

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

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
  • Biological and Agricultural Engineering
  • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
  • Ceramic Sciences
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Drafting and Design Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
  • Engineering - Architectural
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Engineering Physics
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Forest Engineering
  • Geological Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Materials Engineering
  • Math
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metallurgical Engineering
  • Mining Engineering
  • Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Plastics Engineering
  • Surveying
  • Systems Engineering
  • Textile Technologies

Responsibilities of Process Engineers vs. Chemical Engineers

Process engineers and chemical engineers are engineering professionals who typically focus more on how products are made. Process engineers who work in the chemical engineering field specifically concentrate on methods of producing chemicals, such as oxidation. Process engineers can also work in other fields and specialize in determining the best way to produce specific products. Chemical engineers help determine how to safely use chemicals to produce or process goods and are responsible for ensuring that safety standards are in place and are followed. When there are specific issues with the method of production that's in place they will assess the issues and determine how to resolve them by changing production strategies by doing things such as moving equipment or introducing new equipment.

Process Engineers

Process engineers can work in a number of engineering fields, so the specific training requirements may vary based on their employer. Strong computer skills are consistently required, as well as training on computer design software. While some roles may favor those who have a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, other process engineering positions may require a bachelor's degree in a field such as mechanical engineering. Process engineers may be responsible for specializing in producing chemicals by oxidation while others may concentrate on operational procedures and determining how to improve production methods.

Job responsibilities of a process engineer include:

  • Developing design plans
  • Evaluating production methods
  • Identifying ways to improve production
  • Gathering and analyzing data
  • Producing materials such as plastic

Chemical Engineers

Chemical engineers are involved with using chemicals to process or produce products. There are many areas of specialization that chemical engineers can consider pursuing, such as biological engineering. It's most common for these professionals to be employed by manufacturing companies or to work in scientific research. Chemical engineers may also be required to travel as part of their duties; the amount of travel may vary based on their employer. With a Professional Engineer (PE) license and experience it's possible for chemical engineers to advance to roles in sales or management.

Job responsibilities of a chemical engineer include:

  • Evaluating existing production methods
  • Researching ways to improve production
  • Developing design plans for equipment used to process goods
  • Implementing safety procedures
  • Preparing budgets

Related Careers

Other options for those considering a career as a process engineer or chemical engineer include becoming a materials engineer or an industrial engineer. Some duties are comparable and the training and skills required for these professions are similar to the requirements for process and chemical engineers.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?