Chemical engineers essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $94,350
- 2012 number of jobs: 32,190
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 6 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
Chemical engineers; what they do:
In the world of science, chemical engineers’ work has a creative artistry all its own. Chemical engineers devise processes for making myriad chemicals and products, including gasoline, plastics, cement, synthetic rubber, paper, pulp and more.
Chemical engineering careers involve using the principles and technology of several sciences: chemistry, physics, biology and engineering. Chemical engineering careers can also involve supervising production and designing equipment used in chemical plants for large-scale manufacturing.
Chemical engineers work in a variety of industries, everything from specialty chemicals to semiconductors to food processing. Chemical engineers’ research often focuses on safer technology for producing potentially dangerous chemicals.
A chemical engineer career involves gathering relevant information for individual projects from a variety of sources and using computers for entering data. A chemical engineer career may also involve writing software and setting up functions.
A chemical engineer must have excellent communication skills to collaborate and share highly technical information with other scientists, co-workers and supervisors.
Chemical engineers job duties:
- Designing and laying out equipment.
- Testing and monitoring how processes perform.
- Troubleshooting problems with manufacturing processes.
- Developing processes to separate liquids or gases into their components.
- Researching and developing new and better manufacturing processes.
- Devising safety procedures for working with dangerous chemicals.
Chemical engineers job titles:
- Project engineer
- Development engineer
- Process control engineer
- Engineering scientist
- Process engineer
- Refinery process engineer
- Design engineer
- Process engineer
Chemical Engineers Education, Certification and License Requirements
Candidates for entry-level chemical engineer jobs typically need a bachelor’s degree. Some schools offer five-year programs culminating in a bachelor and master’s degrees in chemical engineering. Many schools offer a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree, also named a Bachelor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering degree.
Licensing is recommended but not as prevalent among chemical engineers when compared to other engineering fields. Licensure generally requires a degree from an accredited program, relevant work experience and passing scores on Fundamentals of Engineering and Professional Engineering exams. A number of states require continuing education to maintain licensing.
Chemical engineers programs cover subjects such as:
- Process dynamics and control
- Organic chemistry
- Cellular and molecular biology
- Engineering science
- Differential equations
- Fluid mechanics
Career Advancement Opportunities
With a master’s or doctorate, a chemical engineer can work as a college instructor or in research and development. Increased training and experience enable a chemical engineer to take on more difficult projects and enjoy increased independence while developing products and solving problems. Chemical engineering careers also include management and sales positions.
Chemical Engineers Employment Outlook
Forecast: 6 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for Chemical engineers. A chemical engineer who keeps up on emerging technologies increases employment options. The field of chemical engineering is already migrating into such areas as nanotechnology, biotechnology and alternative energy.
Chemical Engineers Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $94,350
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $119,100
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $73,810
Chemical Engineers Major Employers
- Professional, scientific and technical services