Jobs, Career, Salary and Education Information (2022)

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, physics, and math to solve problems that involve the use of fuel, drugs, food, and many other products.

Work Environment: Chemical engineers work mostly in offices or laboratories. They may spend time at industrial plants, refineries, and other locations, where they monitor or direct operations or solve onsite problems. Nearly all chemical engineers work full time.

How to Become One: Chemical engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or a related field. Employers also value practical experience. Therefore, internships and cooperative engineering programs can be helpful.

Salary: The median annual wage for chemical engineers is $105,550.

Job Outlook: Employment of chemical engineers is projected to grow 14 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of chemical engineers with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a Chemical Engineer with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following Chemical Engineer jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Chemical Engineer Jobs

  • Research Engineer -Chemical Engineer - Prometheus - Santa Cruz, CA

    Research Engineer - Chemical Engineer Prometheus Fuels Santa Cruz, CA U.S.A . Prometheus was founded to replace fossil fuels with zero net carbon electrofuels, as fast as possible, by beating fossil ...

  • - San Jose State University - San Jose, CA

    Assistant Professor - Chemical & Materials Engineering ( Chemical Engineering ) Job no:519124 Location:San José State University,San José, California, USA Compensation:Commensurate with ...

  • Sr. Process Chemical Engineer (Modeling and Simulation) - Brimstone Energy - Oakland, CA

    Bachelor's, Master's, or PhD degree in Chemical Engineering * Skilled with 5+ years of professional experience with process simulation software such as Aspen Plus, Hysys, Chemcad, or similar * Very ...

See all Chemical Engineer jobs

What Chemical Engineers Do[About this section] [To Top]

Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, physics, and math to solve problems that involve the production or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and many other products. They design processes and equipment for large-scale manufacturing, plan and test production methods and byproducts treatment, and direct facility operations.

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Duties of Chemical Engineers

Chemical engineers typically do the following:

  • Conduct research to develop new and improved manufacturing processes
  • Establish safety procedures for those working with dangerous chemicals
  • Develop processes for separating components of liquids and gases, or for generating electrical currents, by using controlled chemical processes
  • Design and plan the layout of equipment
  • Conduct tests and monitor the performance of processes throughout production
  • Troubleshoot problems with manufacturing processes
  • Evaluate equipment and processes to ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations
  • Estimate production costs for management

Some chemical engineers, known as process engineers, specialize in a particular process, such as oxidation (a reaction of oxygen with chemicals to make other chemicals) or polymerization (making plastics and resins).

Others specialize in a particular field, such as nanomaterials (extremely small substances) or biological engineering. Still others specialize in developing specific products.

In addition, chemical engineers work in the production of energy, electronics, food, clothing, and paper. They must understand how the manufacturing process affects the environment and the safety of workers and consumers.

Chemical engineers also conduct research in the life sciences, biotechnology, and business services.

Work Environment for Chemical Engineers[About this section] [To Top]

Chemical engineers hold about 26,900 jobs. The largest employers of chemical engineers are as follows:

Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 11%
Engineering services 11%
Petroleum and coal products manufacturing 5%
Wholesale trade 4%
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing 3%

Chemical engineers work mostly in offices or laboratories. They may spend time at industrial plants, refineries, and other locations, where they monitor or direct operations or solve onsite problems. Chemical engineers must be able to work with those who design other systems and with the technicians and mechanics who put the designs into practice.

Some engineers travel extensively to plants or worksites, both domestically and abroad.

Injuries and Illnesses

Chemical engineers can be exposed to health or safety hazards when handling certain chemicals and plant equipment, but such exposure can be avoided if proper procedures are followed.

Chemical Engineer Work Schedules

Nearly all chemical engineers work full time. Occasionally, they may have to work additional hours to meet production targets and design standards or to troubleshoot problems with manufacturing processes. About 2 out of 5 chemical engineers work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Chemical Engineer[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Chemical Engineers near you!

Chemical engineers must have a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering or a related field. Employers also value practical experience, so internships and cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn college credit and experience, can be helpful.

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Education for Chemical Engineers

Chemical engineers must have a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering or a related field. Programs in chemical engineering usually take 4 years to complete and include classroom, laboratory, and field studies. High school students interested in studying chemical engineering will benefit from taking science courses, such as chemistry, physics, and biology. They also should take math courses, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

At some universities, students can opt to enroll in 5-year engineering programs that lead to both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree. A graduate degree, which may include a degree up to the Ph.D. level, allows an engineer to work in research and development or as a postsecondary teacher.

Some colleges and universities offer internships and/or cooperative programs in partnership with industry. In these programs, students gain practical experience while completing their education.

ABET accredits engineering programs. ABET-accredited programs in chemical engineering include courses in chemistry, physics, and biology. These programs also include applying the sciences to the design, analysis, and control of chemical, physical, and biological processes.

Important Qualities for Chemical Engineers

Analytical skills. Chemical engineers must troubleshoot designs that do not work as planned. They must ask the right questions and then find answers that work.

Creativity. Chemical engineers must explore new ways of applying engineering principles. They work to invent new materials, advanced manufacturing techniques, and new applications in chemical and biomedical engineering.

Ingenuity. Chemical engineers learn the broad concepts of chemical engineering, but their work requires them to apply those concepts to specific production problems.

Interpersonal skills. Because their role is to put scientific principles into practice in manufacturing industries, chemical engineers must develop good working relationships with other workers involved in production processes.

Math skills. Chemical engineers use the principles of advanced math topics such as calculus for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. In designing equipment and processes for manufacturing, these engineers must be able to anticipate and identify problems, including such issues as workers' safety and problems related to manufacturing and environmental protection.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Chemical Engineers

Licensure for chemical engineers is not as common as it is for other engineering occupations, nor is it required for entry-level positions. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one's career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor's degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE).

Each state issues its own licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the licensing state's requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements. Several states require engineers to take continuing education to keep their licenses.

Other Experience for Chemical Engineers

During high school, students can attend engineering summer camps to see what these and other engineers do. Attending these camps can help students plan their coursework for the remainder of their time in high school.

Advancement for Chemical Engineers

Entry-level engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers also may receive formal training in classrooms or seminars. As junior engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move to more difficult projects with greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, chemical engineers may advance to supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Some may become architectural and engineering managers. Preparing for management positions usually requires working under the guidance of a more experienced chemical engineer.

An engineering background enables chemical engineers to discuss a product's technical aspects and assist in product planning and use. For more information, see the profile on sales engineers.

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Chemical Engineer Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

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Entry Level Experienced


The median annual wage for chemical engineers is $105,550. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $62,730, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $187,430.

The median annual wages for chemical engineers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Engineering services $152,430
Petroleum and coal products manufacturing $126,780
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences $102,390
Wholesale trade $100,290
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing $96,220

A 2015 survey report by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers indicated that the median yearly salary of those with no supervisory responsibility was $106,300.

Nearly all chemical engineers work full time. Occasionally, they may have to work additional hours to meet production targets and design standards or to troubleshoot problems with manufacturing processes. Some chemical engineers work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook for Chemical Engineers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of chemical engineers is projected to grow 14 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 2,200 openings for chemical engineers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment of Chemical Engineers

Demand for chemical engineers’ services depends largely on demand for the products of various manufacturing industries. Many chemical engineers work in manufacturing firms that provide products to other firms. For example, environmental and sustainability concerns have led chemistry and manufacturing firms to research alternative fertilizers, resulting in a need for chemical engineers.

In addition, chemical engineering will continue to migrate into other fields, such as nanotechnology, alternative energies, and biotechnology, and thereby help to sustain demand for engineering services in many manufacturing industries.

Employment projections data for Chemical Engineers, 2021-31
Occupational Title Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31
Percent Numeric
Chemical engineers 26,900 30,700 14 3,700

Careers Related to Chemical Engineers[About this section] [To Top]

Architectural and Engineering Managers

Architectural and engineering managers plan, direct, and coordinate activities in architectural and engineering companies.

Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers

Bioengineers and biomedical engineers combine engineering principles with sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software.

Chemical Technicians

Chemical technicians use special instruments and techniques to help chemists and chemical engineers research, develop, produce, and test chemical products and processes.

Chemists and Materials Scientists

Chemists and materials scientists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels and analyze the ways in which the substances interact with one another. They use their knowledge to develop new and improved products and to test the quality of manufactured goods.

Nuclear Engineers

Nuclear engineers research and develop the processes, instruments, and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. Many of these engineers find industrial and medical uses for radioactive materials—for example, in equipment used in medical diagnosis and treatment.

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians

Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians collect data on and analyze many types of work environments and work procedures. Specialists inspect workplaces for adherence to regulations on safety, health, and the environment. Technicians work with specialists in conducting tests and measuring hazards to help prevent harm to workers, property, the environment, and the general public.

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More Chemical Engineer Information[About this section] [To Top]

For more information on becoming a chemical engineer, visit

American Institute of Chemical Engineers

For information about general engineering education and career resources, visit

American Society for Engineering Education

Technology Student Association

For information about accredited engineering programs, visit

ABET

For information on internships opportunities, visit

American Institute of Chemical Engineers Career Center

For more information about licensure as a professional engineer, visit

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National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying

National Society of Professional Engineers

A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.


Explore more careers: View all Careers or the Top 30 Career Profiles


FAQs

What is your educational qualification answer? ›

Start with your most recent formal education experience

Your resume most likely includes your most recent formal education level. For many people, this will be a high school diploma or a post-secondary degree with a major in a field relevant to the position you are applying for.

How do you answer the question about your educational background? ›

I graduated from XYZ University three months ago with a bachelor's in English and a 3.9 GPA. My English degree gave me strong communication and writing skills, which are crucial for event planning. But while I was in school, I got a lot of hands-on event planning experience from extracurriculars, too.

What is your current salary best answer? ›

It is perfectly acceptable to avoid answering this interview question. You can simply say that you would like to learn more about the role before discussing your current compensation. Know when to walk away. Most employers don't ask this question because it can be seen as intrusive and unprofessional.

What is your career path Example answer? ›

Career aspiration example 1

I would like to continue to develop my skills and experience by working with professional recording equipment. I also want to develop my leadership and organizational skills. This will help me achieve my goal of leading production teams in the future.”

What is your career plan example? ›

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

Ultimately, I'd like to move into management with a focus on strategy and development, working my way into a long-term position where I can build a solid career. Right now, I'm focusing on improving my coaching and communication skills through continuing education programs outside of work.

How do I explain my background in a job interview? ›

Key Takeaways
  1. Structure your answer in a way that makes sense. Stick to the past-present-future format, and you're all good!
  2. Keep it relevant and brief (1-2 minutes max). No one wants to hear your whole life story.
  3. Mention any of your top achievements and relevant work experiences.

How do you summarize your educational background? ›

Here are some steps you can take to write an education summary:
  1. Write the name of the school and its location. The first thing you can add is the name of the school you attended or are currently attending. ...
  2. Add the degree you received. ...
  3. Include the dates you attended. ...
  4. List notable achievements. ...
  5. Consider what education to add.

What is your level of education? ›

Level of education refers to the level of formal education that you have completed. If you only graduated from high school, for example, then your level of education is a high school diploma or GED.

How do you answer a salary question? ›

Consider giving a salary range, not a number

If a job post asks applicants to state their expected salary when applying for the position, then give a range — not a specific figure — you're comfortable with. Answers like “Negotiable” might work, but they can also make you look evasive.

How do you answer salary question on application? ›

When answering desired salary or expected salary questions on an application, the best approach is to write in “negotiable” or keep the field blank. If a numerical response is required, enter “000” and in a notes section, mention that salary is negotiable based on further understanding of the position.

What is your salary expectation answer for freshers? ›

Answer 4:-

Sir, because I am fresher, for me, salary is not the first priority. This is a fantastic forum to launch my career, and I want to develop my expertise, skills and experience as well. So, due to my capacity and your business expectations, I expect a considerable wage that will satisfy my economic needs.

What is educational qualification example? ›

Academic qualifications include vocational diplomas, undergraduate degrees, professional certifications, graduate and professional degrees. Some countries award college degrees with distinction or honors for those who graduate with a high grade point average.

How do you ask for educational qualification? ›

I'd probably ask "What is your educational background?" or be more specific if I was only interested in a person's education in history, French, or computer science.

What is your educational level? ›

Your education level isn't simply about degrees and courses from an accredited college or university. This also includes any training, conferences you attended, or seminars, whether you took one online or in person. Take note of any kind of additional training, and mention the most relative ones in the interview.

What is your education interview questions? ›

Typical Questions Asked About Education in a Job Interview
  • Tell me about your educational background. ...
  • How has your education prepared you for your career? ...
  • Tell me about how a particular course or course project helped you succeed in a project with an employer. ...
  • Do your grades reflect your potential?
17 Sept 2020

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