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Do You Have What it Takes to Become a Chemical Engineer?

Are you interested in technologies, such as nanobots and fuel cells? Maybe you have ideas that could improve them? If this is something that excites you, chemical engineering is a good field of study to pursue. The realm of chemical engineering plays a key role in our everyday lives and has many important applications in relevant industries including oil, energy, food and drink, and pharmaceuticals.

Typical Work Day Of Chemical Engineers

Chemical engineers are involved with designing, developing, constructing, and operating firsthand the industrial techniques and machinery that produce a diverse range of products at large scales. Modern day chemical engineers are also credited to pioneering valuable materials and new technologies like nanobots. 

Depending on where you are employed as a chemical engineer, your role may focus on one or more tasks involving product research, trial, and commercialization. You may also be tasked to manage scale-up operations from small production facilities to full industrial-sized manufacturing plants. 

As a chemical engineer, you will often work with other departments to improve product lines for a company and modify current processes to maximize efficiency levels. You will work closely with control specialists and process chemists to achieve the desired output levels for the production facility. 

In some companies, chemical engineers are tasked to identify and correct safety loopholes related to the environment, the processes, and project staff. This is the typical work day for chemical engineers. If you still think you want to pursue the profession, read on further as we discuss the skills and qualities that make a person fit for the job. 

What Makes A Good Chemical Engineer?

For every profession, there is a recipe that makes a person well-suited for the job. It is a combination of personality and technical skills that gives them an edge to tackle work-related obstacles without mentally and physically draining themselves. 

Good analytical skills and undeterred patience to solve seemingly impossible problems are the foundation of any good engineer. As for education, a bachelor's degree in either chemical or biochemical engineering is necessary to be even considered for entry-level positions. 

Some universities offer five-year courses, which allow graduates to finish both a bachelor's and master's degree without having to transfer schools. A master's degree in chemical engineering can further broaden your career ladder in the field. For instance, you can excel easily into managerial positions and qualify to work in advanced research and development positions.

Prior to enrolling in any chemical engineering program, make sure the coursework is approved by the ABET. If it is not approved, it may be hard for you to find work after finishing the course. Moreover, only graduates who have finished approved programs can take the license exam. 

Career Outlook

There are currently around 31,000 licensed chemical engineers in the US, with 1,150 new chemical engineering positions opened up every year. Although job growth for this occupation is not very exciting for the next decade, the salary for the workforce is very decent, with a majority of chemical engineers taking home an average of $95,300 annually. 

Last Updated: June 24, 2015