Chemical engineers shake hands

How to Become a Chemical Engineer

For those who would like to enter into the life sciences, becoming a chemical engineer is a great option to create a career that is dynamic and engaging as well as financially sound. These professionals have helped to develop countless products that are used every single day, and this means that they are in high demand for companies within almost every industry. Here is a closer look at exactly what a chemical engineer does and the proper steps that must be taken to get there.

Chemical Engineering Careers

While the daily life of a chemical engineer will differ depending on the career path that one chooses, these specialists have been trained to work with natural and man-made substances in order to produce quality products or improve various services. This may sound vague, but this is due to just how many jobs are available to chemical engineers. After schooling, these types of engineers can be found most prominently in the fields of environmental safety, food processing, medicine, and academics. Most chemical engineers will find themselves either working with design and manufacturing or in the development and testing of new materials.

Basic Schooling Requirements

As with almost any other major, chemical engineers will need a relatively large base of general education classes ranging from history and economics to composition and literature. These general education classes will be on the periphery, however, as the core classes will consume a majority of their time with a variety of science and math courses. An undergraduate degree in chemical engineering will open up entry-level jobs and help students gain an advantage over those with no experience in the field. The undergraduate degree can be completed in four years from any accredited university.

Advanced Courses

From there, students who don’t decide to enter into the workforce can extend their studies to either a master’s degree or a Ph.D. By advancing one’s schooling, a variety of high-level jobs will be opened up to recently-graduated students with new options such as teaching at a college or university. Students may also wish to explore a master’s degree outside of the field of chemical engineering with a focus on business or management. This will fast-track the career path for those who would like to work in a managerial role in a company that benefits from chemical engineering. A master’s degree will require at least 2 or more years of work while a Ph.D. will often require five years beyond that. 

The average salary of a chemical engineer continues to grow, as well as the amount of job openings that are available to these specialists. With any one of these three degrees, students will open up a variety of career paths and opportunities that they may have not believed was possible before. 

Last Updated: June 24, 2015