Do you want to make a difference in the world? Do you want to help solve some of the world’s most challenging problems? If so, then you should consider becoming a chemical engineer! Chemical engineers play a vital role in our society, and their work helps improve our quality of life. In this blog post, we will discuss how to become a chemical engineer, what you can do with your degree, and how long it takes to earn your degree. We will also provide some tips on how to succeed as a chemical engineer!
What is chemical engineering?
Chemical engineering goes beyond just chemical processes. It applies the principles of engineering, mathematics, and science to solve problems in the chemical industry. This can include anything from developing new fuels to designing more efficient methods of manufacturing pharmaceuticals.
Chemical kinetics is a branch of chemical engineering that deals with the study of how fast chemical reactions occur. This is important because it can help us understand how to make reactions happen more quickly or slowly, depending on what we want to achieve.
When it comes to chemical processes and chemical reactions, biochemical engineering is concerned with how to best use living organisms to perform certain tasks. This could involve developing new ways to generate energy from renewable sources, or creating more efficient methods of manufacturing food and other products.
Environmental chemical engineering is another branch that deals with how to minimize the impact of human activity on the environment. This might involve developing new methods of cleaning up oil spills, or finding more environmentally friendly ways to dispose of hazardous waste.
So, as you can see, there are many different branches of chemical engineering, each dealing with a specific area of interest. If you’re interested in becoming a chemical engineer, then you’ll need to decide which area you want to specialize in.
The history of chemical engineering
The chemical engineering field was first discovered during the Industrial Revolution in Europe. At this time, people began to experiment with new chemicals and how to use them in manufacturing processes.
The most notable manufacturing processes at this time were the production of glass, dyes, and gunpowder. These processes required the use of dangerous chemicals, which led to many accidents. As a result, the field of chemical engineering was created to find ways to safely handle and dispose of these hazardous materials.
Manufacturing industries and professional engineering became more popular in the 19th century, which led to the development of more specialized fields within chemical engineering. One of these fields was petroleum engineering, which emerged in the early 20th century with the development of the oil industry.
Today, chemical engineering is a field that is constantly evolving and changing as new technologies are developed. It is an essential part of many industries, including pharmaceuticals, food and beverage production, environmental protection, and energy generation.
The future of chemical engineering disciplines
With chemical engineering jobs on the rise and chemical engineers’ work gaining popularity, it is clear that this field will continue to grow in the coming years. The future of chemical engineering looks bright, with new technologies and industries emerging all the time.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary that chemical engineers earn was $102,160 in May 2016. The top ten percent of earners made more than $166,400, while the bottom ten percent earned less than $67,860.
The job outlook for chemical engineers is positive, with the BLS projecting a six percent growth in employment from 2016 to 2026. This growth is due, in part, to the increasing demand for new and innovative products and processes.
What do chemical engineers do?
If you’re interested in how to become a chemical engineer, you may be asking what the job duties are for chemical engineers. Daily responsibilities vary depending on what specialization you choose but for the most part, chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, and physics to solve problems that involve the production or use of chemicals and biochemicals.
They also develop safety procedures to protect workers, the environment, and consumers from the harmful effects of chemical products and processes. Many work in manufacturing plants where they oversee production. Others may work in offices where they design processes or supervise production.
Some chemical engineers work in sales or technical service, where they use their knowledge of chemicals to advise customers or solve customer problems. A few teach in colleges and universities.
How to become a chemical engineer
A degree in chemical engineering is common for chemical engineers aside from studying chemical engineering, along with safety and environmental regulations. Chemical engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.
You can become a chemical engineer with a degree in another engineering discipline, but your courses must include certain types of classes, and you may need to take extra courses. These courses include:
- fluid mechanics
- heat transfer
- mass transfer
- reaction kinetics
- process design and optimization
What about other engineering programs?
Some chemical engineering degrees have a specific field of engineering principles that are focused on. These engineering principles still deal with chemical compounds and manufacturing methods but in different energy systems.
Many chemical engineers study multiple disciplines such as:
- biomedical engineering
- biological engineering
- environmental science
- alternative energy
- nuclear energy or nuclear power
- life sciences
Each discipline is beneficial for employment growth that comes along with a professional certification within industrial settings. For more career resources, please visit the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).
AIChE is a professional organization for chemical engineers that offers resources for job seekers and students who are interested in pursuing a career in chemical engineering. The site includes information on how to become a chemical engineer, how to find a job, and how to advance your career. AIChE also offers a wide range of resources for students, including information on how to prepare for a career in chemical engineering and how to find scholarships and financial aid.
Obtaining a chemical engineering degree
Whether it’s a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, chemical engineers look for a reputable ABET-accredited engineering program. An accredited program means that the curriculum meets certain standards set forth by the profession. Students should also look for a program that offers research opportunities and internships, as these experiences can be extremely helpful in securing a job after graduation.
An accreditation board for earning a professional engineer license goes beyond a graduate degree and requires additional coursework and passing an engineering exam.
Most states require licensure for professional engineers, and many employers prefer to hire licensed engineers. To become a licensed professional engineer, one must have a bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program, complete four years of post-college work experience under the supervision of a licensed engineer, and pass two exams.
Becoming a chemical engineer can be a long and difficult process, but it is also an immensely rewarding one. With hard work and dedication, anyone can become a chemical engineer and make a difference in the world.
Other career paths for chemical engineers
Chemical engineering has many different career paths available aside from common management positions. Some of the most common careers for chemical engineers include:
Process engineers work with chemical reactions and chemical compounds. When it comes to chemical production with, for example, chemical plants, these engineers are responsible for overseeing and optimizing the processes. Other responsibilities include developing and improving safety procedures, as well as working with other engineers within a production team to improve productivity.
🎓 – Education: This will require more education than being a graduate high school student. It’s not uncommon to have associate degrees for this career but a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering is most common.
💲 – Salary: The average salary for a process engineer per year is $85,000.
This is another chemical engineering role that largely works with improving and ensuring quality standards in products. Quality control engineers work in a variety of industries, from food and beverage to pharmaceuticals. Many manufacturing firms with biological processes look for chemical engineers to provide quantitative analysis of new materials or raw materials and this falls under the duties of the quality control engineer.
🎓 – Education: A bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering is required for this role as well as a master’s degree for continued education.
💲 – Salary: The average salary for a quality control engineer per year is $75,000.
An environmental protection engineer is responsible for developing and implementing programs that will protect the environment. They work with businesses and industries to find ways to reduce waste and pollution. Many environmental engineers also work on public education campaigns to raise awareness about environmental issues.
🎓 – Education: A bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering is required for this role but a master’s degree program is common among chemical engineers as well.
💲 – Salary: The average salary for an environmental protection engineer per year is $79,000.
A research and development engineer is responsible for creating new products and processes. They work with other engineers to design and test prototypes. Research and development engineers also need to be able to solve problems that arise during the product development process. Other responsibilities include working with the manufacturing process and production costs to manufacture chemicals.
🎓 – Education: A bachelor’s degree in engineering is required for this position but a master’s degree is often preferred by employers.
💲 – Salary: The average salary for a research and development engineer per year is $95,000.
A sales engineer is responsible for selling products and services to customers. They need to have a deep understanding of the product they are selling and be able to answer any questions that the customer may have. They also need to be able to negotiate pricing and terms with customers. Having excellent math skills as well as analytical skills can be very beneficial for this career.
🎓 – Education: A bachelor’s degree in engineering is required for this position but master’s degrees are often preferred by employers.
💲 – Salary: The average salary for a sales engineer per year is $100,000.
A manufacturing production technician is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a manufacturing facility. They need to have strong problem-solving skills as well as be able to work well under pressure. They also need to be able to troubleshoot any problems that may arise during the manufacturing process.
🎓 – Education: A high school diploma or equivalent is required for this position but some college coursework in engineering or a related field is often preferred by employers.
💲 – Salary: The average salary for manufacturing production technicians per year is $50,000.
Chemical engineers work with raw materials among other things but these chemical engineers work specifically with the manufacturing process of chemicals. These engineers are responsible for developing new ways to create chemical products or improving upon current methods. They often work on a team with other scientists and engineers but may also work independently at times.
🎓 – Education: A bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering is the minimum requirement to work in this field, and many employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree or higher.
💲 – Salary: The median annual salary for a chemical engineer is $102,160.
Thanks for reading and remember to leave your comments below!
Each of these career paths has different requirements and job duties, but all are essential to the chemical engineering field. With so many options available, there is sure to be a perfect fit for everyone. Be sure to consider the different engineering programs available when you begin your school search.
Please feel free to ask any questions or to share your own experiences in the comments section below! Thanks for reading!
Other relevant labor statistics for chemical engineers can be found online from different resources:
🟩 – The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
🟦 – The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
🟪 – The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)