Last Updated on December 28, 2022
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how to learn chemical engineering
What is Chemical Engineering?
Chemical engineering involves using physics, chemistry, and mathematics among other scientific disciplines to handle chemicals, raw materials, and even the food we eat. Chemical engineers are responsible for making sure the things we consume and use every day are safe and that the process for manufacturing is clean and as risk-free to workers and the surrounding community as possible. An understanding of chemical processes allows chemical engineers to design these systems. Some of the job entails problem-solving when things go wrong. Other requirements could include an intimate knowledge of environmental regulations. A chemical engineer understands these materials on a molecular level, giving them insight into the entire process from start to finish.
Learn Chemical Engineering
Chemical engineering is a highly sought after discipline. A background or degree in chemical engineering can set you up for an in demand and lucrative career helping design safety procedures, alternative energies, and sustainable energy solutions. Engineering programs can build those skills and give you the ability to break into this field. For many positions, a bachelor’s degree and even a master’s degree is required, but you can get started on that path easily.
Chemical Engineering Courses and Certifications
Students and graduate students can begin courses for the fundamentals of chemical engineering through edX.org. In partnership with leading universities and institutions, courses such as the Introduction to Engineering and Design (Brown) show you the fundamentals. Other chemistry courses handle things like chemical reactions and design processes that use the principles of chemistry to move and transform energy. Wageningen offers micro-masters courses in biochemistry that could help with chemical manufacturing and nanomaterials. These courses can enhance your work experience and build a portfolio that you can use to transfer to the chemical engineering program of your choice or simply brush up on your knowledge. The series finishes with a capstone project designed to guide you through a project from start to finish. Higher level courses like MIT’s Analysis of Transport Phenomena or 21st Century Energy could also level up your current skills and help you move your career forward. These courses are all easily verifiable and can be used on your resume or application for graduate work.
Build a Career in Chemical Engineering
Chemical engineers help us understand the materials in everything from food to nanotechnology. Their skills allow us to harness energy, verify food safety, develop and troubleshoot complex manufacturing problems, and so many other vital parts of our production. Professional engineers have been in high demand for a long time and will continue to show steady job growth as technology changes.
chemical engineering requirements
How to Become a Chemical Engineer
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- Chemical engineers work in nearly every industry, turning raw materials into products.
- A bachelor’s in chemical engineering provides the education you need to enter this field.
- Choose relevant concentrations like biochemical, environmental, pharmaceutical, or fuel.
- Earn your professional engineer license and supervise your fellow chemical engineers.
In the 20th century, chemical engineering focused on the production of chemicals. As the discipline merged with biology, this engineering field expanded to producing plastics, consumer products, fuels, medicine, foods, and environmental solutions.
Today, chemical engineers work in just about every industry, using science and engineering concepts to turn raw materials into products that improve the quality of our lives.
What Is Chemical Engineering and What Do Chemical Engineers Do?
Chemical engineering entails using math, physics, chemistry, and biology to design and improve materials, equipment, and products. By converting raw materials into useful products, these professionals can minimize costs and maximize productivity while maintaining or increasing the quality of goods and materials.
Chemical engineers work in nearly every sector, including pharmaceutical, consumer products, biotechnology, manufacturing, materials, medicine, aerospace, automotive, and fuel.
Chemical engineering entails using math, physics, chemistry, and biology to design and improve materials, equipment, and products.
As a chemical engineer, you may improve food production techniques, increase access to clean drinking water, develop new fibers for clothing, recover and refine fuels, come up with solutions to environmental issues, or improve the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Typical duties performed in chemical engineer jobs include research and testing, designing and evaluating equipment and processes, and ensuring compliance with safety and environmental regulations.
Chemical Engineer Job Demand and Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 4% job growth for chemical engineers between 2019 and 2029, about as fast as the average employment growth rate for all occupations. Industries like alternative energy and biotechnology should experience sustained demand, while traditional manufacturing positions may see some decline.
Because of the rapid advances in technology, engineers must stay informed of emerging trends in their field and industry. Some of the top industries employing chemical engineers include chemical manufacturing, architecture and engineering, scientific research, petroleum and coal product manufacturing, and the federal government.
Industries like alternative energy and biotechnology should experience sustained demand for chemical engineers, while traditional manufacturing positions may see some decline.
The states employing the most chemical engineers include Texas, California, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Ohio. Texas also offers the highest earnings for these professionals, with an average annual chemical engineer salary of $138,600 in 2020, according to the BLS.
While annual salaries vary depending on position, location, and employer, the BLS reports that chemical engineers earned a median annual salary of $108,540 in 2020. Engineers who work for petroleum and coal product manufacturers boast even greater earnings, with a median annual salary of $123,360.
Step by Step: How to Become a Chemical Engineer
To become a chemical engineer, you should gear up in high school by taking courses in science and math, particularly calculus. From there, you will need a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, preferably from a college that offers concentrations in your field of interest. If you’re interested in management opportunities, a master’s may be required.
Step 1: Study Chemistry, Physics, and Math in High School
Chemical engineering applicants face stiff competition. As a high school student, you should start preparing early in your studies by taking classes in chemistry, biology, physics, and math.
Taking college preparatory or AP courses in these areas may also increase your chances of admission, and specific coursework in trigonometry, algebra, and calculus can prepare you to meet college admission requirements.
You can also benefit from extracurricular activities in science, technology, engineering, and math. Many universities and research centers offer engineering summer camps and the opportunity to perform research.
Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering
To become a chemical engineer, you need a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. You should also consider attending a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). This accreditation lets employers and educators know that you have received a rigorous education and meet the quality standards of the profession. This accreditation also qualifies you to pursue licensure in some states.
Most chemical engineering bachelor’s programs require 120-130 credits and take about four years of full-time study to complete. You’ll learn about analysis and invention of chemical products and processes through classroom, laboratory, and field studies. You’ll also explore how to design equipment and processes for manufacturing.
Some programs offer internships or cooperative education experiences that will allow you to gain the experience many employers require.
Schools offer several concentrations that allow you to focus on your area of interest, including the following:
- Nuclear Engineering: This specialization teaches you about the many facets of nuclear power, including the design, development, and maintenance of these power plants.
- Nanomaterials Engineering: This concentration introduces you to the world of very small chemical substances and ultra-fine particles ranging from 1-100 nanometers. This rapidly advancing field of engineering is producing big changes in robotics, energy, biomedicine, and manufacturing.
- Biochemical Engineering: Biochemical engineers apply technology to biological substances, such as cells, to create improved or new products. The end result may include producing cleaner fuels or better water treatment processes.
- Business and Management: Many chemical engineers have gone on to succeed in business, management, and consulting roles.
- Energy and Environment: If you’re interested in studying and producing solutions to help build a sustainable planet, this concentration may be for you. Students explore technology solutions to climate change, clean water and air, and sustainable energy.
- Petroleum and Gas Exploration: As a chemical engineer specializing in oil and gas, you may work on offshore rigs and ships or in the field. These engineers help boost production, transform crude oil into a usable form, and develop new extraction techniques.
- Minimum GPA: 3.0-3.5
- Academic Requirements: Many programs recommend four years of science, including one year of physics and one year of chemistry, and successful completion of a college-level calculus course
- ACT/SAT Scores: Currently, many schools are not requiring these test scores
Step 3: Consider a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering
While you can pursue a lucrative rewarding career as a chemical engineer with a bachelor’s degree, an advanced degree paves the way to additional job opportunities. In addition to qualifying for managerial positions, a master’s degree provides a deeper understanding of chemical reactions, independent research methods, and advanced laboratory skills. A career in research or academia typically requires a master’s.
Some schools offer engineering programs that allow you to complete your combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering within five years.
- Minimum GPA: 3.0
- Academic Requirements: Many programs require four years of mathematics through differential equations and several classes in organic and physical chemistry
- Degree Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in engineering or a physical science
- GRE Scores: Currently, many schools are not requiring these test scores
Step 4: Establish State Licensure
Unlike other engineering disciplines, many positions as a chemical engineer do not require a license. In fact, many of these engineers do not pursue licensure their entire career.
On the other hand, earning a professional engineer (PE) license may be required for some management positions or if you’re considering going into private practice. This license enables chemical engineers to supervise other engineers, prepare and submit engineering plans to a public authority, and sign off on projects.
Obtaining your PE license requires time and commitment. While not required, going the extra mile sets you apart from your fellow engineers and lets employers know you’ve gone through rigorous training.
Step 5: Gain Practical Experience in the Field
Many bachelor’s in chemical engineering programs offer internships or cooperative education experiences. These programs generally provide you with several months of field experience and the practical knowledge valued by most employers.
Most entry-level jobs provide on-the-job training. Newcomers usually work under an experienced engineer and may receive additional training at seminars. As you gain more experience, you’ll find increasing job responsibilities and greater independence.
Step 6: Become a Professional Engineer in Chemical Engineering
Pursuing your PE license can increase your career opportunities, particularly in supervisory roles. Without this license, you may work under a supervisor who has earned a PE license.
While each state issues its own license, most have similar requirements and recognize licensure from other states. You need a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program, a passing score on two national licensing exams, and experience.
TOP CHEMICAL ENGINEER CERTIFICATIONS FOR YOUR CAREER IN 2022
Certifications can be a powerful tool to show employers you know your stuff. However, not all certifications are created equal.
We’ve compiled a list of the most common certifications for Chemical Engineers. Not only will obtaining these certifications give you a leg up for job hunting, they will also increase your overall value.
|1||Certified Chemical Engineer (CCE)||NCCCCE|
|2||Engineer In Training Certification (EIT)||NCEES|
|3||Six Sigma Green Belt||IASSC|
|4||Specialist in Chemistry (SC(ASCP))||ASCP|
|5||Software Engineering Management Associate Engineer||IEEE|
Most Common CertificationCertified Chemical Engineer
Most In-demand CertificateSix Sigma Green Belt
Advanced Process Control & Safety Instrumented Systems SIS4.5
Unit Operations in Chemical Engineering4.4
Aspen Plus – Basic Process Modeling4.4
5 BEST CHEMICAL ENGINEER CERTIFICATIONS
1. Certified Chemical Engineer (CCE)
The purpose of the certification program is to recognize chemists and chemical engineers who have a certain basic level of education and/or experience and who have participated in professional career development and continuing education during the immediate past one to three years.
2. Engineer In Training Certification (EIT)
The EIT Certification, which is formally known as the Engineer In Training Certification, is simply a document, a number, granted by the individual’s state engineering board after they pass the Engineer In Training Exam. The Engineer in Training Exam (EIT Exam) is the first of two exams you will take as you move towards obtaining your Professional Engineering License (PE). This exam, which you may also hear referred to as the Fundamentals of Engineering exam (FE Exam), is developed and administered in all states (and a number of locations outside the US) by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). The FE Exam is offered to eligible students year-round in four different testing windows.
3. Six Sigma Green Belt
The IASSC Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (ICGB) is a professional who is well versed in the Lean Six Sigma Methodology who both leads or supports improvement projects, typically as a part-time role. A Lean Six Sigma Green Belt possesses a thorough understanding of all aspects within the phases of D-M-A-I-C. They understand how to perform and interpret Six Sigma tools and how to use standard principles of Lean.
4. Specialist in Chemistry (SC(ASCP))
5. Software Engineering Management Associate Engineer
Software engineering management involves a number of various activities and processes. It requires an understanding of software engineering economics, software development process, software models and methods as well as traditional management functions such as planning, coordinating measuring, controlling and reporting in the context of software engineering.
Chemical Engineer Jobs You Might Like
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- Chemical EngineerInfiltrator Water TechnologiesWinchester, KY
- Chemical EngineerActalentSan Antonio, TX
- Chemical PSM EngineerNpaworldwide Recruitment NetworkGreenville, NC
- Chemical EngineerCarlisle Syntec, Inc.Carlisle, PA
- Chemical EngineerKBRMountain View, CA
CHEMICAL ENGINEER JOBS
Motion RecruitmentRemote or DelawareData Science/Chemical Engineer/Contract/RemoteThis Mechanical/Industrial Engineering company is searching for a data science/chemical engineer contractor to join their team! Required Skills & Experience Chemical Engineering & Data Science background Relevant degree in chemical engineer/science or related Python Azure ML/NLP Deep learning +
Motion Recruitment PartnersRemote or Wilmington, DEData Science/Chemical Engineer/Contract/RemoteThis Mechanical/Industrial Engineering company is searching for a data science/chemical engineer contractor to join their team! + Relevant degree in chemical engineer/science or related
Motion RecruitmentRemote or Wilmington, DEData Science/Chemical Engineer/Contract/RemoteThis Mechanical/Industrial Engineering company is searching for a data science/chemical engineer contractor to join their team! * Relevant degree in chemical engineer/science or related
$91k-125k yearly est.
Kelly ServicesRemote or Mahwah, NJAssociate Manufacturing Engineer – (starts as Remote and then Onsite)Kelly Services is currently seeking **Associate Manufacturing Engineer -** **(starts as Remote and then Onsite)** **for** one of our top clients in **Mahwah, NJ. ** **JOB TITLE: Associate Manufacturing Engineer** **(starts as Remote and then Onsite)**
$87k-102k yearly est.
TKDARemote or Saint Paul, MNGraduate Engineer – Water ResourcesOur employee-owned and multi-disciplined team, has an opportunity available for a Graduate Water Resources Engineer to join our Surface Transportation team in Saint Paul, MN!
$55k-65k yearly est.
Aguirre & FieldsRemote or Oklahoma City, OKGraduate EngineerAguirre & Fields is seeking a qualified candidate for the position of Graduate Engineer – Roadway Division in the OKC office.
$54k-68k yearly est.
WoodRemoteGraduate EngineerThe work scopes, and other Wood training, shall support the development of the graduate engineer and allow them to apply their skills in a range of projects.
$56k-72k yearly est.
Tetra Tech, Inc.Remote or Dublin, CAAssociate Project EngineerTetra Tech is currently seeking an entry-level engineer to support the Dublin, CA location in the San Francisco Bay Area (partially remote considered).
$73k-91k yearly est.
Tetra TechRemote or Dublin, CAAssociate Project EngineerDublin, California, United States Tetra Tech is currently seeking an entry-level engineer to support the Dublin, CA location in the San Francisco Bay Area (partially remote considered).
$73k-91k yearly est.
Q CellsRemote or Irvine, CAAssociate of Project EngineerThis position will work from our headquarter in Irvine, CA or our San Francisco office and requires flexibility to support travel for multiple projects in various geographical regions, expected to travel up to 50% of the year.
$61k-80k yearly est.EEDP RenewablesRemote or Boston, MASenior Associate -Offshore Wind Project Engineer (West) (Hybrid remote work schedule)Skills: Engineering Projects, Capex, Assurance, WBS, Direct Reports, Schedule Analysis, Breakdown Structure, Opex
$69k-93k yearly est.EEDP RenovaveisRemote or Sacramento, CASenior Associate -Offshore Wind Project Engineer (West) (Hybrid remote work schedule)Skills: Engineering Projects, Opex, GIS, Assurance, Project Worker, Engineering Design, Risk Management, Estimate Jobs
$75k-105k yearly est.
UL, LLCRemote or DelawareEngineer Project Associate (m/w/d)UL stands at the forefront of technological advancement, and we are continually challenged to find new ways to foster innovation and positive change. What you’ll experience working at UL: + Interesting work: Your work at UL will challenge you to try fresh approaches, work autonomously, drive change and help you gain in-depth experience in your field Grow & achieve with targeted development, reward and recognition programs as well as your very own UL University. Working at UL is an exciting journey that twists and turns daily.
$69k-82k yearly est.
Bristol-Myers SquibbRemote or Field, MNProcess Analytics and Engineering Marketing Intern (REMOTE)Skills: Verbal Communication, ROI, BMS, Social Media-, Marketing Behavior, Sharepoint
$60k-77k yearly est.
OtsukaRemoteIntern The Otsuka Way – Applied Innovation and Process Improvement InternshipThe Applied Innovation and Process Improvement (AIPI) AIPI takes a focused approach to innovation and process improvement by identifying clear deliverables and prioritizing them based on the value to Otsuka. Otsuka is a dynamic and vibrant organization made up of motivated individuals we call Otsuka-people-people who have a shared mission for creating new products for better health worldwide. Otsuka’s Internship Program, Intern the Otsuka Way (InTOW) offers meaningful hands on project experiences that impact patient’s lives while providing students an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. Demonstrates behaviors aligned with the Otsuka Corporate Brand including Perseverance, Unconventional Thinking, and Humility
$32k-42k yearly est.
CrestronRemote or Plano, TXIntern – Summer 2022 – Order Processing (Remote – Plano)Overview Crestron Electronics continues to experience rapid growth as we invest in resources and create new opportunities; as a result, we have an exciting opportunity for aSummer 2022 Internto join our Order Processing Department in Plano, TX. + This role is designated as 100% remote, but candidates commutable to and from the Plano, TX area to attend internship events during the summer are preferred
$75k-85k yearly est.
Bristol Myers SquibbRemote or Fieldsboro, NJProcess Analytics and Engineering Marketing Intern (REMOTE)At Bristol Myers Squibb, we are inspired by a single vision – transforming patients’ lives through science. Bristol Myers Squibb recognizes the importance of balance and flexibility in our work environment.
$81k-109k yearly est.
Carmax, Inc.Remote or Richmond, VAProcess Engineer InternAs a Process Engineer Intern, you will work from our Corporate Offices in Richmond, VA identifying new opportunities within large projects to drive continuous improvements utilizing Lean concepts.
$83k-107k yearly est.
Wood PLCRemote or Philadelphia, PAProcess Engineering InternWood is currently seeking a Process Engineering Intern to join our Life Sciences (Biotechnology / Pharmaceuticals) team within our Philadelphia office to develop life-changing and in many cases, life-saving solutions for our clients.
$36k-47k yearly est.
Sandia CorporationRemote or Albuquerque, NMIntern – Engineering Processes R&D Undergraduate Year-RoundSandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation, with teams of specialists focused on cutting-edge work in a broad array of areas.
$97k-112k yearly est.
WHAT IS THE BEST CERTIFICATION FOR A CHEMICAL ENGINEER?
The Certified Chemical Engineer (CCE) certification is most common among Chemical Engineers. This certification is awarded by the National Certification Commission in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. This certification is great to have as it shows an improvement in your competency to perform your role. You can earn this certification at the beginning of your career, as it often doesn’t require a minimum education level and work experience. To become a certified Chemical Engineer with Certified Chemical Engineer (CCE), You need to pass the exam. This certificate requires more than two years of work experience. Renew certification every 3 year.
What are Some of the Most In-Demand Certifications For Chemical Engineers?
We analyzed online job postings to determine the most commonly asked-for certifications. The most popular certification requirement is Six Sigma Green Belt. By holding this certification, you will gain a more-competitive resume that will look impressive to potential employers.
Chemical Engineers are most likely to hold a combination of the following certifications: Certified Chemical Engineer (CCE), Six Sigma Green Belt, and Specialist in Chemistry (SC(ASCP)).