Chemical Engineer Career

chemical-engineer-500Chemical engineers work in a variety of industries. Any industry that involves chemicals or products that use chemicals in their creation needs chemical engineers. Chemical engineers can work in research and development, manufacturing, or both.

These professionals need a strong background in the sciences as they apply knowledge from chemistry and related fields to solve problems and design systems. They might have to work with hazardous substances.

Those who work in research will work a typical 9-5 shift with extra hours expected when projects are due. If a chemical engineer works in manufacturing, they will work on a shift schedule and will have to work nights, evenings, and weekend.

Chemical Engineer Career Snapshot

The fields that most commonly hire chemical engineers are engineering services, chemical manufacturing, science research and development, petroleum manufacturing, and synthetic rubber manufacturing. They have a management role at work and oversee both technicians and systems to ensure they are functioning properly.

Further details on a career as a chemical engineer are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly salary for chemical engineers.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Bachelor’s degree while 16% have a Master’s degree.

Chemical Engineer Education

A bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering is required for the position of chemical engineer. Those who want to work in research will also need to get their master’s or doctor of philosophy degree. Students should pursue internships, time working in a professor’s lab, and job shadowing to gain practical experience.

Chemical Engineer Job Duties

Chemical engineers who work in a research lab will be working with chemicals to develop and test products or medicines, experimenting to develop new laboratory procedures and equipment, and move projects from development to review and evaluation. Chemical engineers who work in manufacturing will design and assess large-scale processes, monitor quality assurance, and ensure safety is followed by all employees.

Chemical Engineer Salaries

The median salary for a chemical engineer was $97,360 in May 2015 according to data. The 10th percentile of earners can expect an income below $59,470 while the 90th percentile can enjoy an income of above $157,160 dollars. The industries that have the highest median salary are petroleum manufacturing, and engineering services. Engineering services is an opportunity for self-employment or starting your own firm.

Chemical Engineer Job Outlook

The market for open chemical engineering jobs is projected to grow 2% through 2024. This slow growth is primarily due to a reduction in overall manufacturing jobs. Chemical engineers with a background in biology will be more competitive in the job market. Chemical engineers can also go overseas to work in many of the industries that outsource jobs.

Chemical Engineer Skills & Traits

Chemical Engineer Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Chemical Engineers:Typical Work Activities:
• Science
• Complex Problem Solving
• Critical Thinking
• Decision Making
• Systems Analysis
• Information Ordering
• Mathematical Reasoning
• Problem Sensitivity
• Category Flexibility
• Deductive Reasoning
• Catalytic combustion analyzers
• Chromatographic scanners
• Laboratory mixers
• Vial handling systems
• Ultrafiltration equipment
• Solving problems
• Analyzing data
• Getting information
• Communicating with others
• Working with computers

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