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9 Facts About Chemical Engineers You Should Know

Chemical engineers

Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, physics, and math to solve problems. These problems involve the production of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and many other products.

They also design processes and equipment for large-scale manufacturing. In addition, these science based jobs plan and test production methods. They also look at byproducts treatment as well as direct facility operations.

Chemical Engineer Quick Facts

Work Environment

Chemical engineers work in offices or laboratories. They can also work in industrial plants, refineries, and other locations. It’s at these other locations where they monitor or direct operations or solve onsite problems. As you might guess, nearly all chemical engineers work full time.

How to Become a Chemical Engineer

To become a chemical engineer, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.


The median annual wage for chemical engineers was $108,770 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of chemical engineers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Because the demand for chemical engineers’ services depends largely on demand for the products, job growth can fluctuate.

chemical engineer
Factory worker technologist in protective uniform with hairnet and mask controlling food production on tablet computer.

10 Facts About Chemical Engineers

1. Some Chemical Engineers are All About Developing Processes

Whether it’s conducting research to develop new and improved manufacturing processes, or developing processes, chemical engineers look to create efficiency.

For example, some chemical engineers are known as process engineers. In other words, these process engineers specialize in a particular process, such as oxidation or polymerization.

2. They Can Perform Specialized Work in Nanomaterials or Biology.

While some chemical engineer specialize in processes, others specialize in a field.

For instance, they can specialize in nanomaterials. Nanomaterials are extremely small substances. Chemical engineers can also specialize in biological engineering.

3. Chemical Engineers Work in Many different Industries.

Chemical engineers don’t just work with chemicals. They can also work in the production of energy, electronics, food, clothing, and paper.

To work in these fields, chemical engineers must understand two things. Firstly, they have to know how the manufacturing process affects the environment. Secondly, chemical engineers have to understand how their work affects the safety of workers and consumers.

4. Chemical Engineers Held About 32,600 Jobs in 2019.

5. You Can Find Them Working in the Office and the Lab.

Chemical engineers work in offices or laboratories. That means they may spend time at industrial plants, refineries, and other locations. It’s at these locations where they monitor or direct operations or solve onsite problems.

Chemical engineers must be able to work with those who design other systems. In other words, they have to work with the technicians and mechanics who designed the system. Some engineers travel extensively.

6. Being a Chemical Engineer Can Be Dangerous.

Chemical engineers can be exposed to health or safety hazards. Because they handle certain chemicals and plant equipment, they follow strict safety guidelines as part of their job.

7. Chemical Engineers Must Have a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering or a Related Field.

Employers of chemical engineers value practical experience. As a result, internships and cooperative engineering programs can be helpful for getting a job.

College programs in chemical engineering usually take 4 years to complete. They include classroom, laboratory, and field studies.

High school students who are interested in studying chemical engineering should study science. For example they should take courses in chemistry, physics, and biology. They also should take math courses, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

At some universities, students can enroll in a 5-year engineering programs that lead to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.

8. Texas Hires the Most Chemical Engineers.

As of May 2019, Texas had the most employment of chemical engineers at 7,260. The Lone Star state was followed by California, Louisiana and New Jersey. Texas was also the highest paying state for this occupation at $150,510 average salary as of May 2019.

9. The Need For Alternative Fuel is Fueling the Need for Chemical Engineers.

The need to find alternative fuels to meet increasing energy demand while maintaining environmental sustainability will continue to require the expertise of chemical engineers in oil- and gas-related industries.

In addition, the integration of chemical and biological sciences and rapid advances in innovation will create new areas in biotechnology and in medical and pharmaceutical fields for them to work in. Thus, those with a background in biology will have better chances to gain employment.

Chemical Engineer Similar Jobs

Agricultural Engineers
Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers    
Fire-Prevention and Protection Engineers
Mining and Geological Engineers, Including Mining Safety Engineers
Energy Engineers, Except Wind and Solar

More Information

For more information on becoming a chemical engineer, visit

American Institute of Chemical Engineers

For information about general engineering education and career resources, visit

American Society for Engineering Education

Technology Student Association

For information about accredited engineering programs, visit


For information on internships opportunities, visit

American Institute of Chemical Engineers Career Center

For more information about licensure as a professional engineer, visit

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying

National Society of Professional Engineers

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Chemical Engineers,
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Kate Williams

Kate Williams is a business communications expert and is the editor of Job Affirmations. She is a professional resume writer and has studied Myers-Briggs personality types and how they influence career choice. Job Affirmations has hundreds of job descriptions categorized by the 16 Myers-Briggs types, by career interests and work values. Kate also shares her best writing tips including the proper formatting of emails and cover letters You'll find positive affirmations for work, inspirational quotes, career vision boards for your best year ever.


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