What Is the Education Required to Become a Chemical Engineer?

Becoming a chemical engineer requires an education in chemical engineering at either the undergraduate or graduate level. Chemical engineers typically hold either a bachelor's degree, master's degree, and/or Ph.D. in chemical engineering. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Degree Overviews

  • Bachelor's Degree: A baccalaureate degree in chemical engineering can prepare you for a career in the field. The degree focuses on understanding the properties of substances and methods of synthesizing those substances for medical, electronic, mechanical, and other commercial purposes. Despite its name, a chemical engineering education includes not just chemistry, but also biology, physics, and mathematics. The fundamentals of a chemical engineering degree are covered in core courses on chemical kinetics, thermodynamics, and transport processes. After those courses, students can specialize their studies in a specific area of chemical engineering.
  • Master's Degree: A master's degree in chemical engineering is designed either for chemical engineers who want to do more advanced work or for students interested in a career as a chemical engineer, but who hold a bachelor's degree in a different field. Like the bachelor's degree, a master's program covers the core areas of thermodynamics, kinetics, and transport processes. A master's degree program will typically include research or field study in areas such as energy, biotechnology, or product development.
  • Ph.D.: A Ph.D. program, the most advanced option for study in chemical engineering, requires you to have taken the core courses of bachelor's and master's programs. Curricula typically includes further study in general engineering and more focused chemical engineering courses. Most programs require original research and written and oral exams. Further coursework in chemical engineering for a Ph.D. may cover numerical methods in chemical engineering, chemical engineering thermodynamics, analysis of transport phenomena, and chemical reactor engineering.

Important Facts About Chemical Engineering

Entry-Level Education Bachelor's Degree
Possible Careers Research or manufacturing in the energy, food or material production, environment, or biomedicine industries
Median Salary (2018) $104,910
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth
On-the-Job Training Many programs offer internships or field study components

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • 1. Degree Options:
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