CareerExplorer’s step-by-step guide on how to become a chemical engineer.
Is becoming a chemical engineer right for me?
The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:
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Frequently Asked Questions
How to become a Chemical Engineer
Most jobs in chemical engineering require a minimum of a bachelor's degree. In the US and Canada, earning a BS or BA in chemical engineering will require intensive courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, and other related subjects. The engineering degrees awarded in other countries may have other names; for example, in the UK, students may pursue a bachelor of engineering (BEng Hons) or a more advanced master of engineering (MEng Hons) degree. However, the material that is studied is the same.
To become licensed as an engineer, university graduates may take the fundamentals of engineering exam, which is given by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). In the US, each state also has its own licensing exam for engineers who are going to work in the public sector.
Continuing on to earn a master's or doctorate degree is one way to increase job opportunities, earning power, and to specialize in an area of interest. Just a few areas of specialization for chemical engineers are biochemical engineering, biotechnology, polymers, polymer processing, materials engineering, agriculture, or pollution control.
Those considering a career as a chemical engineer need to be very science-minded and have good analytical, planning, and problem solving skills. An element of creativity is important for being able to come up with new solutions to problems. They must thrive on intellectual challenges. The ability to work both independently and as part of a team on projects is very important. Many engineers must read and write reports and papers, so written communication skills are also important.