Career Attributes

  • $103,166
  • 32,700
  • 3.0
  • 7.3%
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Chemical Engineering
More Attributes


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.

What are Chemical Engineers like?


Based on our pool of users, Chemical Engineers tend to be predominately investigative people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Chemical Engineers by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 759 CareerExplorer users

Are Chemical Engineers happy?


Chemical Engineers rank among the least happy careers. Overall they rank in the 27th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Chemical Engineer Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Chemical Engineers

The most common degree held by Chemical Engineers is Chemical Engineering. 86% of Chemical Engineers had a degree in Chemical Engineering before becoming Chemical Engineers. That is over 163 times the average across all careers. Business Management And Administration graduates are the second most common among Chemical Engineers, representing 8% of Chemical Engineers in the CareerExplorer user base, which is 1.2 times the average.

Chemical Engineer Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming a Chemical Engineer, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of Chemical Engineers % of population Multiple
Chemical Engineering 86.0% 0.5% 163.0×
Business Management And Administration 7.8% 6.5% 1.2×
Chemistry 6.2% 1.1% 5.7×
Industrial Engineering 3.1% 0.3% 9.4×
Mechanical Engineering 3.1% 1.7% 1.9×
Engineering Management 3.1% 0.2% 16.7×
Computer Science 2.6% 3.0% 0.9×
Music 1.6% 0.9% 1.8×
Finance 1.6% 2.1% 0.7×
Mathematics 1.6% 1.9% 0.8×
Biological Engineering 1.6% 0.1% 21.6×

Chemical Engineer Education Levels

82% of Chemical Engineers have a bachelor's degree. 9% of Chemical Engineers have a master's degree.

No education 0%
High school diploma 0%
Associate's degree 0%
Bachelor's degree 82%
Master's degree 9%
Doctorate degree 9%

How to Become a Chemical Engineer

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Further Reading

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Recommended Books

  • Chemical Process Control: An Introduction to Theory and Practice

    A thorough overview of all aspects of chemical process control - process modeling, dynamic analyses of processing systems, a large variety of control schemes, synthesis of multivariable control configurations for single units and complete chemical plants, analysis and design of digital computer control systems.

  • Analysis, Synthesis and Design of Chemical Processes

    Realistic from start to finish, this updated edition moves readers beyond classroom exercises into open-ended, real-world process problem solving. The authors introduce integrated techniques for every facet of the discipline, from finance to operations, new plant design to existing process optimization.

  • Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook, Eighth Edition

    Now updated to reflect the latest technology and processes of the new millennium, the Eighth Edition of this classic guide provides unsurpassed coverage of every aspect of chemical engineering-from fundamental principles to chemical processes and equipment to new computer applications.

  • Chemical Engineering: The Essential Reference

    Chemical Engineering: The Essential Reference is the condensed but authoritative chemical engineering reference, boiled down to principles and hands-on skills needed to solve real-world problems. Emphasizing a pragmatic approach, the book delivers critical content in a convenient format and presents on-the-job topics of importance to the chemical engineer of tomorrow.

  • Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering

    A comprehensive chemical engineering text on unit operations, covering fluid mechanics, heat transfer, mass transfer, and solids handling. It contains a balanced treatment of theory and engineering practice, with many practical illustrative examples included.

  • Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics

    Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics, 7/e, presents comprehensive coverage of the subject of thermodynamics from a chemical engineering viewpoint. The text provides a thorough exposition of the principles of thermodynamics and details their application to chemical processes.

Career Attributes

  • $103,166
  • 32,700
  • 3.0
  • 7.3%
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Chemical Engineering
More Attributes