Chemical Engineers - Career, Education & Salary

The field of engineering offers vast scope for candidates. One of the most fulfilling and profitable careers in engineering is becoming chemical engineers. These professionals use the principles of chemistry for the manufacturing a wide range of chemical products. Besides production of chemical products, chemical engineers also design equipment for chemical plants. These engineers apply principles of chemistry and physics and engineering technology to manufacture products like synthetic rubber, plastic, gasoline, detergents, paper, cement etc. While doing their job, engineers are confronted with multiple problems that they need to solve using technology and by applying principles of chemistry. In case of large scale manufacturing, chemical engineers also design the manufacturing equipment and test the manufacturing method before implementing the procedure.

Not only in the field of chemical manufacturing, but these engineers also work in a variety of other manufacturing industries. This, in turn, increases the career scope for these professionals. Industries like electronics, food, paper and clothing have multiple scope for chemical engineers. Apart from working in these industries, these engineers can also join fields like healthcare and biotechnology. By gaining more experience and expertise, engineers can also choose to specialize in a specific area according to their interest and preference. They can either choose to specialize in a specific chemical process or products. Chemical engineers can specialize in chemical processes like oxidation, polymerization or nanomaterials.

The job of a chemical engineer also demands responsibilities. While performing their task, the engineers must be well versed with the chemical processes involved in the manufacturing of products. They should know how these processes can have an effect on the environment. Chemical engineers need to do their work without making an harm to the environment, consumers and the workers. Every stage of the entire manufacturing process is thoroughly revised by the engineers to ensure the safety of workers as well. Long work-related experience is valued highly in the field of chemical engineering.

Education & Training
For entry level positions in the field of chemical engineering, candidates need to equip themselves with a bachelor's degree in engineering. Engineering degrees can be obtained in electrical, mechanical, electronics or civil engineering. Engineers trained in one branch can have the flexibility of joining other related branches of engineering. This flexibility benefits employers as well as engineers. While employers can easily meet their staffing needs, engineers can have multiple career opportunities to choose from and can also shift fields depending on the prospects and interests. Besides the engineering degrees mentioned above, many colleges also offer specialized courses or training programs in engineering technology, the duration ranging between 2 to 4 years.

Candidates who have been trained in 4-year technology programs can land jobs similar to those candidates that carry a bachelor's degree in engineering. Around 1,830 college and university programs across America have the accreditation of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). In addition to this, the board has also provided its accreditation to 710 engineering technology programs.

Work Environment & Salary
While working as chemical engineers, professionals will be working in laboratories, manufacturing plants or offices. Depending on the requirement, engineers may also need to spend time outdoors. Chemical engineers usually work 40 hours a week. Around 33,000 jobs for chemical engineers are expected by the year 2016. The median annual salary of chemical engineers is $78.860. Starting salary of chemical engineers is the highest as compared to other graduate level jobs.