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Best Chemical Engineering Careers With Salaries

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Having a degree in chemical engineering provides unlimited career opportunities for variety and growth. Students majoring in chemical engineering gain the technical skills and knowledge required to find solutions to some of the world’s most critical problems involving natural resources, technology and healthcare. This article explores some of the most popular chemical engineering careers, skills and qualifications to help you decide on a field of interest.

What is a chemical engineering degree?

Some of the most common industries for chemical engineer majors include:

  • Government
  • Consulting
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Design and construction
  • Manufacturing

Chemical engineering degrees provide people with the advanced technical skills needed for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It’s considered to be a broad degree field that covers the development, design and control of certain processes and products concerning molecular change. The operation of chemical and biological change exists in many industries. 

Best chemical engineering jobs

Here are some of the best jobs for students graduating with a degree in chemical engineering:

Analytical Chemist

National Average Salary: $57,485 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Analytical Chemists are commonly employed in the environmental sector as well as other science-related industries. They test and analyze wet chemicals, metals, organic chemicals and other constituents. In addition, they record and enter results into a database. Other duties include keeping inventory of chemicals and solutions, along with maintaining equipment and instruments. They may also attend workshops and group meetings to stay current on regulations and trends.

Energy Engineer

National Average Salary: $73,721 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Energy Engineers perform a variety of duties related to processing energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal power, water, oil, gas, nuclear power and biofuels. Specific duties depend on the job position but often include researching new methods and techniques related to extracting sources of energy. They also design, develop and build equipment and plants that help encourage energy efficiency.

Project Engineer

National Average Salary: $79,119 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Project Engineers oversee the technical and engineering projects of a company. They specialize in budget and time management and oversee costs, scheduling and manage employees involved with various projects. Project Engineers also troubleshoot any problems that occur on-site and know how to handle stressful situations. 

Environmental Engineer

National Average Salary: $80,257 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Environmental Engineers have a focus on keeping people safe from pollution and other sources of adverse environmental effects and public health issues. They use their knowledge of biology and chemistry to create solutions for better recycling initiatives, waste disposal, air pollution control and other threats on a local and national level.

Project Manager

National Average Salary: $83,234 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Project Managers exist in many industries, including the engineering field. They have many responsibilities associated with the management of projects in various departments. For example, they are in charge of planning, procuring and executing projects in an efficient manner. This involves managing employees responsible for certain aspects of the project, as well as managing the resources, time, dates and concerns related to each project.

Process Engineer

National Average Salary: $87,861 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Process Engineers perform a variety of tasks that involve research, problem-solving and design. They direct facility operations, create processes and equipment for large-scale production, then plan and test their production methods. Research is an important part of the job, as Process Engineers look for ways to create new manufacturing processes and improve safety procedures for those who work with dangerous chemicals.  

Research Scientist

National Average Salary: $88,744 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Research Scientists have the responsibility of conducting the research needed to complete projects and test theories. They typically work with other scientists and other team members and provide guidance to junior staff members. Once they’ve collected their relevant data, they write reports and present their findings to the appropriate audiences.

Quality Manager

National Average Salary: $89,908 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Quality Managers ensure that certain standards are met regarding safety, manufacturing, legal, health and other areas. They work in a wide range of industries and teach employees how to properly set up and follow systems designed to achieve company standards. When problems occur, they act accordingly to fix them.

Chemical Engineer

National Average Salary: $90,516 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Chemical Engineers are well-versed in the principles of chemistry, biology, physics and math. They perform a variety of duties related to safety procedures, processes and equipment. For instance, they use controlled chemical processes to generate electrical currents, provide cost estimates to key stakeholders, develop processes that separate liquids and gases and may perform research. 

Nuclear Engineer

National Average Salary: $92,691 per year

Role and Responsibilities:  Nuclear Engineers are responsible for many aspects of nuclear energy and radiation. They conduct research to create efficient processes for systems and instruments used in industrial and medical fields. Nuclear research improves the safety of nuclear reactors and other sources powered by nuclear energy, including spacecraft, ships and submarines. Nuclear engineers maintain current systems, monitor usage and enforce safety procedures.

Petroleum Engineer

National Average Salary: $102,513 per year

Role and Responsibilities: Petroleum Engineers work in oil and gas extraction, while some support active mining. Their role includes evaluating, managing, installing, maintaining and operating equipment located at drilling sites. They spend the majority of their time in labs and offices, but sometimes visit drillings sites for an extended period of time. It is common for Petroleum Engineers to complete 84-hour work rotations when they’re visiting oil fields.

Popular skills and qualifications to list on a resume for chemical engineering jobs

While every job is different, here is a list of popular skills and qualifications that you can list on your resume when applying for chemical engineering jobs: 

Analytical skills

Knowing how to analyze information related to specific processes is critical for anyone employed in the field of chemical engineering. Most jobs involve research that produces data, which necessitates evaluation to make informed decisions.

Advanced math skills

Chemical Engineers use their knowledge of advanced math concepts frequently to perform equations related to their jobs. As they design materials and develop new processes, they use math equations and formulas to find solutions.

Creativity

Knowing how to solve problems in a variety of ways helps businesses find the right solutions that work best for them. Chemical Engineers invent new processes and designs, as well as create efficient work strategies that necessitate creativity.

Interpersonal skills

Chemical Engineers communicate with a variety of different people in the workplace and with clients in other fields. They must be able to interact with others in a positive and clear way when conveying information related to complex scientific principles.

Problem-solving skills

One of the main roles required of a Chemical Engineer is to find solutions to existing problems. For this reason, it is important to have strong problem-solving capabilities.