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Life As a Chemical Engineer

Career Description Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, plastics, detergents, cement, paper, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.

Chemical Engineer Responsibilities

  • Conduct research to develop new and improved chemical manufacturing processes.
  • Develop safety procedures to be employed by workers operating equipment or working in close proximity to ongoing chemical reactions.
  • Evaluate chemical equipment and processes to identify ways to optimize performance or to ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations.
  • Develop processes to separate components of liquids or gases or generate electrical currents, using controlled chemical processes.
  • Troubleshoot problems with chemical manufacturing processes.
  • Monitor and analyze data from processes and experiments.

Skills Needed to be a Chemical Engineer

Below is a list of the skills most Chemical Engineers say are important on the job.

Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Systems Analysis: Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

  • Gas Combustion Engineer
  • Process Control Engineer
  • Absorption and Adsorption Engineer
  • Blending Coordinator
  • Explosives Engineer

Job Outlook for Chemical Engineers

There were about 32,700 jobs for Chemical Engineers in 2016 (in the United States).

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 7.5% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 2,500 new jobs for Chemical Engineers by 2026. The BLS estimates 2,400 yearly job openings in this field per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Chemical Engineers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Chemical Engineers are Texas, Louisiana, and California.

Watch out if you plan on working in Kentucky, West Virginia, or District of Columbia. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Chemical Engineer Salary

The typical yearly salary for Chemical Engineers is somewhere between $64,890 and $169,770. The median salary for this occupation is $104,910.

Salary Ranges for Chemical Engineers

How much do Chemical Engineers make in each U.S. state?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Texas

$147,720

Alaska

$134,440

New Jersey

$122,210

Delaware

$120,280

District of Columbia

$117,470

Idaho

$114,140

Maryland

$113,670

Alabama

$112,780

Virginia

$111,440

Louisiana

$111,090

New Mexico

$110,020

Massachusetts

$109,950

Mississippi

$109,940

Iowa

$107,490

Oklahoma

$107,290

Tennessee

$106,830

Missouri

$105,990

Wyoming

$105,490

Washington

$103,620

California

$103,590

Michigan

$102,780

Kentucky

$101,180

Colorado

$100,670

New York

$100,380

North Carolina

$99,810

Arizona

$99,580

Indiana

$99,010

Minnesota

$98,910

Oregon

$98,810

Kansas

$98,090

West Virginia

$97,430

Pennsylvania

$97,390

Florida

$96,120

Ohio

$96,080

Utah

$95,000

Illinois

$94,830

Wisconsin

$92,310

Georgia

$91,530

Nebraska

$90,600

Rhode Island

$90,180

Connecticut

$89,660

South Carolina

$87,880

Arkansas

$87,880

Montana

$87,350

New Hampshire

$79,110

What Tools & Technology do Chemical Engineers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Chemical Engineers may use on a daily basis:

  • C++
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Office
  • Dassault Systemes CATIA
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • CAD/CAM
  • Microsoft Excel
  • PTC Creo Parametric
  • SAP
  • Structured query language SQL

Who Employs Chemical Engineers?

Chemical Engineer Sectors

Those interested in being a Chemical Engineer may also be interested in:

  • Product Safety Engineers

Career changers with experience as a Chemical Engineer sometimes find work in one of the following fields:

  • Environmental Engineers

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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