How to Become a Chemical Engineer?

Are you thinking of becoming a Chemical Engineer or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Chemical Engineer, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Chemical Engineer job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineers apply scientific principles to develop products and solve production issues. While a formal education is an absolute must, chemical engineers possess skills that can't be taught in a classroom. Successful chemical engineers excel at communication, teamwork, and creative problem-solving. As a chemical engineer, you should be willing to put in extra hours to meet tight deadlines. If you're good at working under pressure and adapting to unexpected situations, then you're ready to take the following steps:

Pursue a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering

If you want to work as a chemical engineer, you must have at least a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering. Make sure your degree program has an accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). An ABET accreditation proves to employers that your degree meets the quality standards of the profession. Typically, it takes four years to complete a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering, and the coursework includes analyzing and inventing chemical products and processes. You'll also learn how to design equipment for chemical manufacturing.

While pursuing a bachelor's degree will give you a solid foundation to build your chemical engineering career, a master's degree will qualify you more even more job opportunities, including managerial positions. You'll also learn more advanced laboratory and research skills when you complete a master's program. Plus, if you ever want to transition into teaching, you'll need to complete a master's degree and a doctorate.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Chemical Engineer?

90% of people working as a Chemical Engineer earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be a Chemical Engineer?

  • Continuous Improvement
  • Lean Six Sigma
  • Problem Solving
  • AutoCAD
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Sealants
  • Excellent Communication
  • Excellent Organizational
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Chemical Engineer in the United States.

Apply for chemical engineer internships

Consider applying for available chemical engineering internships as you're completing your bachelor's degree or entering a graduate program. Chemical engineer interns typically provide senior engineers with field support and assist with research. As an intern, you'll learn how to handle chemical engineering projects effectively and gain valuable practical experience. Plus, it isn't uncommon for an internship to turn into a permanent position. Even if it doesn't, an internship is an excellent addition to your job resume and a chance to grow your professional network.


Apply for entry-level chemical engineering jobs

After completing your degree and gaining experience as an intern, it's time to start applying for chemical engineering jobs. Remember that chemical engineering is a competitive field and you might only qualify for entry-level positions when you first start applying. However, these positions will give you the opportunity to expand your knowledge and acclimate to working on chemical engineering projects. Some jobs you can apply to include entry-level chemical engineer or production engineer.


Earn a PE license in chemical engineering

If you've worked for at least four years under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer (PE), you can apply for your own PE license in chemical engineering. Earning a PE license will make you eligible for supervisory roles, and most states require you to hold a PE license if you want to establish a private practice.

Chemical Engineer Career Path

Chemical Engineer

2 - 4Years of Experience
$39K - $90K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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26% advanced to

Senior Chemical Engineer

2 - 4Years of Experience
Not Enough Salary Reports
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Principal Chemical Engineer

8+Years of Experience
Not Enough Salary Reports
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Salary Trajectory

Chemical Engineer Career Path

Summer Intern Chemical Engineer
Chemical Engineer
Senior Chemical Engineer
Principal Chemical Engineer

Related careers in the Engineering Industry

Interested in other Engineering careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Chemical Engineer skills. Discover some of the most common Chemical Engineer career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Project Engineer
38% skills overlap
16% transitioned to Project Engineer