Chemical Engineering Degree

Chemical engineers use their knowledge of chemistry, math, physics and economics to identify and solve technical problems. A student who graduates with a chemical engineering degree can find employment in a wide variety of industries that produce such products as chemicals, petroleum, minerals, glass and ceramics, plastics and resins, soaps and detergents, cosmetics, food, microchips, synthetic fibers, textiles, pharmaceuticals, paint, and paper. Graduates who posses chemical engineering degrees work in such fields as applied physics, applied mathematic, medicine, biochemistry, patent law, industrial management and sales.

What Type of Chemical Engineering Degrees do Universities Offer?

Students entering into a chemical engineering program can generally choose an emphasis or focus for their studies such as:

  • Biochemical- A biochemical engineering emphasis helps to prepare students who plan on entering the growing biochemical industry. Some students have also found a biochemical engineering degree an excellent pre-med degree program.
  • Environmental- An environmental engineering emphasis helps to prepare students planning on working on such environmental issues as waste management, pollution control and sustainability.
  • Materials- The creation of new materials opens the door to new technologies in fields as diverse as construction, aeronautics and agriculture. A materials focus will give graduates the tools they need to be on the forefront of these exciting new technological breakthroughs.

What Kind of Course Curriculum Does a Chemical Engineering Degree Require?

Chemical engineering requires students to learn subjects related to both chemistry and engineering. Students can expect to take introductory level classes in:

  • Analytical geometry
  • Calculus
  • General chemistry
  • Physics
  • Organic chemistry
  • Differential equations
  • Thermodynamic
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Chemical reaction engineering
  • Statistic

With a course load like that, it becomes apparent why chemical engineering degrees often have the reputation of being the most difficult on campus.

Salary Expectations for Graduates with a Degree in Chemical Engineering

Students graduating with a degree in chemical engineering can expect a well paying position when they find a job after college.

  • In a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, engineering majors earned four of the top five spots for highest paid majors for the class of 2011. 
  • In a 2011 report from the Georgetown University that analyzed the earning of 171 different majors, the highest paying major was engineering with a median earning of $75,000. Eight of the top 10 majors in the Georgetown report were in fields related to engineering.
  • Forbes Magazine ranked engineering as the top paying entry-level position for graduates just out of college. Applicants who possessed a bachelor’s degree in the field had a median starting salary of $53,000 a year.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job opening in engineering will grow at a national average of 11 percent over the next 10 years. Specialty fields such as chemical engineering are expected to grow at an even more substantial rate, specifically biomedical engineering, which has an expected growth rate of 72 percent over the next decade.

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