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Chemical Engineering Career Offers Myriad Job Opportunities, Stability

April 5, 2023
Resources delve deeper into what a future career in the chemical industry might look like from the eyes of seasoned chemical engineers.

Did you always know exactly what you wanted to be when you grew up? When researching a potential career, it helps to know if your own skillsets match what’s needed to succeed in a certain industry, and whether the salary will match future lifestyle goals.

Fortunately, a variety of sources online offer insight, including a recent article from Entrepreneur magazine that suggests with the right technical, analytical, critical- and creative-thinking skillsets, a job as a chemical engineer could be the right one for young adults with a mathematical aptitude. The article even includes a handy list of the top schools for chemical engineering degrees and states with the highest employment level.

In addition, with an engineering aptitude, a degree in ChemE often offers a variety of job opportunities with chemical manufacturing spanning a wide sector of industry ranging from basic chemicals to rubber, petrochem, fertilizers and soaps. The choices and routes to take in this field are endless and always evolving.

Another source to determine if chemical engineering suits the next generation is to check out wage data. Forbes recently listed chemical engineering as one of the top 5 highest paying engineering jobs in the United States. Analyzing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Forbes reports that chemical engineers experienced the biggest growth in average annual pay, which increased by 15.58% from $105,420 in 2016 to $121,849 in 2021.

Need more research? Consider online career quizzes, college and high school career days, and shadow-an-engineer programs. But it's often most helpful when you can hear straight from the source, uninhibited. Other chemical engineers, telling it like it is. Chemical Processing’s annual Job Satisfaction and Salary Survey ebook has no shortage of this. In addition to its salary report, the ebook is a great place to delve deeper into what your future career might look like from the eyes (or really, words) of seasoned chemical engineers. Our survey participants (and potentially your future colleagues) were not shy in encouraging the field and providing great career advice to green engineers and potential newcomers.

For instance, one of our respondents advised, “Self-study regardless of your education level is paramount. There are opportunities in the field commensurate with the amount you are willing to apply yourself.”

Another suggested: “Be prepared to work hard and take advice from others who have gone before you. Too many of the younger employees I have worked with have felt entitled to many ‘extras’ that I didn't have starting out. It takes time to develop a work reputation and the ‘extras’ will come later. Don't expect to have everything on the first day and be managing the plant in three years!”

Others simply shared their love for the field.

“Chemical engineering is very broad and is a great field. You can do almost anything!”

“Chemical engineering is a very rewarding field of study both financially and personally.”

Adding to the chem engineering accolades, a recent poll on our website asked, “How strongly would you recommend that a high school student today get a chemical engineering degree?” A whopping 80% strongly or moderately recommended the degree.

Even experienced engineers can learn a thing or two from researching career data and following our annual survey results, such as gleaning insight into the future of processing operations, how salaries compare in each field, and how other chemical engineers are faring. As many of our respondents said, “never stop learning.”

DOWNLOAD OUR EXCLUSIVE JOB SATISFACTION AND SALARY EBOOK

In this eBook, find out what survey participants had to say about their salaries, work-life balance, job roles, and more. You’ll also find infographics and comments from readers that we couldn’t fit in the print magazine article. Download the eBook

TAKE THE 2023 SALARY SURVEY NOW

Our popular job satisfaction and salary survey is now open for 2023 participants. The new and improved streamlined questionnaire asks insightful questions to gauge industry morale, and your responses help current industry professionals see how their careers stack up. Future newcomers to the industry also will get valuable insight to help determine if this is the career for them. Take the survey now.

About the Author

Amanda Joshi | Managing Editor

Amanda Joshi has more than 18 years of experience in business-to-business publishing for both print and digital content. Before joining Chemical Processing, she worked with Manufacturing.net and Electrical Contracting Products. She’s a versatile, award-winning editor with experience in writing and editing technical content, executing marketing strategy, developing new products, attending industry events and developing customer relationships. 

Amanda graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2001 with a B.A. in English and has been an English teacher. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and daughter, and their mini Aussiedoodle, Riley. In her rare spare time, she enjoys reading, tackling DIY projects, and horseback riding.

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