Three Career Considerations for Chemical Engineering Majors

Are you a high school senior or college freshman who is strong in math and science, but undecided about what to study? Engineering continues to be a field with an annual wage that is significantly higher than that of all occupations. There are many different disciplines and practice areas that fall under engineering with opportunities in both the private and public sectors. Chemical Engineering is a classic discipline with applications across several industries. Here are some common paths for chemical engineering majors.

Traditional Job Functions

Many chemical engineers find rewarding careers in oil and gas, pharmaceutical and traditional or specialty chemical industries. These positions require designers to apply principles of chemistry, mathematics and other science disciplines to design and solve problems. Many of these types of engineers work in offices, laboratories, plants and/or refineries. A chemical engineer may work in research, production and process design. If this sounds like the path for you, you may be responsible for developing and designing processes, operation protocols and testing equipment.

Emerging Opportunities

Given the strong applied science and math background of most chemical engineers, educated graduates are in high demand for multidisciplinary teams. This includes job functions that don’t strictly fall under chemical engineering, but require the problem-solving and analytical skills that are learned in this discipline. With many industries turning their eyes towards sustainability and environmentally responsible processes, chemical engineers can find positions in environmental process engineering and cutting edge research and technology.


Chemical engineers possess analytical and technical skills that are transferrable. Careers in startup and other types of enterprise are good options because they require creativity and unique approaches to solving problems and analyzing data. Having an engineering degree signals that you can learn nearly anything and apply your skills to almost any field or industry.

For the undecided high school or college student, the opportunities for a career are endless. Chemical engineering is a traditional field of study that lends itself to typical and atypical career choices. There continues to be a strong need in the world for engineers with this type of education and experience.

Roger Walker

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