College Factual  by our College Data Analytics Team
       Unbiased Factual Guarantee

2023 Chemical Engineering Degree Guide

Chemical Engineers act as the liaison between scientific invention and manufactured goods. They turn ideas into products that can be successfully and affordably mass produced by using the principles of chemistry, biology, and physics.

A major in Chemical Engineering will learn how to design processes and equipment for large-scale manufacturing, plan and test these methods as well as supervising production. These products can vary from things like cookies, perfume fragrance or office supplies. You may also work more closely with manufacturers to solve issues like rust or pollution. This is an interesting field because it allows you to produce things that people want by learning how to use the commercial applications of chemical reactions. This major will open the door for many opportunities and you can pick what interests you most.

Courses that you may come across in this major include: organic chemistry, biochemistry, physical chemistry, physics, reactor kinetics, reactor design, materials science, mechanics, geometry, environmental engineering, engineering statistics, computer science, calculus, heat and mass transfer, and engineering graphics.

One concentrations available within this major is bimolecular engineering.

Chemical Engineering Degrees Decreasing

#70 Most Popular Major
12.9k Degrees Awarded
-5.4% Increase in Graduates

Chemical Engineering was the 70th most popular major in the 2020-2021 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 12,917 degrees in this year alone. This 693 less than the prior year, a decrease of 5.4%.

Our 2023 Best Chemical Engineering Schools ranking analyzes 154 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for chemical engineering students. Explore this or one of our many other custom chem eng rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Chemical Engineering
2023 Overall Best Chemical Engineering Colleges >

Best Chemical Engineering Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Chemical Engineering
Bachelor's Degrees in Chemical Engineering
Master's Degrees in Chemical Engineering
Doctorate Degrees in Chemical Engineering

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Chemical Engineering

To be successful in this major, you need to be determined and a hard worker. Engineering majors are heavy in math and science, so students should be comfortable in those fields. Chemical Engineering is not an easy major, but is very rewarding for students who are curious, creative and enjoy using logic to solve complex problems.

Both in college work and in your career you will often find yourself working on a team. Learn to perfect your teamwork and communication skills while still in college. When you get a job, you will also be working with a variety people in production in order to achieve goals.

Prior Education for a Chem Eng Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most chem eng degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific chem eng careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Chemical Engineering Degree Types

There are many different chem eng degree levels. You can get anything from a in chemical engineering to the highest chem eng degree, a . Chemical Engineering programs can take anywhere between one to four or more years for a full-time student to complete.

DegreeCredit RequirementsTypical Program Length
Associate Degree60-70 credits2 years
Bachelor’s Degree120 credits4 years
Master’s Degree50-70 credits1-3 years
DoctorateProgram required coursework including thesis or dissertationAt least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to chem eng, with approximately 43.9% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to chem eng tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of EducationPercentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree47.8%
Master’s Degree23.3%
Doctoral Degree14.7%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate3.3%
Post-Doctoral Training3.2%

Most workers in chem eng have at least a master's degree. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in chemical engineering have obtained.


The education level required is different depending on the chem eng career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for Chem Eng Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$65.9k Average Starting Salary
7% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Growth Projected for Chem Eng Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your chem eng degree? Chemical Engineering careers are expected to grow 7.1% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to chemical engineering.

Occupation NameProjected JobsExpected Growth
Architectural and Engineering Managers190,0005.5%
Engineering Professors54,60014.7%
Chemical Engineers35,1007.3%

How Much Money Do People With a Chem Eng Degree Make?

Chemical Engineering graduates between 2017-2019 reported earning an average of $65,896 in the 2019-2020 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $38,910 to as high as $112,828. As you might expect, salaries for chem eng graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Chem Eng Majors

Salaries for chemical engineering graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers chem eng grads often go into.

Occupation NameMedian Average Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers$148,970
Chemical Engineers$114,470
Engineering Professors$113,680

Getting Your Chemical Engineering Degree

With over 510 different chem eng degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased chem eng school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering is one of 40 different types of Engineering programs to choose from.

Chem Eng Concentrations

MajorAnnual Graduates
Chemical Engineering12,690
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering227

View All Chem Eng Focus Areas >

Related MajorAnnual Graduates
Mechanical Engineering46,178
Electrical Engineering28,844
Civil Engineering21,388
Computer Engineering17,987
Biomedical Engineering12,811

View All Chem Eng Related Majors >


Popular Reports

College Rankings
Best by Location
Degree Guides by Major
Graduate Programs

Compare Your School Options