Pros & Cons of Chemical Engineering


Chemical engineering deals with converting raw resources and chemicals into finished, and consequently more useful, goods; it also deals with the design, improvement and maintenance of existing goods and services. Experts in chemical engineering are referred to as chemical engineers, though titles, like "process engineer," are applied to specialists in more specific fields.


  • Money is a determinant for chasing any particular career; chemical engineering is a very well-paying job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by May 2009,

    the median salary of a chemical engineer was $88,280; this figure could rise to as high as $132,980 depending on your employer. Just as in other professions, your level of study will determine the amount of salary you are paid; that is, a bachelor's degree holder will earn less than someone with an advanced degree.

Career Opportunities

  • Chemical engineers have plenty of job opportunities. In the US alone, chemical engineers occupy about 30,000 jobs. In statistics, this figure translates to about 2 percent of the1.5 million engineering jobs in the country. Job opportunities are plentiful because virtually all industrial sectors rely on chemical engineers in one way or another. Manufacturing industries, such as pharmaceuticals, and nonmanufacturing industries, such as research and testing service industries, are only a few examples of sectors in which chemical engineer can find employment.


  • Because a chemical engineer encounters chemicals, his health is always at risk. Severe allergies from chemicals with unspecified toxicity levels are bound to occur; there is also potential danger of explosions from unintended chemical reactions. Risks of burns caused by hot surfaces and electrocution from bare wires are also factors that jeopardize the health of a chemical engineer.

Lack of Social Life

  • Due to rapid technological changes and their demanding jobs, chemical engineers spend most of their time working and researching; personal time for socializing and family are often hard to find. This important impact on quality of life should be taken into account by anyone thinking about entering the field.

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