14 of the Best Chemical Engineering Degree Jobs

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 21, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Recent graduates with a chemical engineering degree may wonder what the best job is for someone with their credentials. Some people may prefer accepting a position in which they can use the chemical engineering skills they learned in college. Understanding the best career options for this degree can help you find an enjoyable job in which you can apply your knowledge to real-life situations. In this article, we discuss what the best job for a chemical engineering degree is and share 14 of the best jobs available for someone in the chemical engineering field.

What's the best job for someone with a chemical engineering degree?

The best job for someone with a chemical engineering degree is typically a job that directly relates to the concepts they studied while completing their degree. For example, you may use leadership or collaboration skills from a nuclear engineering class in a nuclear facility manager's job. Getting a job that directly relates to this field may allow employees to acclimate faster to their job duties because they understand the basic concepts and skills needed for the position. These types of jobs allow chemical engineers to use their most applicable skills and positively affect their companies and fields.

14 of the best chemical engineering degree jobs

Here's a list of some of the best chemical engineering jobs for this degree:

1. Manufacturing production technician

National average salary: $42,827 per year

Primary duties: Manufacturing production technicians work in chemical plants to monitor, maintain and repair equipment for processing and manufacturing processes. Their responsibilities include working directly with machinery, installing and configuring equipment and following health and safety regulations. Manufacturing production technicians also test materials or inspect and assess the quality of finished goods.

2. Chemical plant and system operator

National average salary: $43,666 per year

Primary duties: Chemical plant operators manage operations in facilities that make substances such as soaps, fertilizers, paint and pesticides. They often manage teams of employees and maintain the safety and quality standards of the plant. Chemical plant operators may focus on monitoring facility equipment, instructing and supervising plant employees, testing and adjusting equipment or products, communicating with other plant personnel and optimizing the performance of facility processes.

3. Analytical chemist

National average salary: $60,932 per year

Primary duties: Analytical chemists often work in the environmental industry and study the separation, identification and quantification of substances. They may test and analyze wet chemicals, metals and organic chemicals. They may also use specialized equipment and instruments, interpret data, communicate results to other scientists, collaborate with other engineers, preserve samples and perform quantitative analysis.

4. Food engineer

National average salary: $61,369 per year

Primary duties: Food engineers assist in the production, processing, storage and distribution of foods. They use their chemistry training to assess food quality, storage time and modified foods. They may also focus on designing equipment and production lines for effective food processing, refine the taste or texture of food products and supervise packaging and quality of foods. Food engineers can also design equipment, collaborate with other scientists and engineers and research new optimization methods and technologies.

5. Pharmaceutical manufacturer

National average salary: $72,695 per year

Primary duties: Pharmaceutical manufacturers research, develop and manufacture different medicines and medical solutions. They may focus on using bacteria and plant or animal cells to research diseases and drug responses, collaborate with other pharmaceutical scientists and create synthetic products such as insulin. Pharmaceutical manufacturers also test drug reactions, develop new technologies or medicines and uphold safety and health regulations.

6. Energy engineer

National average salary: $76,164 per year

Primary duties: Energy engineers research, develop and implement energy solutions for the generation and consumption of energy systems like wind and solar. They may research alternate and sustainable energy systems, manage facilities or plants, reduce energy consumption and costs and inspect work sites. Energy engineers can also implement lab experiments, design equipment and install new technologies such as wind turbines at new worksites.

7. Chemical process engineer

National average salary: $80,914 per year

Primary duties: Chemical process engineers design and develop chemical processes for industrial settings. They often oversee different types of processes, such as mechanical, chemical and biological processes. Their work may focus on using distillation and combustion in chemical plants, testing processes in labs, evaluating and improving existing processes, monitoring energy usage, analyzing data and using computer models.

8. Chemical engineer

National average salary: $80,914 per year

Primary duties: Chemical engineers process and manufacture chemicals to develop materials into different products. They research new materials or techniques for different industries and develop equipment to handle chemicals. Chemical engineers may work closely with other engineers and technicians, test products, ensure procedures uphold safety standards and supervise other employees at chemical plants, offices or warehouses.

Read more: Learn About Being a Chemical Engineer

9. Environmental engineer

National average salary: $81,954 per year

Primary duties: Environmental engineers aim to keep people safe from pollution and other sources of environmental damage. They focus on optimizing waste disposal and recycling processes, research sources of environmental damage and implement procedures for protecting water and air. Environmental engineers may also enforce environmental regulations and collaborate with other scientists and specialists.

Read more: Learn About Being an Environmental Engineer

10. Process engineer

National average salary: $83,961 per year

Primary duties: Process engineers maximize output and minimize waste in chemical and industrial processes. They may assess the effectiveness of a process, redesign parameters or processes and change or upgrade equipment. Process engineers may also create ways to reuse waste, discuss process methods with other employees and reduce costs for factories, warehouses or plants.

Read more: Learn About Being a Process Engineer

11. Petroleum engineer

National average salary: $84,127 per year

Primary duties: Petroleum engineers evaluate, develop and produce oil drilling and gas field processes. They often analyze hydrocarbons and optimize the extraction of oil and gas. Petroleum engineers can develop new drilling techniques, research ways to reduce environmental effects and collaborate with other engineers and field scientists. They also supervise well sites and operations, communicate with contractors and maintain or repair equipment.

Read more: Learn About Being a Petroleum Engineer

12. Nuclear engineer

National average salary: $88,002 per year

Primary duties: Nuclear engineers research and develop processes and equipment for using nuclear energy or radiation in industrial, medical or pharmaceutical settings. This may include working to develop nuclear medicine or using nuclear power in industrial processes. Nuclear engineers assess interactions between materials at nuclear facilities, examine the chemical composition of source material and perform experiments on nuclear material. They may also monitor nuclear facility operations and design or develop equipment.

Read more: Learn About Being a Nuclear Engineer

13. Mining engineer

National average salary: $94,619 per year

Primary duties: Mining engineers help extract natural resources from the earth. They optimize the processes for extracting raw materials from the earth, such as coal. Mining engineers also design underground mines and equipment and ensure product quality of extracted raw materials. They may enter mines to assess milling processes, supervise teams of miners, oversee mining operations and train employees.

14. Consulting engineer

National average salary: $101,552 per year

Primary duties: Consulting engineers work in industries such as oil and mining to provide solutions to organizations' engineering issues, such as slow processing times or aging equipment. They travel to different worksites to assess and plan solutions, supervise other engineers and provide technical assistance. They may also inspect other engineers' work, complete studies and ensure projects and teams meet safety or government regulations.

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