Chemical engineers work in offices or laboratories, and they use a combination of chemistry, biology and physics to manufacture, plan or test products like chemicals, food, fuel and drugs. Chemical engineers must have at least a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, sometimes referred to as chemical and biomolecular engineering, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Bachelor's Degree Requirements
The minimum college requirement to become a chemical engineer is a bachelor’s degree. In a B.S. program, students learn principles in mathematics, science and engineering and how to apply that information to chemical engineering problems. These programs often focus heavily on problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Research is also a part of the bachelor’s degree, and students will design and complete experiments that build skills in chemical engineering.
Chemical engineers with a master’s degree can work as instructors or in research and development, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some universities also combine a bachelor’s and master’s degree into a five-year program. Master’s degrees with no thesis requirement can be completed in three semesters, while a master’s thesis program will take 1.5 to 2 years for full-time students.
Doctorate Degrees and Cooperative Opportunities
You can also obtain Ph.D. and Sci.D. degrees in chemical engineering. These programs are often research-based, so it is ideal for engineers who want to be working researchers, according to Ohio State University. Some colleges offer cooperative programs, during which students can obtain practical work experience while completing their degree.
Licenses for Chemical Engineers
While obtaining a license for chemical engineers is not required, it is recommended. Licensed chemical engineers have the title of professional engineer, or P.E., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To attain a license, you must complete a degree program at a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and have relevant work experience. The FE exam can be taken immediately after graduation, but you are often called an Engineer in Training, or EIT, until you gain work experience.