Chemical engineering continues to be a field that fascinates and captivates many individuals interested in the sciences, as well as those who are interested in being involved hands-on in the methodology of creating new things, and more. But how exactly do you become a chemical engineer? Use the following guide to see for yourself how you can get started down the path towards a bright career in chemical engineering.
First, you’ll want the right background, along with the right interests and perspective before thinking about becoming a chemical engineer. In high school, you’ll want to take a strong collection of math and sciences in them, and you’ll want to be comfortable working with complicated formulas and applying them to multiple fields. Physics, biology, calculus and more are all important, in addition to computer sciences and of course chemistry.
Any entry-level job in chemical engineering will require at least a bachelors degree. You’ll be able to obtain your four-year degree from any number of leading universities across the country. The only caveat to keep in mind is that you’ll want to ensure that your program is accredited by ABET, which is the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology, and is the main accreditation body for engineering programs in all disciplines and focuses.
Once you’re ready to graduate, then it’s time to take your initial engineering exam, Fundamentals of Engineering, or FE. Once you pass this national exam, you’ll be able to begin your career with entry level work. For a four year period of time though you’ll be an Engineering Intern, or an EI, also known as an Engineer in Training, or an EIT.
You’ll need four years of experience and supervision before you can take the second national exam, the Principles and Practices of Engineering. When you successfully complete your four years of training and your second examination, you’ll be a fully licensed Professional Engineer. At this point you’ll official be a licensed chemical engineer with all of the status and job opportunities that will come along with that.
While it’s not required, many chemical engineers do continue their studies beyond a bachelors degree, obtaining masters and even doctorate level degrees in chemical engineering. This will enable you to advance your career farther and land a wider range of potential jobs, but as mentioned, it’s not an explicit requirement at this time. Many employers will prefer candidates with advanced education though.
In addition, it can also be beneficial to join chemical engineering societies, including the main one at this time, AIChE, which has over 40,000 members across the globe. Membership will help with everything from networking and career opportunities, to continued education, learning materials and much more.
So that’s how anybody can begin the journey to become a chemical engineer. If you have the right interests and aptitudes, chemical engineering can be a very exciting career, and now that you know how to begin, there should be nothing holding you back from getting started today.