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Become A Senior Chemical Engineer

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Working As A Senior Chemical Engineer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • $86,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Chemical Engineer Do

Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics to solve problems that involve the production or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and many other products. They design processes and equipment for large-scale manufacturing, plan and test production methods and byproducts treatment, and direct facility operations.

Duties

Chemical engineers typically do the following:

  • Conduct research to develop new and improved manufacturing processes
  • Develop safety procedures for those working with dangerous chemicals
  • Develop processes for separating components of liquids and gases, or for generating electrical currents, by using controlled chemical processes
  • Design and plan the layout of equipment
  • Conduct tests and monitor the performance of processes throughout production
  • Troubleshoot problems with manufacturing processes
  • Evaluate equipment and processes to ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations
  • Estimate production costs for management

Some chemical engineers specialize in a particular process, such as oxidation (a reaction of oxygen with chemicals to make other chemicals) or polymerization (making plastics and resins). Others specialize in a particular field, such as nanomaterials (extremely small substances) or biological engineering. Still others specialize in developing specific products.

In addition, chemical engineers work in the production of energy, electronics, food, clothing, and paper. They must understand how the manufacturing process affects the environment and the safety of workers and consumers.

Chemical engineers also conduct research in the life sciences, biotechnology, and business services.

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How To Become A Senior Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Employers also value practical experience, so internships and cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn college credit and experience, can be helpful.

Education

Chemical engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Programs usually take 4 years to complete and include classroom, laboratory, and field studies. High school students interested in studying chemical engineering will benefit from taking science courses, such as chemistry, physics, and biology. They also should take math courses, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

At some universities, students can opt to enroll in 5-year programs that lead to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. A graduate degree, which may include a degree up to the Ph.D. level, allows an engineer to work in research and development or as a postsecondary teacher.

Some colleges and universities offer internships and cooperative programs in partnership with industry. In these programs, students gain practical experience while completing their education.

ABET accredits engineering programs. ABET-accredited programs in chemical engineering include courses in chemistry, physics, and biology. These programs also include applying the sciences to the design, analysis, and control of chemical, physical, and biological processes.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Chemical engineers must be able to troubleshoot designs that do not work as planned. They must be able to ask the right questions and then find answers that work.

Creativity. Chemical engineers must be able to explore new ways of applying engineering principles. They work to invent new materials, advanced manufacturing techniques, and new applications in chemical and biomedical engineering.

Ingenuity. Chemical engineers learn the broad concepts of chemical engineering, but their work requires them to apply those concepts to specific production problems.

Interpersonal skills. Because their role is to put scientific principles into practice in manufacturing industries, chemical engineers must develop good working relationships with other workers involved in production processes.

Math skills. Chemical engineers use the principles of calculus and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. In designing equipment and processes for manufacturing, these engineers must be able to anticipate and identify problems, including such issues as workers’ safety and problems related to manufacturing and environmental protection.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure for chemical engineers is not as common as it is for other engineering occupations, nor is it required for entry-level positions. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam commonly are called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education to keep their license. Most states recognize licensure from other states if the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements.

Advancement

Entry-level engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers also may receive formal training in classrooms or seminars. As junior engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move to more difficult projects with greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, chemical engineers may advance to supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Some may become architectural and engineering managers. However, preparing for management positions usually requires working under the guidance of a more experienced chemical engineer.

An engineering background enables chemical engineers to discuss a product’s technical aspects and assist in product planning and use. For more information, see the profile on sales engineers.

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Senior Chemical Engineer Jobs

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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Principal Engineer 4.7 years
Staff Engineer 4.3 years
Plant Engineer 4.0 years
Lead Engineer 3.3 years
Chemical Engineer 3.1 years
Top Careers Before Senior Chemical Engineer
Internship 3.8%
Engineer 3.8%
Consultant 3.3%
Top Careers After Senior Chemical Engineer
Consultant 8.4%
Engineer 4.6%
Manager 3.8%

Do you work as a Senior Chemical Engineer?

Senior Chemical Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

72.2%

Female

19.2%

Unknown

8.6%
Ethnicity

White

50.5%

Asian

24.8%

Hispanic or Latino

10.8%

Black or African American

9.0%

Unknown

4.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Chinese

23.5%

Spanish

17.6%

Japanese

11.8%

Russian

11.8%

Portuguese

5.9%

Ukrainian

5.9%

German

5.9%

Cantonese

5.9%

French

5.9%

Arabic

5.9%
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Senior Chemical Engineer Education

Schools

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

7.9%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

6.3%

University of California - Irvine

6.3%

Washington State University

4.8%

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

4.8%

Colorado School of Mines

4.8%

Ohio State University

4.8%

New Mexico State University

4.8%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

4.8%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

4.8%

Clarkson University

4.8%

University of Phoenix

4.8%

University of Virginia

4.8%

Texas A&M University

4.8%

Case Western Reserve University

4.8%

Northeastern University

4.8%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

4.8%

University of Delaware

4.8%

University of New Mexico

4.8%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

3.2%
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Majors

Chemical Engineering

66.7%

Business

7.7%

Chemistry

5.4%

Mathematics

1.8%

Marketing

1.8%

Computer Science

1.8%

Materials Sciences

1.8%

Project Management

1.8%

Environmental Engineering

1.8%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.2%

Plastics Engineering

1.2%

Mechanical Engineering

1.2%

Materials Science And Engineering

1.2%

Engineering

1.2%

Management

0.6%

International Business

0.6%

Metallurgical Engineering

0.6%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

0.6%

Manufacturing Engineering

0.6%

Pharmacy

0.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.9%

Masters

28.1%

Doctorate

16.2%

Other

5.4%

Certificate

3.8%

Diploma

0.5%
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Real Senior Chemical Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Chemical Engineer VCI of Ny Inc. Mamaroneck, NY Jun 02, 2014 $180,000
Senior Chemical Engineer Accordant Energy, LLC Rutland, VT Apr 24, 2014 $127,000
Senior Chemical Engineer Re Community Holdings II, Inc. Rutland, VT Oct 01, 2012 $127,000
Team Leader-Senior Chemical Engineer Schlumberger Technology Corporation Sugar Land, TX Oct 01, 2012 $120,250
SR. Chemical Engineer GHD Inc. San Diego, CA Nov 07, 2016 $120,000 -
$135,000
Chemical Engineer-Senior Scientist Siluria Technologies, Inc. San Francisco, CA Feb 24, 2015 $120,000
Senior Chemical Engineer Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc. Kansas City, MO Jan 25, 2016 $118,503
Senior Chemical Engineer Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc. Kansas City, MO Aug 11, 2016 $118,503
Senior Chemical Engineer Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc. Kansas City, MO Jul 12, 2015 $118,503
SR. Chemical Engineer Access Bio, Inc. Somerset, NJ Feb 03, 2015 $117,707
Chemical Engineer Senior Naderi Engineering, Inc. Danville, CA Jun 28, 2010 $116,812
Senior Chemical Engineer Southern Research Institute (SRI) Durham, NC Sep 21, 2015 $115,731
SR. Chemical Engineer Trevi Systems, Inc. Petaluma, CA May 01, 2014 $110,000
SR. Chemical Engineer Southern Research Institute (SRI) Durham, NC Sep 21, 2014 $106,000
Senior Chemical Engineer Tesla Motors, Inc. Sparks, NV Feb 15, 2016 $105,000 -
$115,000
Senior Chemical Engineer Merck & Co., Inc. Rahway, NJ Sep 25, 2012 $101,192 -
$122,020
SR. Chemical Engineer Tesla Motors, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Aug 31, 2016 $95,014
Senior Chemical Engineer Saturn Electronics Corporation Romulus, MI Jul 26, 2015 $90,834
SR. Chemical Engineer-Desulfurization Bloom Energy Corporation Sunnyvale, CA Aug 28, 2015 $90,000
Senior Chemical Engineer Aquion Energy, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA Oct 01, 2013 $88,873
Senior Chemical Engineer OLI Systems, Inc. Cedarville, NJ Sep 12, 2014 $88,587
Senior Scientist/Chemical Engineer Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. Knoxville, TN Jun 03, 2012 $87,968
Senior Chemical Engineer Iosil Energy Corporation Groveport, OH Nov 22, 2010 $87,000
Senior Chemical Engineer Universal Beauty Products Inc. Glendale Heights, IL Jul 12, 2015 $85,925
Senior Chemical Engineer Cargill, Incorporated Savage, MN Oct 02, 2009 $84,000
Senior Chemical Engineer Iosil Energy Corporation Groveport, OH Nov 22, 2013 $84,000

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AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Senior Chemical Engineer

Average Yearly Salary
$86,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$61,000
Min 10%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$122,000
Max 90%
Highest Paying City
La Porte, TX
Highest Paying State
Texas
Avg Experience Level
4.2 years
How much does a Senior Chemical Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Senior Chemical Engineer in the United States is $87,026 per year or $42 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $62,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $122,000.

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Top Skills for A Senior Chemical Engineer

  1. Lab Equipment
  2. Facility
  3. Test Cases
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed conceptual facility design with an objective to minimize capital cost while still providing a safe and effective operating facility.
  • Managed the design and implementation of $1.3M of Clean-In-Place upgrades to eight pilot plant work centers from start to finish.
  • Delivered engineering support to 20-person laboratory team.
  • Project management, process development and process engineering responsibilities.
  • Identified critical problems, developed solutions and significantly improved process design, control and automation.

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Top 10 Best States for Senior Chemical Engineers

  1. Texas
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Delaware
  4. Alabama
  5. Alaska
  6. Virginia
  7. Maryland
  8. Idaho
  9. Oklahoma
  10. New Mexico
  • (1,961 jobs)
  • (258 jobs)
  • (70 jobs)
  • (278 jobs)
  • (33 jobs)
  • (1,293 jobs)
  • (576 jobs)
  • (77 jobs)
  • (159 jobs)
  • (127 jobs)

Top Senior Chemical Engineer Employers

Jobs From Top Senior Chemical Engineer Employers

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