How do I get a Chemical Engineering Degree?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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A chemical engineering degree requires a combination of mathematical and scientific ability. This program is four years in length and is available from a wide range of universities. Chemical engineering focuses on the creation and manipulation of chemical structures to meet the needs of industry and consumers.

In order to get a chemical engineering degree, you will need to select a school, obtain admission, complete the program coursework, and pass the licensing exam. Chemical engineering programs are highly competitive. Employment opportunities for graduates cover a broad range of industries and are typically well compensated.

When selecting a chemical engineering degree program, look at the other programs offered by the engineering faculty at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Determine if the school offers a graduate program in chemical engineering, as this will have a huge impact on the quality of faculty, research opportunities, and connections to industry. Talk with the career center and discuss the employment rate for program alumni.

Tuition for engineering programs is often higher than for a Bachelor of Arts program, as this is considered a professional program, leading clearly to a career. Review the student aid opportunity, including student aid, grants, and scholarships. Explore opportunities for multi-year scholarships to reduce your overall student debt.


The first year of engineering school has a standard curriculum for all students. These courses include chemistry, physics, calculus, English, and technology. The course load is very heavy and many schools advise students not to take part-time jobs, as they will not have enough time for studying.

In the second year, the courses become more specialized, focused on chemistry, chemical structures, organic and synthetic chemistry. Laboratory work becomes more important and many students start working on their own research projects. The level of difficulty is very high in this program, due to the sheer volume of detailed information that must be absorbed. Take advantage of student services to learn advanced study techniques.

Upon graduation from a chemical engineering degree program, students may obtain employment in manufacturing, engineering services firms, government agencies, and laboratories. In order to become a licensed engineer, you must complete the examination administrated by the American Engineers Association. A combination of work experience and completion of an examination is required before you are granted the designation of Professional Engineer or P.Eng.


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