Online Chemical Engineering Degrees & Schools
Accredited online chemical engineering degrees are offered at the bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels. Chemical engineering incorporates and applies math and science principles to problems that arise in the production of drugs, food, fuel, chemicals, and other products. Those who choose to pursue this degree path must have a strong grasp of math, science, and engineering principles, and enjoy solving complex problems.
Prospective online chemical engineering students should make sure to attend a school that has earned both regional and Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology accreditation. Accreditation at both the regional and programmatic level helps to ensure that the education students receive is relevant and meets national standards.
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Chemical Engineering Degrees
Online Chemical Engineering Degree Overview & Career Information
Online chemical engineering degrees are available at the bachelor's, master's, and certificate level. A bachelor's degree in chemical engineering is required to find entry-level work. At the master's level, a graduate will be more qualified for advanced leadership and management roles. There are also certificate programs available in chemical engineering and related subjects, which can be earned at the graduate level after a bachelor's degree has already be completed. A certificate may be a good fit for someone who wishes to diversify their skill set and become qualified for more advanced positions, but who isn't ready to or interested in pursuing a full graduate degree.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Chemical Engineering
An online bachelor's degree in chemical engineering is the minimum educational level required to find work as a chemical engineer. This degree may take anywhere from four to six years to finish, depending on whether the student is enrolled on a full or part time basis, and consists of 120 to 133 semester credit hours. Coursework covers topics including calculus, differential equations, fluid mechanics, separation processes, quantum chemistry, and many other advanced topics in mathematics and science.
A high school diploma or GED is required to enroll in one of these programs. Depending on the school, additional admissions requirements may include an essay, SAT or ACT scores, and letters of recommendation. Students with previous college work will need to submit those transcripts as well. High school students who know they want to pursue a degree in chemical engineering should prepare by taking classes in math and science, such as biology, chemistry, calculus, and trigonometry.
Upon completing an online bachelor's degree, graduates may be qualified for entry-level work as a chemical engineer in a variety of settings, such as industrial plants, offices, laboratories, and refineries.
Online Master's Degrees in Chemical Engineering
Online master's degrees in chemical engineering are offered at a variety of public and private universities. These programs are a good choice for students looking for advanced positions in industries such as petrochemical processing, materials manufacturing, energy distribution, microelectronics, and biotechnology. Prospective students should check out the best online master's in chemical engineering schools, based on annual tuition and mid-career salaries of alumni.
Online Doctoral Degrees in Chemical Engineering
While a doctoral program in chemical engineering can be beneficial to some, this program is not currently offered in a fully online format. Chemical engineering Ph.D programs can be found at a few universities across the United States. Those who wish to apply to a Ph.D program can often do so with only a bachelor's degree. This degree should be in chemical engineering or another related field. Other admissions requirements include a “statement of purpose” outlining a student's career and educational goals, three letters of recommendation, GRE test scores, and an explanation of past research experience. During a doctoral program students will complete classwork as well as independent research and a dissertation. Coursework covers advanced topics in math and science, such as fluid mechanics, atmospheric chemistry, and biomedical engineering. Specific credit requirements vary and students should expect to spend around four to five years completing their Ph.D. Upon earning their doctoral program graduates will be prepared for research-centered careers in government, industrial, or academic laboratories.
Online Certificates in Chemical Engineering
Chemical engineers looking to expand upon existing skill sets may be interested in pursuing an online graduate certificate. An online graduate certificate in chemical engineering may also be appropriate for someone who wants to apply to a master's or Ph.D. program and wants to gain an advantage as an applicant.
Classes that a student might take during an online certificate program include Advanced Fluid Mechanics, Advanced Engineering Mathematics, Chemical Kinetics and Reaction Engineering, and Advanced Mass and Heat Transfer. Online chemical engineering certificate programs can be found at the university level and can likely be completed in less than a year.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Chemical Engineering Degree
When choosing an online chemical engineering program, students should make sure their schools of choice are both institutionally and programmatically accredited. Schools that have earned institutional accreditation at the regional level have met national standards for educational quality that have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Attending an accredited school is crucial for students who are hoping to apply for federal financial aid or who may want to transfer credits between institutions of higher education.
In addition to regional accreditation, students should look for online degree programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET is the predominant accrediting body for engineering and technology degrees in the United States. Attending an ABET-accredited program helps to ensure that the engineering education offered meets the highest standards for quality and relevance. Many engineering employers look for ABET accreditation when hiring so attending such a program is beneficial to students' future professional pursuits.
Careers in Chemical Engineering
Graduates of online chemical engineering programs may go on to work as chemical engineers, using aspects of science and math to find solutions to various problems that have to do with making products like food, fuel, drugs, chemicals, and others. They can work in many different settings, such as manufacturing plants, laboratories, refineries, and offices. Day-to-day duties may include conducting research to find ways to make production procedures more efficient and making sure equipment meets safety and environmental standards.
Chemical engineers also spend time determining the most effective way to lay out equipment and run different types of tests to measure performance levels in various production processes. A chemical engineer may choose to specialize in certain areas like biological engineering or nanomaterials or focus on a particular chemical process like polymerization or oxidation. To advance in their careers, chemical engineers may choose to obtain Professional Engineering licenses, but this isn't as commonly required as it is in other engineering fields. Most advancement opportunities in chemical engineering come through experience and higher education.
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