Overview of Online Chemical Engineering Degrees
Higher education in chemical engineering combines topics in chemistry, biology, math, and physics with engineering courses. At the bachelor's level, engineering students learn about fundamental chemical processes and their application in manufacturing settings, while online master's degrees allow students to specialize in specific areas of chemical engineering. Students can also enroll in certificate programs in chemical engineering and related subjects after completing an undergraduate degree in the field. A certificate may be a suitable fit for individuals who aren't ready to pursue a graduate degree but still want to diversify their skillset and potentially qualify for more advanced positions.
At the bachelor's level, engineering students learn about fundamental chemical processes and their application in manufacturing settings.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Chemical Engineering
An online bachelor's degree program in chemical engineering consists of 120-133 credit hours, and may take anywhere from four to six years to finish depending on full- or part-time enrollment. In addition to completing chemistry coursework, students also take core courses in calculus, differential equations, fluid mechanics, pharmaceuticals, thermodynamics, chemical reaction engineering, and many other topics. Prospective students need to meet the following admission requirements to apply for an online bachelor's in chemical engineering program:
- A high school diploma or equivalent with a minimum 2.0 GPA
- College transcripts for transfer students
- SAT or ACT scores that meet program requirements
- Personal essays that describe a student's interest in chemical engineering
- Letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors
Students who know they want to pursue a degree in chemical engineering should take high school or community college classes in chemistry, biology, and advanced math to strengthen their application.
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 regionally and programmatically accredited. An accredited institution has been evaluated to ensure it meets the national standards for educational quality, as recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Furthermore, attending a regionally accredited school is crucial for students who want to apply for federal financial aid or transfer credits between institutions with similar levels of accreditation.
In addition to regional accreditation, students should look for online 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. Enrolling in an ABET-accredited program helps ensure that students are receiving the highest quality of education in the chemical engineering field.
Enrolling in an ABET-accredited program helps ensure that students are receiving the highest quality of education in the chemical engineering field.
Careers in Chemical Engineering
Given their solid grounding in science and technology, chemical engineers can work in a variety of growing industries. Individuals with an online chemical engineering bachelor's are typically prepared for most entry-level positions in the field. Furthermore, depending on their chosen concentration, they can land jobs in a range of related sectors, such as biotechnology, biochemical engineering, sustainable energy development, or environmental engineering. It's important to note that graduates may need a Professional Engineering license to advance their careers. This credential can open up careers in government, education, and consultancy, and it can also help graduates access higher level roles.
Below is a list of career opportunities for graduates of online chemical engineering programs:
Median Annual Salary: $108,540
Job Outlook: 9%
Chemical engineers develop safe and effective manufacturing process designs, particularly when it comes to devising protocols on how to deal with dangerous materials. As part of their day-to-day activities, they also monitor equipment, conduct tests, and diagnose potential problems that may emerge in large-scale manufacturing settings.
Agricultural and Food Scientist
Median Annual Salary: $68,830
Job Outlook: 9%
Agriculture and food scientists deal with various aspects of crop production. Their work ranges from examining the chemical composition of soils and engineering seeds to determining process controls for packaging and delivering food products. Some professionals also conduct research and present their findings to the non-scientific community.
Median Annual Salary: $95,640
Job Outlook: 8%
Material engineers use material science to study the characteristics of several substances — such as plastics, ceramics, and metals — to discover how they perform in different kinds of production environments. They help determine the conditions under which certain material can fail, develop safety ratings for a range of products, and fulfill administrative responsibilities.
Median Annual Salary: $137,330
Job Outlook: 8%
Petroleum engineers are typically found working in refineries or offshore drilling rigs, where they are responsible for the extraction of oil and gas deposits. A large proportion of their job involves process engineering, where they design safety procedures and ensure workers follow standard operating procedures. In some cases, petroleum engineers also analyze deposits to explore new ways of extracting materials.