Chemical Engineer Salary
Chemical Engineers in the United States can expect to earn an average of $73K annually. Cash earnings for Chemical Engineers — including $15K in bonuses and $10K in profit sharing proceeds near the top of the pay scale — generally stretch from $51K to $121K depending on individual performance. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by the company, but years of experience and geographic location are influential factors as well. Job satisfaction for Chemical Engineers is high. Making up 77 percent of those who took the survey, male Chemical Engineers greatly outnumber their female counterparts. Most report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a strong majority collect dental insurance. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
Job Description for Chemical Engineer
Chemical engineers apply their knowledge of various chemical properties to develop new chemical substances (such as fuels, lubricants, or cleaning solvents) or improve and existing ones. They may also serve as troubleshooters by helping to examine and improve industrial processes using the application of better chemical systems.Read More...
Many chemical engineers work for industrial companies which develop products directly related to chemical compounds. In this setting, they may work in product development, involving research and experimenting on chemical processes and formula weights to either develop or improve products which contain them. Much of this work depends on the engineer's own background in chemical processes to understand safe compounds, as he/she may also be tasked with conducting extensive experimentation in a variety of settings to determine the utility and optimal use of these chemicals.
Chemical engineers also work to help reduce waste and inefficiency in industrial settings. For example, they may help establish benchmarks for which lubricants and fuels are used in machinery in an assembly plant, or proper holding, shipping, and dispensing procedures and equipment to avoid corrosion and wear-and-tear on existing equipment.
A college degree in chemical engineering or a related field may be required for this position, and many engineers seeking this career path begin with internships in school and then search for a junior-level position upon graduation. Chemical engineers may work in offices, factory settings, or even in the field, and some jobs are likely to require a combination of these. Proficiency with computers and automated chemical equipment, such as spectrometers, may also be required.
Chemical Engineer Tasks
- Develops safety procedures for those working close to possible chemical reactions.
- Estimates time and cost to complete projects.
- Conducts research to develop new and improved chemical manufacturing processes.
- Performs density, gravity, and pressure tests at various stages of production.
Common Career Paths for Chemical Engineer
Advancing into a Senior Chemical Engineer role seems to be a popular career move for Chemical Engineers, and folks who currently work in the latter position report a notably larger median income of $104K per year. With an annual salary of $78K, Research & Development Chemical Engineer is the most common role for Chemical Engineers to subsequently assume on their way up the ladder. Transitioning into a Manufacturing Production Manager role — which usually pays $62K — is also typical for Chemical Engineers, though less common by comparison.
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Popular Employer Salaries for Chemical Engineer
Dow Chemical Co, E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co (DuPont), ExxonMobil Corporation, Chevron Corporation, and BASF Corporation are some prominent firms with considerable interest in employing a large team of Chemical Engineers. Heading up the field in terms of compensation, BP Amoco offers the most; Chemical Engineers earn $168K on average there. Shell Oil Company, The Boeing Company, and Chevron Corporation are a few other companies that offer generous salaries, with Chemical Engineers earning around $144K, $141K, or $105K at each firm, respectively.
Washington River Protection Solutions, Trihydro Corporation, and Uop, LLC are a few other employers known for handing out relatively lightweight salaries ($67K, $69K, and $79K respectively).
Popular Skills for Chemical Engineer
Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, facility with Business Development, Advanced Process Control (APC), and Safety Compliance are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 22 percent, 20 percent, and 17 percent, respectively. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Matlab, Problem Solving, and Microsoft Word. It is often found that people who know Chemical Process Engineering are also skilled in Microsoft Excel and Project Management.
Pay by Experience Level for Chemical Engineer
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For many Chemical Engineers, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $69K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $86K. Professionals who claim 10 to 20 years of experience can secure some pretty cushy paychecks; the median for this group is a six-figure $102K. Chemical Engineers who have acquired more than 20 years of relevant experience earn significantly more than folks with fewer years on their resumes; the average income in this veteran group is $128K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Chemical Engineers, St. Louis provides a pay rate that is 28 percent greater than the national average. Chemical Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Baton Rouge (+25 percent), Houston (+17 percent), Wilmington (+13 percent), and New York (+8 percent). In Cleveland, salaries are 9 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Below-median salaries also turn up in Cincinnati and Boston (6 percent lower and 5 percent lower, respectively).
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