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What type of degree should I look for if I plan on becoming a chemical engineer?

Or any other chemistry-based career.

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Drew’s Answer

If you want to be a chemical engineer get a Chemical Engineering from an engineering program that is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). I studied Environmental Engineering at a school where all the other programs were ABET accredited. However, Environmental Engineering was a new program and not yet accredited. My education was good and I have been an Environmental Engineer since 1978. I worked at US EPA for 12 years, and have been in private practice since 1988. I am a licensed PE, and Board Certified Environmental Engineer, Forensic Engineer, Industrial Hygienist, and Safety Engineer.

Drew recommends the following next steps:

Look at the qualifications for Chemical Engineering jobs in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (on-line).
Thank you comment icon I'm excited to put your great advice to good use! Evan
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Vern’s Answer

Chemical Engineer is a very narrow professional career. First let me say that chemical engineering is not as close as one would expect to chemistry. Chemical Engineering uses many of the principles of chemistry but serves a very different function. Chemists tend to focus on analytical work, very small-scale experiments, and research. Chemical Engineering is focused on design and operation of large-scale chemical processes.

If you wish to be a chemical engineer you basically need to get a degree in Chemical Engineering.

If you are just starting an engineering program and have an interest in chemistry, I would suggest you explore related types of engineering such as petroleum engineering, material engineering, metallurgical engineering, industrial engineering, and environmental engineering. Each of these requires a somewhat similar skill set but has a very different focus.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Vern! Evan
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