top of page

Research Assessment #1

Career Outlook

Date: 9/4/2020

Subject: The basics of a career in chemical engineering

MLA citation(s): 

CareerOneStop, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration, 21 Mar. 2017, 

        Engineers&onetcode=17204100&location=Dallas, TX

“Chemical Engineers : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, 1 Sept.


“Chemical Engineering.” American Chemical Society, American Chemical Society,



        Overall, I was enthralled by all of the information I gained through this research. I have known for a long time that I wanted to be an engineer because of how much I love solving problems. After looking through much of this research I am pleasantly surprised by the true features of a chemical engineering job. There is so much that I will be able to do in my field, so much that I can work to conquer, not only about myself, but also how I perceive the world. This particular research gave me an insight into the life I might get the amazing opportunity to live and thrive in at some point. 

        I initially started by looking through simple career websites in order to gain a better understanding of the basics of chemical engineering. What do chemical engineers do on a daily basis? What challenges do they face and how are they prepared to face those challenges? When looking through the information I gathered, I was surprised to find that the only degree absolutely necessary to become a chemical engineer is a bachelor’s degree. While I have looked into further education beyond a bachelor’s when looking at colleges, I was unsure if obtaining a master’s was a true reality. College is an expensive venture and I have concerns regarding being able to pay for school long enough to get my master’s degree so I was pleasantly surprised when there was no indication that it was absolutely necessary in order to be successful. I did find it interesting that a somewhat small percentage of chemical engineers have a master’s degree considering that it can be so vital to so many jobs. While there was research and data showing that a master’s degree could be important to higher level positions, there was flexibility and an ability to advance in my career should a master’s degree not be possible. 

        I think one of the things that shocked me most during my research was the fact that once you graduate college with a chemical engineering degree you are technically not considered a professional engineer. There is actually a certification process and license that engineers must have in order to have roles in major decisions and be considered for higher positions. In all of my college visits, informational sessions, and surface research about the field, I had never taken the time to think about what I would need to actually be considered a true engineer. There is an entire process that includes taking a fundamentals exam right out of college, obtaining four or more years of experience, and then taking another exam before you can even be considered a professional engineer. The interesting part about all of this was that there are many jobs that I would be able to be successful in, but if I really wanted to be a major decision maker with numerous responsibilities I would need to continue my education after college and work towards getting this certification. It was quite interesting to see the realm of jobs that opens up once this certification is obtained. 

        I do still have a couple of questions regarding my field that I hope to be able to ask during interviews and possibly discuss with a mentor at some point. These would center around the importance of obtaining a degree beyond a bachelor’s in the overall success of my career. I would also like to know what all is entailed in the licensing and certification processes. Is it similar to the rigorous testing that is involved for doctors and lawyers? How often are engineers unable to obtain certification? Is certification really that vital to success and advancement? Since I now have the major facts regarding the field of chemical engineering I really want to dive deeper into the real world application of the new revelations I have had. 

        Looking at the knowledge that chemical engineering requires on a daily basis I am quite satisfied and proud that I am headed down the correct path in the sense that I am taking the right classes, doing the right research, continuing my education on my own time in more engineering specific areas. I am extremely excited to learn more about this field and about its professionals. I look forward to the knowledge that I will need to gain including further chemistry, engineering design, and process basics. I no longer dread the tasks I have set out for myself including research and education for I have seen a glimpse of what my future could look like. I find myself excited at the thought that I could someday be able to combine the subjects I love into a real world application in a career that will interest and challenge me. 

bottom of page