10 Highest Paying Chemical Engineering Jobs to Consider

10 Highest Paying Chemical Engineering Jobs to Consider

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This article studies the highest-paying chemistry engineering jobs, so you can learn and earn more.

There are plenty of options for a chemical engineer. You can go into research, petroleum fuels, energy, chemicals, metals, and mining. You can also become a project engineer. 

To help you better understand the profession, we reviewed 100+ salary reports, top sites like the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and multi-media references.

We have compiled a list of the highest-paying jobs in chemical engineering. This list depends on the type of position, experience level, and other factors such as location or industry.

Here are the top 10 highest-paying chemistry engineering jobs.

#10. Plant Operator

How much do they get paid?

  • Source: Glassdoor
  • Low Range: $22,000 per year
  • High Range: $203,000 per year
  • Median Pay: $63,190 per year
Highest-paying Chemistry Engineering Jobs : Credits: Pexels
Credits: Pexels

What do they do?

Plant operators are responsible for running and maintaining the facilities that produce a huge range of products, from gasoline to beer to paper. They offer technical assistance in industries. Their roles include:

  • Ensuring all the components of production are working correctly.
  • Controlling power-generating equipment.
  • Offering assistance with troubleshooting when things go wrong. 
  • Organizing necessary repairs.

What degrees and skills are usually required?

Most plant operators have a high school diploma at a minimum. Others may have completed some college or university courses or hold an associate degree in a relevant field such as industrial technology. Many plant operators also have some kind of specialized training in their industry—for instance, those who work at nuclear power plants have special certification requirements.

The most important skill you need as a plant operator is attention to detail. If you don’t notice when something is off about the production process, you won’t be able to fix it before it causes worse problems. 

You also need great communication skills—you’ll be working with a team on-site at your facility and dealing with other departments within the company you work for.

Who’s hiring for these jobs?

Plant operators work in different types of plants and factories, including oil and gas refineries, water treatment facilities, and chemical plants. Many of these professionals find work in food manufacturing plants.

What’s the best way to get this?

You can start from entry-level positions and gain experience working in the plant. 

Should you become a plant operator?

#9. Food Engineer

How much do they get paid?

  • Source: ZipRecruiter
  • Low Range: $17,500 per year
  • High Range: $127,500 per year
  • Median Pay: $66,132 per year
Highest-paying Chemistry Engineering Jobs : Credits: Pexels
Credits: Pexels

What do they do?

Food engineers are the people who bring us all of the amazing new food products that we love. They’re responsible for improving food quality and creating entirely new recipes.

What degrees and skills are usually required?

Food engineers generally need a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or food science (or both). But some employers will accept candidates with relevant experience. 

Some large companies require master’s degrees for their entry-level positions. Food engineering requires attention to detail and good communication skills. In today’s world, having a blog, or social media page where you talk about the subject can be quite differentiating as a job applicant.  

Who’s hiring for these jobs?

Food engineers can be found in a few different places:

  • Food companies’ research and development departments.
  • Universities as a professor or researchers.
  • Their private offices as independent consultants.

They often work with teams of other engineers who specialize in different areas of food science.

What’s the best way to get this job?

Doing some internships before you finish school is a great way to meet people who might be able to help you find your first job. Don’t forget that people you meet during internships could also become your valuable mentors.

What’s it like to be a food engineer?

#8. Operations Manager 

How much do they get paid?

  • Source: Payscale
  • Low Range: $44,000 per year
  • High Range: $107,000 per year
  • Median Pay: $68,000 per year
Highest-paying Chemistry Engineering Jobs : Credits: Pexels
Credits: Pexels

What do they do?

Operations managers oversee various parts of an organization’s operations, from logistics to product creation. They collaborate with teams from accounting to engineering to make sure the business runs smoothly. These managers are also responsible for hiring staff and troubleshooting problems when they arise.

What degrees and skills are usually required?

Most operations managers have a degree in chemical engineering or business administration. Some schools offer specific degrees in operations management. 

Employers prefer candidates who have significant experience in management. This can include leading a team or working directly with customers and clients if the candidate doesn’t have a formal managerial position on their resume.

Operations managers have strong interpersonal and planning skills.

Who’s hiring for these jobs?

Operations managers work in all sorts of places, including 

  • Small chemical plants.
  • Large manufacturing plants.
  • Hospitals.

The place of employment determines the salary and benefits of the operations manager. For example, an operations manager at a large firm may earn more than one who works for a small one. 

What’s the best way to get this job?

If you want to get into this field, it’s important to emphasize your leadership skills on your resume. Take any opportunity to show that you know how to manage people and processes effectively.

You can become an operations manager by gaining experience in a related area like supply chain management or project management.

What’s it like to be an operations manager?

#7. Production Engineer

How much do they get paid?

  • Source: Payscale
  • Low Range: $54,000 per year
  • High Range: $108,000 per year
  • Median Pay: $73,177 per year
Highest-paying Chemistry Engineering Jobs : Credits: Pexels
Credits: Pexels

What do they do?

Production engineers are the people responsible for the management of manufacturing processes.

These chemical engineers work closely with other engineers and operations analysts to ensure that all projects remain on time and budget.

What degrees and skills are usually required?

A degree in chemical engineering is a general requirement for this position. Most employers prefer experienced engineers who have undergone an apprenticeship or a chemical engineering graduate training program.

Who’s hiring for these jobs?

They may work in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, chemical, construction, food and drink, oil, pharmaceuticals, and power generation.

What’s the best way to get this job?

Suppose you’re interested in pursuing this career path. In that case, you should seek out any available internships or apprenticeships in your field of study to gain relevant practical experience before applying for a job.

What’s it like to be a production engineer?

#6. Process Engineer

How much do they get paid?

  • Source: Payscale
  • Low Range: $59,000 per year
  • High Range: $105,000 per year
  • Median Pay: $75,689 per year
Highest-paying Chemistry Engineering Jobs : Credits: Pexels
Credits: Pexels

What do they do?

Process engineers are responsible for developing, managing, and optimizing industrial processes.

The process engineer’s job is to ensure the process is working at optimal efficiency by evaluating, planning, and implementing improvements. They may be involved in the process of designing and building new facilities or modifying existing facilities. 

These chemical engineers work closely with other professionals such as equipment, mechanical and civil engineers on a daily basis.

What degrees and skills are usually required?

The minimum requirement for process engineering jobs is usually a bachelor’s degree in chemical, mechanical, or other related engineering fields. Many employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree. Other essential requirements include strong interpersonal skills, technical expertise, and leadership abilities.

Who’s hiring for these jobs?

Process engineers work in a wide range of industries, including chemicals, food processing, pharmaceuticals, and metals. These engineers design and improve manufacturing processes for factories and plants to ensure the efficient production of goods.

What is the best way to get this job?

The first place to start your search for a job as a process engineer is with your education. You will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering, but most employers prefer that you have more than one area of expertise.

What’s it like to be a process engineer?

#5. Pharmaceutical Manufacturer

How much do they get paid?

  • Source: Glassdoor
  • Low Range: $35,000 per year
  • High Range: $205,000 per year
  • Median Pay: $84,129 per year
Highest-paying Chemistry Engineering Jobs : Credits: Pexels
Credits: Pexels

What do they do?

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are the lifeblood of medical establishments. Without these chemical engineers, millions of people would be suffering from treatable or preventable illnesses. These professionals work behind the scenes to create medications that can change lives for the better.

What degrees and skills are usually required?

Pharmaceutical manufacturers usually have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, pharmacy, or molecular biology. Many pharmaceutical manufacturers will require their employees to undergo training before being allowed into the production area.  

Additionally, you will need excellent communication skills and knowledge of complex concepts.

Who’s hiring for these jobs?

These professionals work in pharmaceutical companies. 

What’s the best way to get this job?

If you want to get into this field, it is best to start working as an intern at a medical manufacturing facility while you’re still in school. This will give you hands-on experience before you go out into the workforce. It will also allow you to learn more about what types of tasks you will expect when you start working full time.

Should you become a pharmaceutical manufacturer?

#4. Nuclear Engineer

How much do they get paid?

  • Source: Payscale
  • Low Range: $66,000 per year
  • High Range: $139,000 per year
  • Median Pay: $89,659 per year
Highest-paying Chemistry Engineering Jobs : Credits: Pexels
Credits: Pexels

What do they do?

Nuclear engineers are in charge of designing and operating nuclear power plants and equipment. These chemical engineers also research things like radiation, radioactive waste disposal, and the effects of radiation on human health. 

What degrees and skills are usually required?

You’ll need an undergraduate chemical engineering degree or a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering. A master’s or doctorate can help you get an even better job.

If you want to be successful at this job, you may need to be good at problem-solving and working with others.

Who’s hiring for these jobs?

Most nuclear engineers work for power plants, universities, or consulting firms.

What’s the best way to get this job? 

Well, attending school is important. If you can apply for internships related to your field while still in school (or even during high school), that would be great practice as well.

Should you become a nuclear engineer?

#3. Consulting Engineer

How much do they get paid?

  • Source: Payscale
  • Low Range: $61,000 per year
  • High Range: $162,000 per year
  • Median Pay: $91,928 per year
Highest-paying Chemistry Engineering Jobs : Credits: Pexels
Credits: Pexels

What do they do?

Consulting engineers advise clients on construction projects and other engineering endeavors. They work with other engineers and architects, and other consulting professionals. 

What degrees and skills are usually required?

This career path typically requires an undergraduate chemical engineering degree, but some jobs require a master’s degree.

They are usually licensed, professional engineers.

Consulting engineers must be good at solving complex problems, have strong communication skills, and be able to manage multiple projects at once. 

Who’s hiring for these jobs?

Many consulting engineers work in firms that employ a broad range of engineering professionals. Others work independently as sole practitioners or with a small group of colleagues.

What’s the best way to get this job?

You’ll need to work hard to master your craft and get the right certifications. You should also make connections with people who are already working in that field. 

Should you become a consulting engineer?

#2. Mining Engineer

How much do they get paid?

  • Source: Glassdoor
  • Low Range: $35,000 per year
  • High Range: $253,000 per year
  • Median Pay: $94,536 per year
Highest-paying Chemistry Engineering Jobs : Credits: Pexels
Credits: Pexels

What do they do?

Mining engineers are a necessary component of the mining industry. They help determine the location and methods of mining. These chemical engineers also deal with environmental issues and government regulations. 

Mining engineers can work with other engineers, including petroleum engineers. 

What degrees and skills are usually required?

A bachelor’s degree in mining engineering or a related field is required for all entry-level jobs in this field (some require a chemical engineering graduate degree). Good knowledge of chemistry and physics is essential, as well. 

Who’s hiring for these jobs?

  • Government agencies.
  • Consulting firms.
  • Mining firms.
  • Mineral processing industries.

What’s the best way to get this job?

You can start by joining the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration. This organization has extensive career resources for students and professionals alike, including career planning information, scholarships, and networking opportunities.

Should you become a mineral engineer?

#1. Plant Manager

How much do they get paid?

  • Source: Salary.com
  • Low Range: $122,613 per year
  • High Range: $225,435 per year
  • Median Pay: $172,459 per year
Highest-paying Chemistry Engineering Jobs : Credits: Pexels
Credits: Pexels

What do they do?

Plant managers are in charge of the daily operations of manufacturing plants. They oversee employees, production, and efficiency to ensure the plant runs smoothly.

Plant management is a high-level position that requires extensive experience in a related job and on-the-job training.

What degrees and skills are usually required?

A plant manager’s educational qualifications depend largely on the industry they choose to work in. Some food processing plants may require a minimum education level, such as a high school diploma or equivalent. Others may require at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration or engineering. 

Some positions may even require an MBA or other advanced degree for management positions. 

Plant managers may also need several years of experience working either in a leadership role or in the industry that they hope to manage to gain the knowledge necessary for this job.

The skills that make you an exceptional candidate will vary depending on your industry. But there are some general skills that all plant managers should have: 

  • Strong communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Solid leadership skills. 
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Strong analytical skills.
  • The ability to multitask.
  • Critical thinking skills. 

Who’s hiring for these jobs?

Plant managers work in manufacturing plants, which can be found across many industries, from food processing to electronics manufacturing. 

These facilities can range from small local plants employing just a handful of staff to large operations with hundreds or thousands of employees. The size of the plant has a great impact on what is expected of the plant manager as well as their salary and hours worked.

What’s the best way to get this job?

Many people find this position by looking for openings online and applying for them. You may also apply for internships or entry-level jobs at the company you would like to work for, as this can allow you to move into a plant manager role later.

What’s it like to be a plant manager?

Conclusion

The best way to make money in this field is to have a combination of skills that hiring companies need. The highest chemical engineer salaries will go to the people who have both academic and industry experience, as this is what most companies look for. 

As you can see, there are other ways to break into the field. If you are just starting, going to graduate school may be your best bet. It will lay the groundwork for you to get some experience and a job later in the industry.

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Joannah W.
Joannah has been a science publisher with close to 20 years of experience. She wants to help students and researchers stay ahead of the trends and developments in the science community by making science more accessible to everyone.

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