Chemical EngineerJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

A chemical engineer designs and troubleshoots processes for making fuels, foods, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and biologicals. They take a process developed in a laboratory setting and turn it into a practical application. Chemical engineers are employed by companies in various industries, from biomedical to aerospace, automotive, energy, and the military.

Chemical engineers are involved in the development and production of almost every industrially manufactured product. They design experiments, monitor results, and conduct tests throughout production. In some cases, chemical engineers create safety procedures for working with dangerous chemicals. Usually, a chemical engineer specializes in a particular chemical process such as oxidation, or a specific field or type of product, like food additives.

Sample job description #1

Develop strategically important products for consumable supplies business. Solve complex technical problems related to development of consumable supplies. Provide timely technical support to the consumable supplies business by developing new supplies, testing, and improving current supplies and assist with quality improvements in consumable supplies.


  • Develop innovative Consumable supplies products for plastic card personalization in a fast paced environment
  • Conduct qualification testing and performance evaluation of the card personalization supplies on various hardware platforms
  • Work with suppliers to develop and qualify consumable supplies
  • Independently lead and manage projects involving development or continuation support
  • Conduct experiments and analyze data
  • Conduct card durability testing
  • Perform failure analysis for plastic card solutions
  • Write technical reports

Basic qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or Polymer Science
  • 5+ years of experience in product development including formulation development in one or more of the following: polymers, coatings, adhesives, inks, film coating/converting, laminations
  • Deep understanding of UV cured, solvent based and aqueous chemistries for adhesives, coatings or ink formulations
  • Proficient in disciplined product development. Familiar with phase gate development process
  • Proficient with MS products: Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook
  • Ability to travel as needed, approximately 15%

Preferred qualifications

  • MS in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or Polymer Science
  • Proven track record in formulation of adhesives, coatings or inks
  • Experience in card personalization or digital print technologies
  • Experience in identification document security technologies
  • Strong technical performance in a fast paced environment, demonstrated capability managing multiple development projects at the same time
  • Competent user of hardware platforms/equipment in conjunction with consumable supplies like print ribbons, inks, laminates etc.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently on problems of moderate scope
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

Sample job description #2


  • Leading environmental technology evaluation and design efforts for an interdisciplinary team of engineers
  • Perform and review comprehensive reports assessing proposed environmental control technology upgrades, modifications, and equipment/system replacements
  • Work on challenging assignments that include investigating, troubleshooting, and solving a wide variety of air quality control technology and engineering issues, and implement complex environmental compliance and permitting projects
  • Required to independently verify the design of vendor-supplied equipment, perform independent reviews of work prepared by others (including calculations and engineering studies), and act as the environmental team lead in the coordination for all aspects of project work
  • Coordinate and provide guidance to project managers, client personnel, suppliers, and other engineers to confirm proposed technologies meet design specifications and achieve environmental compliance standards, and to ensure project work is completed on schedule
  • Analyze technical issues, prepare accompanying system specification data, and present your findings and proposals to clients and peers
  • Evaluate and review the design and economics of various carbon capture technologies in both the energy and industrial markets
  • Evaluate and review the design of conventional and innovative carbon utilization technologies including enhanced oil recovery, sequestration, and others
  • You will have the opportunity to travel to client and vendor offices for design reviews, travel to plant site locations for field verification of designs, and attend/present at technical conferences
  • You will have the opportunity to develop your career via peer-learning through sharing of knowledge with other experienced engineers by way of ABC Company’s systems of processes and associated “Communities of Practice”
  • Provide guidance as a mentor in the development of less experienced engineers

Essential skills and experience

  • This position requires a BSChE or related engineering discipline from an ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission-approved program
  • An understanding of the practical application of chemical/process engineering and technology, including applying systems, principles, techniques, and procedures to a project design
  • Familiarity with the design and operation of large industrial and electric power environmental control systems such as carbon capture systems, flue gas desulfurization systems, fabric filters, electrostatic precipitators, low-NOx combustion, and/or selective, and non-catalytic NOx reduction systems
  • Six or more years of experience in the design and specification of environmental or process control systems for large industrial plants (e.g., electric power generation, oil & gas, or chemical processing). Experience must include the selection of equipment, control philosophy, and the preparation of performance sizing calculations and specifications
  • Three or more years of experience directing younger engineers through all phases of a project
  • Experience with serving as firm/client liaison in a support or lead engineering role
  • Proficiency with MS Office applications
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Valued but not required skills and experience

  • Professional Engineer License
  • Experience utilizing ASPEN or similar process modeling software
  • Familiarity with major federal environmental regulatory programs such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

Sample job description #3

Primary responsibilities

You must be able to plan and run safe experiments, analyze, and interpret the results, model the system in Aspen or similar software, perform a techno-economic analysis, lifecycle analysis, and communicate your findings. Work with a group or independently and direct work to coworkers and technicians as necessary. Assist program managers with input to proposals, contribute to brainstorming sessions. Attend conferences, present results, and build/work with a network of collaborators. There will be other duties as assigned.

Knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics

  • In-depth knowledge of gas conversion and separation processes as well as knowledge in process engineering for gas separations, purification, and upgrading
  • Familiarity with fluidizable catalysts, metal oxides, and support selection
  • Knowledge of new and novel synthesis techniques is a plus
  • Laboratory skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication
  • Ability to develop proposals and write reports

Education and experience

  • Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering with at least 2 years of experience including laboratory and modelling experience
  • Must have experience with technoeconomic analysis and process simulation using AspenTech programs such as Aspen Plus HYSYS, and other process simulators
  • Experience with on-line analytic equipment is required
  • Experience with Aspen Custom Modeler is highly desirable

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a chemical engineer is $82,750 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$82,250$111,350
Los Angeles, California$92,850$125,600
Denver, Colorado$77,350$104,650
Washington, DC$94,250$127,500
Miami, Florida$77,050$104,200
Orlando, Florida$71,050$96,100
Tampa, Florida$71,750$97,050
Atlanta, Georgia$75,250$101,800
Chicago, Illinois$86,550$117,050
Boston, Massachusetts$93,550$126,550
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$74,550$100,850
New York City, New York$98,450$133,250
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$80,150$108,450
Dallas, Texas$78,050$105,650
Houston, Texas$77,750$105,150
Seattle, Washington$90,050$121,800
National Average$70,350$95,150

Sample interview questions

  • What does a chemical engineer do?
  • What are the latest trends in your field of chemical engineering?
  • What key qualities does a chemical engineer need?
  • How do you deal with conflicts in your lab?
  • What is flow control, and can you explain how it is used in a chemical engineering process?
  • What is entropy?
  • What is the best part of being a chemical engineer?
  • What was your most successful project?
  • What is the third law of thermodynamics?
  • What is material requirement planning? How do you use it as a chemical engineer?
  • What is the solvent?
  • Which common chemical engineering equipment are you familiar with?
  • What is an angle of repose, and why is it important in chemical engineering?
  • What is carbon sequestration?
  • Can you describe a time when your testing identified areas for improvement? Were the changes implemented and were they successful?
  • At what temperature does water have maximum density?
  • What is the process to extract hydrogen from water?
  • What are food additives and how are they used?
  • What are the greenhouse gasses in Earth’s atmosphere?
  • What are the differences between unit operations and unit processes?

Chemical Engineer Jobs in Ashburn

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