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  • Hi Christine I am a chemist by training too, so I understand this transition well from personal experience. No, you don't have to go back to college to get a ChE degree. There are professionally oriented master's degree programs that, while not a substitute for a BS in ChE, will give you a good foundation in the engineering side of the chemical industries. At Cornell, for instance, a chemist can complete a Master of Engineering (Chemical) in under two years (4 semesters), depending on the courses you took as an undergraduate. I've attached a file that gives you a brief description of the M. Eng. program at Cornell in Chemical Engineering. If you want more details there are two points of contact on the last slide. Being an engineer will certainly broaden your career options and significantly increase your starting salary relative to that of a BS chemistry graduate. It would help a lot if you were able to take some courses in your final year to help prepare you and cut down your time-to-degree . I hope this helps. Paulette Clancy
    Hi! A degree in chemical engineering would require a second BS, but would not take you four years. You would need to take any calculus and ordinary differential equations that you did not take as part of your chemistry degree and then engineering science such as fluid mechanics and heat transfer and then of course, the required chemical engineering courses. Best, Kathy
  • Dear Margarate, I am delighted to hear that you are considering Chemical Engineering as a major in college and perhaps as a career. As you might expect, Chemical Engineers spend a lot of time learning the fundamentals of chemistry, especially physical and organic chemistry. They also take a lot of mathematics courses (usually four) and they learn some physics and biology before specializing in the fundamentals of chemical engineering (courses like thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and chemical kinetics, but also process control, separation processes and heat and mass transfer). When you graduate, you will find that a degree in Chemical Engineering is valued by a broad range of potential employers: pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies, semiconductor and electronics companies, consumer products, and oil and gas companies. But chemical engineers graduates are also hired by some companies that you might not expect, like banks and other financial institutions, consulting firms, and food companies. Of course, safety at work is an issue. But there is not a reputable industry that I know that hires chemical engineers that doesn't have employee safety as their most important concern. The safety of workers in the chemical industry is, in fact, much better than the average manufacturing job in the U.S. But chemical engineers work in so many industries that, if safety is a particular concern, you can work in a department or in an industry that does not involve exposure to hazardous materials. Chemical engineering is a wonderfully versatile degree to have and we make important advances in the production of products that make life better. It's a very fulfilling career path and one in which safety concerns should not be the deciding factor in your choice of study at college. I hope you keep working at your studies and fulfill your dreams, whatever they may be. Paulette Clancy
    These are some myths about chemical engineering. No it is not unsafe to work as a chemical engineer. There are many avenues of chemical engineering. It is the base for many new streams like bio engineering. As a woman you can opt for R &D , plant design, pilot plant development work, or any other process of engineering work. These jobs do not expose you to any harmful chemicals. Also, these days plants are so well designed that the fugitive emissions are minimum and human exposure is well taken care. I have worked in plants, pilot plants for almost 25 years now. But chemistry and chemical engineering are two different fields. Chemical engineering is highly mathematical and unless you have aptitude for maths and are good with calculus etc you should not opt. But safety is no issue. suniti
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