Chemical engineering certifications can be a valuable asset to budding and experienced professionals across a variety of industries. Having one demonstrates to prospective employers that you know your stuff, and in some cases having a certification can play a part in your eligibility for highly-specialized job roles and career advancement in the chemical engineering field.
Having certifications in chemical engineering can improve your standing in the labor market, but not all certifications provide the same value, and some are more respected than others. This article contains a list of the highest-paying chemical engineering certifications, tips for choosing the best certifications for chemical engineering, and suggestions for exam prep resources.
What Is a Professional Certification?
A professional certification is an academic credential that verifies and validates that a person has the critical knowledge, skills, and expertise needed to perform a job and states that they have been prepared to meet the criteria for specific job roles successfully. Certifications are only awarded after they have passed the assessment of a third-party credentialing institution.
What’s the Difference Between a Certification and a Certificate?
The difference between a certification and a certificate is the process, course content, and the program outlook. Certifications are industry-standard credentials awarded by professional associations, companies, and independent organizations which certify that a person has the skills and competencies to work in a particular industry.
Certificates are diplomas awarded by colleges and vocational schools to show that students have completed a certificate program. Unlike certifications, they are gateways to an academic degree and provide fundamental knowledge for a career in the industry.
Why Is Certification in Chemical Engineering Important?
A certification in chemical engineering is important because it allows you to strengthen your industry knowledge and stay up-to-date with recent developments in the chemical engineering profession. It can also increase your marketability and demonstrates to potential employers that you are committed to improving your knowledge and expertise in your engineering discipline.
Best Chemical Engineering Certifications by Salary
|Petroleum Engineering Certification
|Society of Petroleum Engineers
|Certified Reliability Engineer
|American Society of Quality
|Six Sigma Black Belt
|International Association of Six Sigma Certification
|Certified Plant Engineer (CPE)
|Association for Facilities Engineering
|$700 for members; $900 for non-members
|CCPS Certified Process Safety Professional Certification
|American Institute of Chemical Engineers
|Six Sigma Green Belt
|American Society for Quality
|Certified Chemical Engineer (CCE)
|National Certification Commission in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
|$150 for AIC members; $260 for non-members
|Six Sigma Yellow Belt
|American Society for Quality
|Physical/Chemical Industrial Waste Operator – Class III
|Association of Boards of Certification (ABC)
|Level II Laboratory Lubricant Analyst
|International Council for Machinery Lubrication
Best Chemical Engineering Certifications to Further Your Career
How to Choose the Best Chemical Engineering Certification for Your Career
Knowing how to choose the best chemical engineering certification for your career can be difficult, considering the vast number of available options. That being said, you can narrow your options by conducting proper research, considering your interests and career goals, and having an idea of how much value you’ll get from becoming certified.
Conduct Proper Research
It’s important to know what each certification entails before you sign up. Consider what requirements the certification has, whether or not it’s recognized in the industry, and what the costs of the examination, membership, and renewal are. Keeping these factors in mind will help you make an informed decision and select the best chemical engineering certification.
Keep Your Interests and Career Goals In Mind
If you’re passionate about building a particular skillset or want to delve into a particular industry, make sure that the certifications you’re interested in benefit those goals. The Petroleum Engineering Certification from the Society of Petroleum Engineers, for example, can provide fundamental knowledge for chemical engineers who want a career in the oil and gas sector.
Consider the Value of Becoming Certified
It is important to understand the value of certifications before you make a choice. If a certification can increase your professional credibility, salary, job standing, and professional growth, it may be a great option for you. If a certification won’t directly help you in one or more of those areas, considering a different certification is advisable.
Which Chemical Engineering Certifications Pay the Most?
The chemical engineering certifications that pay the most are the Petroleum Engineering Certification, Certified Reliability Engineer, Six Sigma Black Belt, Certified Plant Engineer, and CCPS Certified Process Safety Professional Certification.
Highest-Paying Chemical Engineering Certifications
- Petroleum Engineering Certification: $115,000
- Certified Reliability Engineer: $112,000
- Six Sigma Black Belt: $106,000
- Certified Plant Engineer: $97,000
- Six Sigma Green Belt: $88,000
Which Chemical Engineering Certifications Are the Best for Beginners?
The chemical engineering certifications that are best for beginners are the Six Sigma Yellow Belt and the Certified Chemical Engineer. These certifications provide basic level knowledge that is tailored toward beginners and entry-level professionals. They also do not require any work experience.
Best College Certificate Programs
How to Prepare for Your Chemical Engineering Certification Exam
You can prepare for your chemical engineering certification exam by taking chemical engineering exam prep courses as well as delving into some other resources such as books, online communities, and websites. Most certifications provide a series of courses online and resources that cover the scope of knowledge that the exam tests for.
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Best Courses to Prepare for Chemical Engineering Certification Exams
In this section, we’ve put together a detailed list of some of the best chemical engineering prep courses you can use to prepare for certification exams. We’ve included information such as the cost, duration, and provider of each course. Keep in mind that these courses are designed to prepare you for a specific certification and are generally not interchangeable.
Other Resources to Prepare for Your Chemical Engineering Certification Exams
Outside of online courses, there are chemical engineering exam prep resources such as books, websites, and online communities which you can use to prepare for your certification exam. Below is a list of some great resources you can include among your study materials for your chemical engineering exam prep.
SPE Petroleum Engineering Certification and PE License Exam Reference Guide
This is a one-stop resource that contains all the key industry concepts, terminologies, equations, and formulas that would be tested in the SPE petroleum engineering certification examination. It covers reservoir engineering, drilling engineering, formation evaluation, production engineering, and petroleum economics.
SPE Petroleum Engineering Certification and PE License Exam Reference Guide Overview
- Type of Resource: Book
- Cost: $30
- Ideal For: Students preparing for the SPE Petroleum Engineering Certification exam
Guidelines for Risk-Based Process Safety
This book provides essential knowledge of chemical engineering process safety management guidelines such as the best safety practices on how to manufacture, consume, and handle chemicals and improve the process safety management in the chemical engineering field. It’s designed for students preparing for the CCPS Process Safety Professional Certification exam.
Guidelines for Risk-Based Process Safety Overview
- Type of Resource: Book
- Cost: $174
- Ideal For: People preparing for the CCPS Certified Process Safety Professional Certification
The Certified Reliability Engineer Handbook, Third Edition
This book was specifically prepared to provide instruction to professional engineers who want to take the Certified Reliability Engineer Certification exam. The book covers core concepts, including performance monitoring, root cause analysis, leadership, and quality triangles.
The Certified Reliability Engineer Handbook Overview
- Type of Resource: Book
- Cost: $135 ($95 for ASQ members)
- Ideal For: People preparing to take the Certified Reliability Engineer Certification exam
The Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt Handbook
This is a reference manual covering the key concepts tested in the ASQ’s Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification examination. The manual provides readers with the basic knowledge of Six Sigma, including process improvement and variation reduction, and even comes with a CD-ROM loaded with practice questions and recorded webinars.
The Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt Handbook Overview
- Type of Resource: Book
- Cost: $105 ($74 for ASQ members)
- Ideal For: People who want to take the ASQ’s Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification examination
Best Online Courses
Chemical Engineering Job Outlook and Average Salary
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for chemical engineers is positive, with the number of available jobs projected to grow by approximately nine percent between 2020 and 2030. This translates to about 1,800 new job openings each year in the next decade.
While the average annual salary for a chemical engineer sits at $105,550, what you can earn as one depends on your skills, certifications, location, employer, and industry. The highest-earning chemical engineers work in engineering services, research-based positions, and wholesale trade, as well as the petroleum and coal manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries.
Best Chemical Engineering Jobs After Certification
The best chemical engineering jobs after certification include quality systems engineers, reservoir engineers, manufacturing engineers, process control engineers, and senior chemical engineers. The number of Certified Chemical Engineer jobs is high thanks to its encompassing various fields and specializations. Also, professionals can pursue a remote job opportunity if their skills can be applicable to a specific role.
Best Chemical Engineering Associations
The best chemical engineering associations are the American Chemical Society (ACS), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), and the International Association of Engineers (IAENG).
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Founded in 1876, ACS is a non-profit scientific organization with the primary purpose of improving the lives of people through chemistry. It has a membership of over 151,000 members from 140 countries. It is open to undergraduate students, graduate students, and in general professionals with a degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, or related fields in the chemical industry.
American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
This is the world’s leading association of chemical engineering professionals. It has over 60,000 members from over 110 countries and provides them with the resources and information they need to build a career in any area of chemical engineering. Students and practicing engineers can become members and benefit from their network of top chemical engineering professionals.
Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)
This association is one of many professional qualifying bodies for chemical, biochemical, and process engineers. It has a network of over 30,000 members in over 100 countries and helps its members build expertise, gain experience, and attain professional registration in the chemical industry.
Association of Energy Engineers (AEE)
This is a non-profit community of energy professionals dedicated to improving energy efficiency for a clean and sustainable future. It aims to shape the future of energy generation through renewable energy awareness, education, networking, recognition, and professional certification.
International Association of Engineers Society of Chemical Engineering
The International Association of Engineers was founded in 1968. Its Society of Chemical Engineering aims to promote collaboration between chemical engineers with professionals across many different industries to advance the application of engineering techniques both in and out of academia.
Are Chemical Engineering Certifications Worth It?
Yes, chemical engineering certifications are worth it because they give you a chance to learn the critical skills you need to land high-profile jobs and improve your standing in the job market. They build on the basics of chemical engineering and can offer specialized knowledge that chemical engineers can use to make a transition into different industries. Some certifications are also required for specific positions.
Additional Reading About Chemical Engineering
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Chemical Engineering Certifications FAQ
The branches of chemical engineering include biochemical engineering, biomedical engineering, environmental science, petroleum engineering, analysis of chemical reactions, nanotechnology, and industrial engineering. Students in a chemical engineering degree program can choose to work in any one of these areas.
The best chemical engineering certifications are Six Sigma Black Belt, Certified Chemical Engineer, Petroleum Engineering Certification, and Certified Plant Engineers because they provide you with the highest earning potential.
The typical entry requirements for a degree in chemical engineering are a minimum GPA of 3.0 and high standardized test scores. Depending on the program, prospective chemical engineers may also be asked to submit letters of recommendation and a writing sample.
The different types of chemical engineers are manufacturing engineers, plastics engineers, safety engineers, pharmaceutical engineers, process engineers, and petroleum engineers. There are several engineering careers an experienced chemical engineer can pursue.
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