A career in chemical engineering can take you into some of the biggest industrial plants in Alabama! Get started with a degree from one of Alabama's five chemical engineering schools. Four of these schools award Bachelor's degrees, Master's degrees, and PhDs; the fifth only awards Bachelor's degrees and Master's degrees. The average cost of tuition is $6,600 per semester.
Being a chemical engineer involves working with a large number of potentially dangerous chemicals, so it's essential to complete a comprehensive education program before you start your career. Most employers require at least a Bachelor's degree. You can typically complete the 120 credits required in a Bachelor's degree in about four years. You may take classes like Material & Energy Balance, Principles of Chemical Engineering, and Biomass Refinery Operations. You can plan on spending a considerable amount of time in the engineering laboratory. This gives you a chance to safely work with a variety of chemicals.
There are many research jobs in this field, but you generally need a Master's degree or PhD to qualify for them. A Master's degree requires two years of additional study, while a PhD generally requires seven additional years. Advanced courses at this level include Transport Phenomena, Air Pollution Engineering Control, and Mass Transfer.
Tuition rates vary from school to school in Alabama, so it's important to consider all of your options before making a school choice. One of the more affordable options in this state is the University of South Alabama. Tuition is $4,100 per semester for residents and $8,300 per semester for non-residents. Tuskegee University has one of the highest tuition rates in the state. Residents and non-residents pay $9,280 per semester.
Most schools offer a range of chemical engineering scholarships to high-performing students. Auburn University awards a variety of scholarships, including the Chemical Engineering Departmental Scholarship and the Trent Williams Scholarship.
If you want to become licensed as a Professional Engineer—which many jobs require—you can apply for licensure through the Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. You have to successfully pass the Principles & Practice of Engineering exam to earn your license.
This field is always changing, which is why it's important to always work on your professional development and education. Consider joining a professional group like the Alabama Society of Professional Engineers!
Chemical engineers can earn very competitive salaries. O*Net reports that the average salary in Alabama is $89,700 per year.