Your chemistry and physics skills could pave the way for a new career in chemical engineering. Colorado has three schools with chemical engineering programs; all three schools award Bachelor's degrees, Master's degrees, and PhDs. The average cost of tuition in this state is $13,400 per year.
If you want the skills and knowledge base you need to compete for chemical engineering jobs, you should start by earning a Bachelor's degree. A Bachelor's degree is comprised of 120 credits; you earn these credits over four years by taking general education courses and chemical engineering courses. Bachelor's-level courses include Introduction to Polymers, Process Simulation & Design, and Chemical Process Control.
A two-year Master's degree or seven-year PhD, both of which require a Bachelor's degree, can take your career to the next level. As an advanced student at this level, plan on completing courses like Viscous Flow, Chemical Engineering Kinetics, and Biointerfacial Engineering.
Regardless of which degree you decide to earn, you can plan on spending a considerable amount of time in your school's engineering lab. Your lab hours give you the hands-on experience and practical skills you need to succeed.
In general, tuition in Colorado is fairly affordable when compared to other states. On the low end of the scale, the University of Colorado Boulder costs $6,700 per year for residents and $15,650 per year for non-residents. The Colorado School of Mines is one of the more expensive schools in the state; residents pay $7,200 per semester and non-residents pay $15,100 per semester.
Scholarships can greatly reduce the costs of your education. Consider applying for scholarships awarded by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado. This group awards over $30,000 in scholarships each academic year.
Many chemical engineering employers require employees to be licensed Professional Engineers. You must take and pass the Principles & Practice of Engineering exam; you can then apply for licensure through the State Board of Licensure for Architects, Professional Engineers, and Professional Land Surveyors.
While O*Net reports that the average salary for a chemical engineer in Colorado is $90,300, you can increase your earning potential in several ways. You can network with peers and attend continuing education events to stay relevant in your field. Joining a local group like the Colorado Engineering Council can help you meet these goals.