Why You Should Consider a Career as a Chemical Engineer after Your Military Service


Chemical engineers are tasked with applying the principles of physics, chemistry, math, biology, and engineering principles to solve problems that arise from chemicals, fuel, and other chemical materials. It is a job that requires discipline, leadership, and a knack for creativity. The Chemical Engineer salary is also appealing. A person who goes into this role also needs to understand how to operate certain machinery in order to carry out certain duties of the job.

Gas factory

A veteran of the military is someone who would be a great fit to become a Chemical Engineer. They follow orders, understand safety protocols and how to uphold them, and understand rigorous training to deal with situations that can involve the loss of life. If you are exiting the military, consider becoming a chemical engineer.

The Value Veterans Bring to Chemical Engineering


There are a number of transferable skills that veterans bring to the field of chemical engineering. We will break down each of the following values that veterans bring:

  • Dependability
  • Self Discipline
  • Organization
  • check
    Rule & Detail Oriented


In order to work with dangerous chemicals and the machinery that is used to analyze these chemicals, the person in the role needs to be very dependable. Folks who are leaving the military can be very dependable. Whatever branch of the military you are in, you are taught to be dependable for your squad, unit, or group.

Being dependable sometimes means staying later on a job to oversee a chemical reaction, or that means being responsible for ensuring the safety of certain situations. For instance, Chemical engineers are tasked with developing safety procedures that are used by other workers who operate machinery or are in close proximity to dangerous chemicals.

It is imperative that those who are Chemical engineers are dependable.


Those who want to become Chemical engineers need to have self-discipline. Self-discipline is a skill that many folks leaving active service should be well familiar with. To get through the rigors of military service a person must have a large level of self-discipline. The same is true for those who wish to become Chemical engineers.

The scientific rules and strategies involved with becoming a Chemical engineer require a large amount of self-discipline to mastery. Becoming a Chemical engineer requires both a Bachelor’s of science in chemical engineering and some form of working experience. Self-discipline is necessary to stay the course for this program and to stay even with the rigors of the courses and the job itself.


If you are just leaving the military, chances are you are probably organized due to the way in which the military operates. This is a skillset that comes in handy for Chemical engineers as they need to be very organized.

Chemical engineers have to develop processes to separate components of liquids and gasses, or they need to know how to generate electrical currents using chemical processes. These actions take a great organization to get the process down each time.

Organization can also help with the decision maker a Chemical engineer has to do. Sometimes a Chemical engineer needs to think about the pros and cons of a solution to a problem before actually working on that solution. Being able to parse through multiple solutions and choose one, is something a person who was trained in the military will probably have experience with.

Rule & Detail Oriented

Different regiments of the armed forces have different sets of routines and rule sets in place to cover grooming, how one carries themselves around those of higher ranks, and ultimately a code.


Similarly, chemical engineers have a set of processes that must be carried out for them to perform their job safely.

Specifically, when it comes to using technology, Chemical engineers must understand how to use different software to carry out their jobs. Software like MATLAB, Computer Aided Design Software (CAD), and Microsoft Access are a few of the technologies that Chemical engineers use.

Benefits of Being a Chemical Engineer​


Being a Chemical Engineer has a number of benefits that we think those leaving the military will probably enjoy. The benefits of becoming a Chemical engineer are as follows:

  • Great work environment
  • Excellent pay
  • Positive Job Growth
chemist holding flask

Great Work Environment

Some folks who are leaving the military may have PTSD and may find it difficult to be around large crowds or groups of people for any given time. Being a Chemical Engineer affords you the ability to mostly work in labs and offices. These spaces usually have air quality control because of the chemicals that are being used in the facilities.

While there could be the chance for loud noises depending on the machinery used, there are definitely not as many folks in and out of the facilities that Chemical engineers use. This is a great job, if you want to do work in an environment that is relatively conducive to focusing and completing a task.

Excellent Pay

Working as a Chemical Engineer is a very lucrative endeavor. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median chemical engineer salary was $102,160 in 2017. On the lower end, chemical engineers can expect to make around $62,00 per year, while on the higher end, chemical engineers can expect to make $169,080.

The amount of money you can make as a Chemical Engineer is largely defined by your education, and your experience working as a Chemical Engineer. If you are a Chemical Engineer who is tasked with managing other chemical engineers, then you can expect an increase in pay.

Positive Job Growth

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs for chemical engineers are expect to grow by 8% by 2026. This is exceptionally stable job growth and should alleviate any fears of a chemical engineer finding a position.

Chemical engineers also benefit from being able to work in a large variety of industries. Plastic resin manufacturing, automobile manufacturers, and a variety of other manufactures seek the skillsets and products that chemical engineers can produce. It is projected that nanotechnology, alternative energies, and biotechnology fields will have a need for chemical engineers.

Education Pipeline  


While those leaving the military will love the benefits of working as a Chemical Engineer, the education pipeline is realistically a different story. To become a Chemical Engineer, those leaving the military need to be aware of the following requirements:

  • Education
  • Internship
  • Landing the First Job


Becoming a Chemical Engineer is not an easy process and requires at least a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or a related field. These programs usually include classwork, laboratory work, field studies, and rigorous exams.

There are some universities that offer 5-year programs where those looking to become chemical engineers can get a bachelors and a master’s degree. This would allow for the potential of the Chemical Engineer to work in a research capacity.


Some universities offer internships or co-ops that allow you to work with a company as a Chemical Engineer. You gain practical on the job experience, you can get paid, and the co-op counts for completion of some of your courses.

An internship or some amount of co-op is required to break into the industry. Those who are looking to hire chemical engineers want to hire folks who have experience working in their roles.

Landing Your First Job

Internships and co-ops will go a long way towards helping someone who wants to become a Chemical Engineer. Landing the first job can be tough as you will need the combined education and actual work experience to land the job. This can be a very frustrating part of the process and can lead to a feeling of discouragement.

Understand that landing a job in this field is very challenging. You will want to utilize programs that place students into Chemical Engineering roles if you want your best shot at landing one of these high paying jobs.

Becoming A Chemical Engineer Has Many Perks and a Few Challenges 


Becoming a chemical engineer is a lengthy process that can take between 4 to 5 years to accomplish. Veterans, and those leaving the military, will find they have a number of transferable skills that will help them prepare for a role as a Chemical Engineer. Dependability, self-discipline, organization, and rule and detail orientation will help those leaving the military work as chemical engineers.

As we have listed there are a number of benefits that can be gained by working as a Chemical Engineer. Great workplace environment and long-term job growth make becoming a Chemical Engineer a safe bet for folks leaving the military. The generous Chemical Engineer salary is also a great benefit to this career.

Lastly, you need to consider the education and training requirement of becoming a Chemical Engineer. This process will be challenging, but we feel folks who are leaving the military will have the skill set and strength to preserver through this training regimen.

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