Chemical Engineering

First Things First

Salaries

Practically all salary surveys performed in the past twenty years show Chemical Engineering at the top of the list of entry level salaries, among all traditional science and engineering fields. In 2009, the average starting salary for Chemical Engineers B.S. graduates was $64,900 (Source: NACE National Association of Colleges and Employers).

Popularity

In a survey study performed by sociology researchers from the University of Southern California and the University of California at Irvine, Chemical Engineering was the only Engineering field to make the top 10 list of most prestigious occupations. According to Dr. Keiko Makao, a USC sociology professor and one of the study's authors, "The most highly rated occupations are generally those that require a large amount of education and specialized training and that command large incomes."

Employment Opportunities

A degree in Chemical Engineering offers the broadest spectrum of employment opportunities among all traditional scientific and engineering professions. This creates also the high demand that provides Chemical Engineers with the highest starting salaries among all such fields.

Engineering Test Scores

Chemical Engineers often achieve the highest pass rates among all engineers that take the FE/EIT (Fundamentals of Engineering/Engineer in Training) exam. This exam is the first step in obtaining a professional engineering license.

Contributions to Society

As part of the 2000 National Engineer's Week, and to recognize engineers' contributions to humanity at the turn of the 20th Century, the National Academy of Engineering announced the greatest engineering achievements of the 20th Century.

More than 60 professional societies, including AIChE (The American Institute of Chemical Engineers), were asked to nominate achievements from their respective area of expertise. AIChE nominated five different areas of achievement for the project, all of which were represented in the final 20. Neil Armstrong anounced the twenty achievements that were ultimately chosen in a speech entitled "The Engineering Century," which was given in Washington D.C. on February 22nd. Armstrong said that "We know that a century ago, the world definitely needed improvement in quality of life. Engineers are dedicated to solving problems. Engineering is a profession which leaves an imprint on our society in countless ways."

Some of the top-20 achievements where Chemical Engineers have left their imprint are:

  • The automobile, the airplane, petroleum, and petrochemical technologies. These were listed as four separate achievements, but are inextricably related. Advances in the refining of fuel have allowed for cleaner-burning gasoline that has greatly reduced the impact these new modes of travel have on the environment.

  • Water supply and distribution. Chemical engineers have been instrumental in purifying water supplies.

  • High-performance materials.

  • Laser and fiber optics.

  • Health technologies. These include the harnessing of chemicals and radionuclides for the creation of contrast agents in radiology as well as new methods of regulating drug delivery.

  • Nuclear technologies. Nuclear energy is expected to continue to grow in importance as a primary source of energy.

  • Space exploration and spacecraft technology. Chemical Engineering plays a big role in the advances of space technologies with the development of high-performance materials and fuel propellants.

  • Computers and electronics. This includes the developments in microchip manufacturing, where Chemical Engineering plays an integral role.

Student Leadership

Ian McCarrell ('10) serves as Secretary of the Florida Tech Chapter of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society (2009-10). 

Charmaine Flemming ('09) served as Secretary of the Florida Tech Chapter of NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) and Co-Treasurer of the Florida Tech Student Ambassadors (2007-09).

Christine Flemming ('09) served as Vice President and National Senator of NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) and Co-Treasurer of the Florida Tech Student Ambassadors (2007-09).

Kelly Johansen ('09) served as Vice President of the Florida Tech Chapter of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society (2008-09).

Ryan Groetch ('07) served as Vice President of the Florida Tech Student Government in the 2006-2007 Academic Year.

Jason Conrad ('05), served as President of several Florida Tech student organizations including the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the American Chemical Society (ACS), and has been an active member in the Florida Tech Student Government and various community service organizations.

Chinping Chng ('02), Anne-Marie Johnston ('01), Andrea King ('01), Bruce Locuson ('01), and Frank Trevino('02) were honored with Outstanding Student Leaders Awards at the 2001 Florida Tech Student Leadership Celebration. These Chemical Engineering Students earned one third (5 of 15) of all Leadership Awards given to Florida Tech Juniors and Seniors, although the Chemical Engineering Student body represents a mere 2 to 3% of all undergraduate students at Florida Tech!

Rich Cannyn ('00) served as President of the Florida Tech Student Government for the 2000-2001 Academic Year.

To view the achievements of past Florida Tech Chemical Engineering students, click here.

Expert's Opinion

After his interaction with the program faculty and students, and his review of the curriculum, course material, and student project reports, a very distinguished, internationally renowned program evaluator stated that his visit to the Florida Tech Chemical Engineering Program was for him "A breath of fresh air", after many visits to Chemical Engineering Programs of other schools. He later stated in his report that “The Florida Tech Chemical Engineering Program presents a refreshing initiative in the national engineering education scene. The sense of mission, the blend of individual spirit and accountability, and the quality of instruction are not commonplace.”

Territory

Florida Institute of Technology is the only private university south of Vanderbilt and east of Tulane offering a Chemical Engineering BS degree. The university is in close proximity to the most populated areas of Florida. 

Diversity

Chemical Engineering maintains the highest percentage of female students and engineers among all engineering fields in the US. The Florida Tech Chemical Engineering Program also maintains the highest percentage of female students (45% average in the Classes of 2005-2009 graduates) among all Florida Tech Engineering Programs.

Alumni Satisfaction

In all surveys of Florida Tech Chemical Engineering Alumni, 95-100% agree with the statement that "Chemical Engineering graduates from Florida Tech are as well or better prepared for industrial employment as graduates from other Univeristies". This is one of the highest rates of alumni satisfaction achieved in surveys of this type.

Student Accomplishments and Awards 

Florida Tech Chemical Engineering students have earned numerous honors and awards at the national, regional, state, and univeristy level, in recognition of their academic and research excellence, extracurricular activity, leadership skills, and outstanding teamwork performance in design competitions. For more details, you may visit our Student Accomplishments and Awards page.

Fun

We have a lot of fun, too! Click here  to see photos of some of our picnics, volleyball games, graduation celebrations, conference dinners and nights, with more to come!

Game Show Trivia

On April 10, 2001, AIChE member and chemical engineer Kevin Olmstead won $2.18 million on the television game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" That night, he became the highest winning contestant in the history of game shows. He soon appeared on "Good Morning America" and "Live! with Regis and Kelly!" and was mentioned in Jay Leno's monologue on "The Tonight Show." Engineering is essential, according to Olmstead. He is using his new fame to help bolster the image of engineers in society. Olmstead is most interested in reaching students who may not know what engineers do, or how engineering impacts their lives. "People don't know that chemical engineers have a profound effect on daily life, and that needs to get out there," said Olmstead. "We need to make sure that kids are introduced to engineering in action and the possibility of engineering as a career path." (AIChExtra, July 2001)