If you have an interest in both chemical engineering and accounting, you might be wondering which would be a better major. This post will show you the advantages and disadvantages of each and help you decide which would be a better major for you.

At a glance:

Chemical EngineeringAccounting
Payscale reported
average pay
Job opportunitiesAverageModerate/Good
Types of jobs
you can qualify for
Chemical engineer
Project engineer
Process engineer
Manufacturing engineer
Production engineer
Environmental engineer
Account manager
Financial analyst
Tax manager
Difficulty of the
Key things to note

There are only around 32,600
chemical engineering jobs in
the US. This could make it
difficult to find a job and you
will likely need to relocate.

Average predicted job growth.

Good reported job satisfaction.

Often necessary to
complete the CPA
exam to progress
into senior positions
and to get the more
lucrative jobs. A
master’s degree will
also help.

Lower level bookkeeping
roles are likely to become

Has good overall job prospects.

Can be a path into a number of
different fields including finance
and business.
Source for chemical engineering major salary and jobs
Source for accounting salary and jobs

There are many things to consider when deciding between the two degrees. Also, there are other things to consider if you do decide to major in either of them such as what classes you should take.

Details about a chemical engineering degree

Below are some details about a degree in chemical engineering.


According to Payscale, the average pay of someone with a degree in chemical engineering is $81,140. This is similar to the average pay you will find with most other engineering majors and it is higher than most other majors including accounting. Also, according to the BLS, the median pay of a chemical engineer is $108,770.

Job prospects

The predicted growth rate for chemical engineering jobs is 4%, in total, over the next decade and the number of chemical engineering jobs is said to be 32,600 (source). This means that chemical engineering only has average predicted job growth. Also, compared to other engineering majors, 32,600 is not a lot of jobs. This means that it is more likely that you will have a hard time looking for a job in chemical engineering and that you will be more likely to have to relocate.

However, as mentioned above, the median pay of a chemical engineer is high, so when you do get a job it can pay well. Also, they tend to be relatively secure jobs so you should be able to keep your job for a decent amount of time once you get one. Also, most people find them to be interesting jobs with good job satisfaction.

According to Payscale, common jobs for chemical engineering majors includes:

  • Chemical engineer
  • Project engineer
  • Process engineer
  • Manufacturing engineer
  • Production engineer
  • Environmental engineer


Chemical engineering is a difficult major. It will include a lot of math and physics and the chemical engineering classes themselves can be difficult. Overall, you can expect chemical engineering to be more difficult than an accounting major due to the much heavier math and physics involved.


Some classes you can expect to take in chemical engineering can include:

  • Calculus
  • Linear algebra
  • Differential equations
  • Physics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Kinetics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology

You can look here to see an example degree sequence of chemical engineering.

Things to consider

One thing to consider is that chemical engineering is not the same as chemistry. In chemical engineering, you will be focusing more on creating systems to create chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and other products (source). Whereas, a chemist will be more focused on things such as studying substances at the atomic and molecular level in a lab (source).

While other engineering degrees will pay a similar amount and often have a wider job pool available to you, you might prefer chemical engineering because of the types of jobs you can work in. It would help to do a lot of research on the types of things you could be working on and to see if it is something you would enjoy.

Details about a degree in accounting

Below are some details about the accounting major.


According to payscale, the average pay of someone with a bachelor’s degree in accounting is $70,762. This is higher than most other majors but lower than the average pay for someone with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.

Something to consider, is that completing the CPA exam and getting an accounting master’s degree will increase your earnings potential significantly.


A degree in accounting should give you good opportunities with just a bachelor’s degree. This is because the degree can qualify you for a number of accounting roles and it can also qualify you for roles in related fields such as finance and business since accounting knowledge is useful in many business applications.

However, a lot of the more lucrative accounting roles require you to be a CPA and most people that become a CPA also get a master’s degree in accounting.

Jobs that you can qualify for with a bachelor’s degree in accounting can include:

  • Accountant
  • Account manager
  • Financial analyst
  • Tax manager
  • Financial advisor

Some other jobs that you can get with a master’s degree would include:

  • Forensic accountant
  • Managerial accountant
  • Auditor
  • Chief financial officer


An accounting degree can be difficult especially in the junior and senior years when the classes become more specialized. Overall, accounting is generally considered as a moderately difficult degree.

Things to consider

If you are thinking of majoring in accounting, it could also help to minor in finance. This is because many people with accounting degrees end up in finance. Getting a finance minor should help you when looking for jobs within finance. Getting an internship, in the field, could also help a lot.

If you want to go far in accounting, it would help you to complete the CPA exam as soon as you are able to. This is because many of the more desirable jobs require that you have completed the exam.

While accounting is a degree with good job opportunities, it can still be competitive. With that being the case, it would help you a lot to try to get some summer internships while you are completing the degree.

Bottom line

As mentioned above, a chemical engineering degree should qualify you for chemical engineering and related engineering jobs that pay well at the bachelor’s level.

While chemical engineering is a degree that comes with good job prospects. It is a degree that involves a decent amount of mathematics including calculus, discrete math, differential equations, and linear algebra. If you are not great at math right now, you can quickly improve your math skills using the website khanacademy.org.

An accounting degree can also qualify you for a number of different jobs and can be a good path towards a stable career.

If you decide to get an accounting degree, it would help a lot to make sure to become a CPA and it would help to also consider getting a master’s degree. Minoring in finance could also be a good way to broaden your job prospects. It would also help a lot to get summer internships while in the major.


I created and currently manage College Corner. I received a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. My goal is to help current students do better in college and to help future students plan for college. You can read more about me and my website here.