If you are deciding between majoring in finance or chemical engineering, you might want to know more about what each major has to offer. This post will show you the key facts about each major and help you to decide which would be a better degree for you.
At a glance:
|Types of jobs|
you can qualify for
|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.
Most finance jobs
require longer working
hours than most chemical
engineering jobs and can
Can qualify for a lot
of jobs with just a bachelor’s
High potential pay at the
Source for finance 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 finance. Also, according to the BLS, the median pay of a chemical engineer is $108,770.
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 a finance major due to the much heavier math and physics involved.
Some classes you can expect to take in chemical engineering can include:
- Linear algebra
- Differential equations
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 finance major
Below are some details about the finance major.
According to payscale, the average pay of someone with a finance degree is $71,737 and the hourly rate is $20.64 dollars.
When compared with most degrees, a finance degree usually comes out on top in terms of pay. A finance degree also has a high ceiling in terms of potential pay for senior-level positions.
Types of jobs you can qualify for
A finance degree can qualify you for a number of different types of jobs that are available to people with just a bachelor’s degree. This is not something that can be said for many other degrees where a master’s degree is often required to be competitive in the job market.
With that being said, some jobs, such as investment banking, will be very hard to get into if you do not have a degree from an ivy league university or an ivy league equivalent university.
Jobs that you can qualify for with a finance degree can include:
- Financial analyst
- Data analyst
- Investment analyst
- Financial advisor
- Credit analyst
- Budget analyst
Something to consider about the jobs you will qualify for is that they are often reported as being stressful jobs. This is likely to be due to high working hours, high levels of competition, some of them being commission-based and the fact that you will be dealing with other people’s money.
With that being said, the major does have a below-average unemployment rate, so you should not have too much difficulty finding a job, there is good pay and finance jobs are expected to grow by more than the average across all jobs.
Difficulty of the major
A finance undergraduate degree can have some moderately difficult classes. However, there will not be many math-heavy classes. With that being the case, a degree in finance will usually be less difficult than a chemical engineering degree which will involve more math-heavy classes.
Classes you can expect to take in the major can include:
- Micro and macro economics
- Personal finance concepts
- Project management
- Fundamentals of marketing
- Principles of business
- Corporate finance
- Managerial accounting
- Other upper-level finance courses as available
Things to consider
If you choose to get a degree in finance, it would help a lot to consider what types of finance jobs you are most interested in so that you can optimize your classes accordingly.
Many people that are able to get a high paying job immediately after graduating with a finance degree, usually will have completed internships during the summer breaks. So, it would help a lot to try to get one or two internships completed while you are in the major during the summers.
It could also help to get a minor in a field that is related to the types of jobs that you are interested in. Often, finance majors find themselves in roles that involve a lot of accounting, so getting a minor in accounting could be very useful.
Reasons to choose a chemical engineering major
A degree in chemical engineering can qualify you for chemical engineering jobs which can pay very well.
Also, chemical engineering jobs tend to be very satisfying jobs that people tend to enjoy.
However, a chemical engineering degree will require a lot of study time. There are some alternative degrees that can also give good job prospects that do not require as much study time such as computer science. Despite that, the working hours on the job will be lower than in finance most of the time.
Reasons to choose a finance major
A finance degree can also give good job prospects and there is a much larger amount of jobs available in finance, so it should be easier to find a job with a finance degree but it might not pay as well as chemical engineering initially.
If you enjoy competitive environments, a finance degree could suit you well. Also, finance does have very high potential pay in the long run since senior-level positions can pay very well. However, finance jobs can require long working hours and can be highly stressful.