If you are deciding between majoring in statistics 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.
|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.
Not a very employable
degree by itself if you
do not take applied
Very employable if
you combine it with
a more applied minor
such as computer
Well above average
Also employable if
you combine it with
data science and
classes and projects.
Source for chemical engineering major salary and jobs
There are a number of things to consider when choosing between the two degrees. Below, are details about each major, their differences and reasons to choose one or the other.
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 statistics. 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 similarly difficult to statistics which can also be a difficult major.
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 the types of things you could be working on and to see if it is something you would enjoy.
Details about a statistics major
Below are some key details about the statistics major.
According to Payscale, the average pay of someone with a statistics degree is $70,050
This is higher than the average pay for people with a bachelor of arts degree, across all majors, which is reported as being $64,000 and roughly equal to the average pay for people with a bachelor of science degree which is reported as being $71,000.
However, competing majors such as computer science and the different engineering degrees have significantly higher average pay. For example, the reported pay for someone with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering is $92,000.
The reason why statistics has a lower average pay could be that data analyst type roles are very popular among statistics majors. According to Payscale, these roles only pay $60,000 on average. Whereas, roles such as software engineer have an average pay of $90,000.
Types of jobs the degree will qualify you for
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for mathematicians and statisticians will rise by 33% by 2029 compared to 2019.
This is mainly due to the surge in data that companies have been receiving in recent years that they need people with mathematical and statistical skills to make sense of.
Since statistics is used in many different fields, a statistics degree should open you up to many different job opportunities.
According to Payscale, the most common reported jobs people, with a statistics degree, report having are:
And a Business analyst
However, because it is a general degree, if you get a statistics degree without taking more applied classes, it can be difficult to compete for more specialized positions.
If you do end up choosing a statistics major, this means that you should take courses from the field that you want to enter, do summer internships and to complete projects related that field as well in order to be competitive when seeking a job.
It also means that alternative majors such as computer science or the different engineering degrees are likely to give you an easier time when looking for a job after graduating.
This is also shown in the data, since computer science and engineering both report having higher average pay than statistics.
Many statistics majors go into software engineering after graduation.
If you want to qualify for software engineering jobs then it would help to make sure to take a data structures and algorithms class since the material from that class gets tested heavily in software engineering interviews.
It would also help to try to get some internships as a software engineer while in college. To qualify for these internships, it would help to complete a number of software engineering projects, such as a web app, in order to show recruiters you know what you are doing.
Currently, data science is becoming a very popular career path among statistics majors.
To qualify for data science jobs, it would help to make sure to learn Python programming, data analysis using the Pandas library, machine learning, to complete data science projects as an undergrad and to try to get data science internships.
If you combine a statistics degree with software engineering skills and classes related to machine learning and data science, it would put you in a very good position upon graduation since software engineering, data science and machine learning engineering jobs are all very well paid with strong predicted job growth over the next decade.
If you get a statistics degree by itself, it would still put you in a good position to be competitive for “analyst” type roles but they do not pay nearly as well as data science, software engineering and machine learning engineering.
Types of classes you will study
As a statistics major you can expect to take the following classes:
- Differential calculus
- Integral calculus
- Multivariate calculus
- Linear algebra
- Discrete math
- Mathematical statistics
- Data analysis
You can also expect to have the option to take other statistics classes and related classes as available.
How difficult it is as a major
The statistics major is generally considered as being a moderately difficult degree by STEM standards. Some of the more advanced classes can be proof-based which tends to be much harder than the more computational classes but you might not have to take many of those classes depending on your specific program.
Some things to consider about the major
A Statistics degree can open up many different possible avenues for yourself and can be a very good degree when combined with a more applied minor. This is because the statistics taught in a stats major is useful in a wide variety of fields but you will need to supplement it with some field-specific coursework so that you are able to show that you can apply the statistics to those fields. It would also help to do some self-directed study in order to learn useful skills that might not be taughtt in the classroom such as Python programming and data analysis using Python.
A very good combination would be to major in statistics and to minor in computer science. Doing this would open you up to job roles such as data science, machine learning engineer, data analysis and software engineering.
Majoring in computer science and minoring in statistics is also a very good combination. If you want to go down the data science route, it would also help to make sure to take some statistics and data analysis classes.
More details about the statistics major
I have written more about how to do well in a stats major here and I have written more about whether or not a stats degree is worth it here.
Reasons to choose a statistics degree
While chemical engineering roles can pay better than analyst type roles that you can get with a statistics degree by itself, the degree can qualify you for more high-paying jobs if you combine it with something such as computer science and data science knowledge. A statistics degree combined with computer science and data science knowledge is arguably one of the most employable combinations you can get right now due to the large number of jobs available already and the high predicted job growth.
Also, the demand for statistics majors is increasing sharply due to the increasing amounts of data that companies are getting. It is likely that the career paths that statistics can lead you down, such as data science, will continue to be highly in demand for many years.
If you do choose to get a statistics degree, it would help a lot to consider what you would like to do after graduating and to make sure to take classes related to that. It would also help to try to complete projects and to do summer internships related to a job you are interested in to make your job search much easier after graduation. It would also help to make sure to get good at programming, especially in R and Python, since many statistics jobs require programming and data analysis knowledge.
Reasons to choose chemical engineering
When compared with a statistics bachelor’s degree by itself, you can expect a chemical engineering degree to qualify you for more high-paying jobs at the entry-level. However, a statistics degree combined with computer science and data science can be a lot more employable. There are also a lot more analyst type jobs roles available than chemical engineering roles, but the analyst roles do not tend to pay as well as chemical engineering.
Furthermore, the jobs that a chemical engineering degree can qualify you for tend to be very interesting jobs that have high levels of satisfaction. Although, many of the statistics jobs can be very interesting in their own right.
Ultimately, it would help to consider what you find most interesting and what sorts of jobs you are most interested in when deciding on which degree would be best for you.