Placement Prospects for Degree Recipients

Placement prospects for Chemical Engineering graduates have historically been very good, and graduates from Tulane’s CBE department are not exceptions. From a very broad perspective, graduates with STEM degrees tend to have higher salaries during their prime earning years (Figure 1). Within the engineering disciplines, median salaries of bachelor’s degree graduates of Chemical Engineering programs have continued to make a strong showing during recent years, as has the average offer of starting salary (Figure 2).

It has been noted, “majors with high technical, business, and healthcare content tend to earn the most among both recent and experienced college graduates. Engineering majors lead both in earnings for recent and experienced college graduates.” ¹ Table 1 compares unemployment rates and average earnings of different levels of education and experience for several engineering disciplines, or several fields, respectively. As shown, chemical engineers are second lowest in unemployment and highest in earnings.


Figure 1 - STEM prime-age workers earn above-average wages. Data shown are in 2009 US dollars. (source: American Community Survey data, 2006-2009).

Figure 2
- Average starting 2012 salary offers for graduates holding specific bachelor’s degrees. (source: National Association of Colleges and Employers,


Table 1 - ACS 2009-2010, pooled sample. Recent college graduates are 22-26 years of age, experienced workers are 30-54 years of age. Graduate degree holders are limited to 30-54 years of age. Percent unemployed are computed based on total employed and unemployed. Earnings based on full-time, full-year workers.

2009-10 Unemployment Rates

2009-10 Average Earnings

Recent College Graduate Experienced College Graduate Graduate Degree Holder Recent College Graduate Experienced College Graduate Graduate Degree Holder

General Engineering

N.A. 5.7% 3.0% N.A. $75,000 $96,000

Chemical Engineering

N.A. 4.2% 3.5% N.A. $94,000 $101,000

Civil Engineering

8.1% 4.5% 2.8% $50,000 $81,000 $96,000

Electrical Engineering

7.3% 5.2% 3.5% $57,000 $90,000 $106,000

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

N.A. 5.1% 4.0% N.A. $80,000 $99,000

Mechanical Engineering

8.6% 3.8% 3.5% $58,000 $86,000 $100,000

Miscellaneous Engineering

N.A. 5.8% N.A. N.A. $72,000 N.A.

All Engineering

7.5% 4.9% 3.4% $55,000 $81,000 $100,000

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