Another Chemical Engineer salary history

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investingdad
Posts: 1406
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by investingdad » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:30 pm

I only have the endpoint data to share without digging into a lot of old records.

Chemical engineer, individual contributor. Low cost of living area, not Gulf Coast.


Starting Salary, 1996...33k, $15 Christmas Bonus (yes, 15 bucks, what a joke, I wish I'd kept the check)

Current Salary, 2017...106k, 10k bonus, 10k deferred stock

timmy
Posts: 705
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:57 pm

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by timmy » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:55 pm

ChemE here too :sharebeer That said, I haven't chemically engineered anything since 2003 when I designed my last wastewater treatment system.

My thinking for engineers ... You can make a great salary as an engineer. And you can progress to that salary quickly. But if you want to make more money, you have to leave pure engineering (start a company, get into sale or management, etc.). Also, look for areas (geography, companies, markets, etc.) where there is a lack of engineers.

Slacker
Posts: 577
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by Slacker » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:55 pm

Another ChemE data point (I'm an EE so not my salary data)

The ChemE started in 2012 at $70K salary and currently makes $120K salary. 4% bonus typical with occasional 7-10% bonus. OT available at base rate up to 40% of salary maximum. Not working in traditional Engineering.

neilpilot
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Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by neilpilot » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:00 pm

ChemE who started out around $10k in 1971, and retired in 2015 at $120k. After 10 months in retirement, decided to consult full time for 10 months. Consulting was devoid of benefits (I'm on medicare anyway), but I was earning at a rate of $250k/yr. Made me annoyed that I hadn't retired earlier.

timmy
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Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:57 pm

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by timmy » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:49 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:00 pm
ChemE who started out around $10k in 1971, and retired in 2015 at $120k. After 10 months in retirement, decided to consult full time for 10 months. Consulting was devoid of benefits (I'm on medicare anyway), but I was earning at a rate of $250k/yr. Made me annoyed that I hadn't retired earlier.
Wow. Nice work. Can you talk about the consulting? How did you find clients? How did you determine rates? Did you set-up LLC?

miamivice
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Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by miamivice » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:29 pm

There are a couple issues with consulting in the engineering profession:

1) You need a professional engineering license. (Just like lawyers, doctors, and hair stylists, engineering is a licensed profession that requires a license to provide engineering services to the general public) Getting one is probably not hard for a competent engineer. The problem is you become personally liable for your actions, you can't shield yourself using a LLC.

2) Insurance is difficult to obtain and/or very expensive

3) You have a long term risk of liability once you offer engineering services to the public, that are difficult to shield yourself from or insure against.

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Bounca
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Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by Bounca » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:58 pm

All this salary high five $ talk is bunk without cost of living, etc. Silly.

Slacker
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Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by Slacker » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:40 pm

Bounca wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:58 pm
All this salary high five $ talk is bunk without cost of living, etc. Silly.
Salaries I listed are currently in the Phoenix metro area. We live in one of the bedroom/retirement communities outside of Phoenix that has cheaper housing. However, you can still get very low cost housing in Phoenix metro (Mesa, Gilbert, Tempe, Glendale, etc have pretty affordable areas in decent neighborhoods). Groceries are very low cost here - spend less than $400 for two adults and several pets each month.

neilpilot
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Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by neilpilot » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:52 pm

Bounca wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:58 pm
All this salary high five $ talk is bunk without cost of living, etc. Silly.
Memphis is a relatively LCOL area, indexed at about 78% of the national average.

neilpilot
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Location: Memphis area

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by neilpilot » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:55 pm

miamivice wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:29 pm
There are a couple issues with consulting in the engineering profession:

1) You need a professional engineering license. (Just like lawyers, doctors, and hair stylists, engineering is a licensed profession that requires a license to provide engineering services to the general public) Getting one is probably not hard for a competent engineer. The problem is you become personally liable for your actions, you can't shield yourself using a LLC.

2) Insurance is difficult to obtain and/or very expensive

3) You have a long term risk of liability once you offer engineering services to the public, that are difficult to shield yourself from or insure against.
When I noted my 10 months of consulting, I worked as an employee of an engineering consulting firm. So while I was a consultant, I was actually an employee and received a W-2. No need for a PE license, covered under the employer's liability insurance and no personal risk.

timmy
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Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:57 pm

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by timmy » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:06 pm

Bounca wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:58 pm
All this salary high five $ talk is bunk without cost of living, etc. Silly.
:moneybag :moneybag :moneybag

bada bing
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Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by bada bing » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:34 am

I started school as a ChemE major and went until 1st semester junior year.
The internship and plant trips I made during summer break after sophomore
year soured me on the idea of a career as a ChemE. I quit school and went
to an Associate program for process control instrumentation. The AS program
was a snap after my time in the more rigorous engineering program.

I have since worked for 3 different oil majors. Currently employed by an
oil major on the north slope, Alaska. Since I started as an hourly technician,
I have always been paid more than company engineers who are doing
technical engineering. I don't think that is widely understood outside the
industry; if you want to make money as an employee of a mega biz with
your engineering degree, you have to move into management. Engineering
is an adequately but not generously paid specialty.

Just as a comparison, I currently earn a base of $175K with a very good
bennie package and modest but dependable annual bonus. Engineers, even
senior engineers, working for the same company top out about $140K. The
difference is that the path to management is much easier with an engineering
degree and there isn't nearly the glass ceiling on degree holders if they get
on the management track. Engineers with special skills can also move into
day rate consulting on a project basis and do much better than their company
employed peers for time spent. But engineering as a full time employee isn't
as highly valued as people outside the industry think. At least in petro-chem.

investingdad
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Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by investingdad » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:24 am

I'm in Pennsylvania, not the pricey burbs of Philly though.

I'm also satisfied with my work life balance and what I'm paid based on what I'm expected to do. That is an important consideration.

More money to be had in management for sure, but that's not my natural strength nor is it the type of work life balance I want. Fortunately, a similarly compensated wife and BH philosophy since my early 20s makes the pursuit of that level unnecessary.

Because having time to watch my kids at soccer practice at night and time to fit in an hour of violin practice a night is much more valuable to me then another 40k a year.

neilpilot
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Location: Memphis area

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by neilpilot » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:49 am

bada bing wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:34 am

I have since worked for 3 different oil majors. Currently employed by an
oil major on the north slope, Alaska.

Just as a comparison, I currently earn a base of $175K with a very good
bennie package and modest but dependable annual bonus. Engineers, even
senior engineers, working for the same company top out about $140K.
How much of a premium is included in your $175k due to the North Slope location? Is the engineer at $140k similarly located? I ask because, unless I was offered other tangible benefits, I would not have traded my $120k in suburban TN for and extra $55k in Alaska.

timmy
Posts: 705
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:57 pm

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by timmy » Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:42 am

bada bing wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:34 am
I started school as a ChemE major and went until 1st semester junior year.
The internship and plant trips I made during summer break after sophomore
year soured me on the idea of a career as a ChemE. I quit school and went
to an Associate program for process control instrumentation. The AS program
was a snap after my time in the more rigorous engineering program.

I have since worked for 3 different oil majors. Currently employed by an
oil major on the north slope, Alaska. Since I started as an hourly technician,
I have always been paid more than company engineers who are doing
technical engineering. I don't think that is widely understood outside the
industry; if you want to make money as an employee of a mega biz with
your engineering degree, you have to move into management. Engineering
is an adequately but not generously paid specialty.

Just as a comparison, I currently earn a base of $175K with a very good
bennie package and modest but dependable annual bonus. Engineers, even
senior engineers, working for the same company top out about $140K. The
difference is that the path to management is much easier with an engineering
degree and there isn't nearly the glass ceiling on degree holders if they get
on the management track. Engineers with special skills can also move into
day rate consulting on a project basis and do much better than their company
employed peers for time spent. But engineering as a full time employee isn't
as highly valued as people outside the industry think. At least in petro-chem.
Cool story. The last time I actually did chemical engineer work ... I had a guy on my team in a similar situation (PLC, control, instrumentation technician). He did not have a degree but was very competent as a technician. He made more money than me with overtime (the first, but not the last time that a person working for me made more money ... odd feeling the first time you see it).

My sense ... For folks who are smart and good with their hands/ technical, being a technician is a good choice (interesting work, good pay, etc.)

LawEgr1
Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:34 pm

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by LawEgr1 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:00 pm

Update-

MN

graduated 2013 @ 63k. Switched jobs due to travel after three years. Received a 15k bump to 90k. Switched jobs due to disinterest back into chemical engineering design and construction / commissioning to 102k.

PE planned for this year in case of consulting opportunities / for a challenge. FE done.

Work life balance varies from ok to potentially poor due to stress of start up (travel and long days) / culture at facility.

MrNewEngland
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Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:38 am

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by MrNewEngland » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:06 pm

I went Civil and even with my PE I can’t match those salaries.

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AndrewXnn
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Location: Upstate New York

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by AndrewXnn » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:30 pm

Graduated with BS in ChemE.
Obtained PE License, but allowed it to lapse :happy

Currently employed as a Nuclear Engineer.
$130K salary with $55K in bonus and deferred compensation.
Low cost of living location with low crime and minimal congestion.

TallBoy29er
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Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by TallBoy29er » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:45 pm

Graduated with a Chem E degree. First job was $39 k/yr, in a moderately LCOL area. Bonus? What's that? 401k? We had one, but never got a match. Pension? Hahahahaha.

I transitioned out of the industry in early 2000's. I saw a looming plateau, and wanted to find a way out. Was it a good idea? Well, there are days where I wish I were still engineering. Maybe there was no right or wrong decision.

Zephyrpilot
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:23 am

Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by Zephyrpilot » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:23 am

Graduated in 15' with a Biomedical Engineering degree, ended up in a role with some EE's, started at around 90k, am up to $107k this year, relatively lcola (ohio)

Valuethinker
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Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:48 am

AndrewXnn wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:30 pm
Graduated with BS in ChemE.
Obtained PE License, but allowed it to lapse :happy

Currently employed as a Nuclear Engineer.
$130K salary with $55K in bonus and deferred compensation.
Low cost of living location with low crime and minimal congestion.
My father worked in nukes near you in Ontario. Retired when they scrapped new construction.

The industry is aging out-- not replacing people. That probably means you have a guaranteed job for your entire career.

However low electricity prices are also hurting the economics of nuclear stations. Thus singleton ones like Vermont Yankee and that one in Wisconsin are the first to go-- relatively high operating costs.

http://ceepr.mit.edu/publications/working-papers/677

http://ceepr.mit.edu/files/papers/2017-009.pdf

The first of those 2 papers is hot off the presses this week. Concludes the main impact in PJM is from cheap gas, rather than renewables.

It is prohibited under Forum rules to go into the whys and wherefores re public policy (suffice it to say I think Germany has made a huge, and unnecessary mistake, to close its nuclear reactors earlier than necessary, at the cost of burning more lignite/ bown coal).

My guess is that your career is secure, but your location may not be-- you might have to move (also presumably depends whether your expertise is in BWR/ GE or PWR/ Westinghouse? My guess is all the units from the smaller manufacturers (CE & 1 other?) have been shut?).

However there is possibly also a career, into retirement, working on decommissioning. The comparable UK estimate for our Magnox (graphite reactors - it wasn't admitted at the time, but we chose that technology to produce lots of plutonium for bombs, not for domestic electricity generation) and AGR ( http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-st ... -buil.html ) -- is £100 bn+ to decommission and counting.

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AndrewXnn
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Re: Another Chemical Engineer salary history

Post by AndrewXnn » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:12 pm

Thanks Valuethinker;

Lots of important points about Nuclear Power can be made, but this is a salary thread.
Don't know forum rules, but another thread would probably be appropriate.

Also, yes the Canadian Border is nearby and I cross it frequently.
Know some Engineers who found much greener grass up there too.
Of course, overall they have a much cooler system than the US. 8-)

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