How to Become a Process Engineer?

Are you thinking of becoming a Process Engineer or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Process Engineer, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Process Engineer job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Process Engineer

If you enjoy making things and solving problems, you should consider becoming a process engineer. These professionals control the equipment and methods used to manufacture products from raw materials and ingredients, and they try to make the manufacturing process as efficient as possible. To become a successful process engineer, it's important to learn about the education and experience you need to acquire. In this article, we provide four steps for becoming a process engineer.

Get an education.

Process engineers usually need a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, manufacturing, or industrial engineering. They often take classes in chemistry, math, physics, thermodynamics, and business administration as well. The most senior process engineers often have master's degrees, and gaining one can increase your chances of earning a process engineer job and a higher salary.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Process Engineer?

79% of people working as a Process Engineer earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be a Process Engineer?

  • Lean Six Sigma
  • Process Simulation
  • Written Communication
  • AutoCAD
  • Algorithms
  • CMMI
  • Problem Solving
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Process Engineer in the United States.

Gain some experience.

While you're getting an education, it's a good idea to apply for internships where you can get valuable on-the-job experience. You can also participate in multiple internships to learn more about how different industries work and decide what you want to specialize in. For example, a process engineer for a pharmaceutical company needs different skills than a process engineer for a car manufacturer. Gaining experience gives you a chance to learn how the equipment in your chosen industry works. That way, you'll have more information to make improvements when you become a process engineer.

Getting experience is also a great opportunity to expand your professional network. You can get to know your coworkers and supervisors and stay in touch with them after your internship is over. That way, you can ask for a letter of recommendation when needed, and they may be able to share information about new job opportunities as well.


Obtain certifications.

The right certifications can make your resume more appealing to hiring managers. The Certified Manufacturing Engineers or CMfgE certification is offered by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. It requires an exam and at least eight combined years of manufacturing-related education and work experience. Certificate holders must recertify every three years.

In addition, the Center for Chemical Process Safety Professional Certification (CCPSC) demonstrates your ability to follow safety protocols. It requires an exam, three professional references, and regular continuing education. Six Sigma is a quality management certification with a variety of levels, and Lean Six Sigma shows your ability to work with a team to reduce waste and manufacturing errors. For both types of certification, you'll need to take an approved training course and complete a related project or pass an exam.


Improve your skills.

Process engineers need excellent math skills to gather and analyze relevant data and calculate the optimal manufacturing speeds for businesses. They should also be familiar with safety regulations, how equipment works, and company procedures. Process engineers often use design and drafting, data analysis, and computer-aided engineering software to predict the results of proposed changes.

Process Engineer Career Path

Process Engineer

2 - 4Years of Experience
$82K - $123K /yrMost Likely Range
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53% advanced to

Senior Process Engineer

2 - 4Years of Experience
$124K - $188K /yrMost Likely Range
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Process Engineer IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
$113K - $159K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Process Engineer Career Path

New Grad Process Engineer
Process Engineer
Senior Process Engineer
Process Engineer Manager
Process Engineer IV
Senior Manager of Process Engineering
Principal Process Engineer
Associate Director of Process Engineering
Director of Process Engineering
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Related Careers in the Engineering Industry

Interested in other Engineering careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Process Engineer skills. Discover some of the most common Process Engineer career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Project Engineer
25% skills overlap
16% transitioned to Project Engineer