To become a bioprocess engineer requires a combination of education and work skills. Acquiring a license in bioprocess engineering also requires testing and documentation. The types of education and experience pursued by a person desiring to become a bioprocess engineer will depend on what subdivision of bioprocess engineering that person would like to work in.
Any career in bioprocess engineering will require and least a bachelor's degree, most likely in some form of engineering. Both chemical engineering and agricultural engineering departments may offer courses in bioprocess engineering. Degrees in biochemistry or other life sciences are also possible paths if you want to become a bioprocess engineer. Certain career paths in bioprocess engineering may also require a master's or doctorate degree.
What department a person chooses to get a degree from will probably partially depend on the field in which he or she wants to work. Bioprocess engineering encompasses biofuel production, food processing, various fermentation processes, and production of pharmaceuticals. Food processing engineering is often included in agricultural engineering departments, while courses in biofuels and fermentation processes are found in both agricultural and chemical engineering departments. If a person desires to pursue employment in the pharmaceutical field, more extensive background in biochemistry and life sciences may be helpful.
Another consideration in choosing college courses is whether a person would like to design the biological processes him- or herself, or the equipment and instrumentation required to implement those processes. Agricultural engineering or life sciences may focus more heavily on the actual processes. On the other hand, chemical engineering departments often require courses in instrumentation and plant design.
Once a person has acquired the college degree or degrees necessary to become a bioprocess engineer, a series of tests and documentation is required to become a licensed professional engineer. The first step in this process is to take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam. This exam consists of a general section and a section specific to the test taker's area of interest.
After passing the FE exam, a person is known as an Engineer in Training (EIT). All states within the United States (US) have varying requirements for EITs that want to become licensed professional engineers, but all states require a person to work under the supervision of a professional engineer and provide documentation to the state's Board of Engineers. The final step in becoming licensed is to take and pass the Professional Engineer (PE) exam, which qualifies a person to be known as a Professional Engineer.