dcsimg

Materials Engineer

Job Duties

Materials engineers work with a wide variety of materials used to manufacture many different types of products. They may work with such materials as metals, ceramics, plastics, semiconductors, and combinations of materials called composites to develop new materials that are then used to create computer chips, television screens, golf clubs, snow skis, and many more. They also identify and select materials to be used in new ways. New technologies have radically improved the ability of materials engineers to manipulate materials in new ways, including the ability to create and study materials at an atomic level using computers.

Materials Engineering

A majority of materials engineers specialize in either metallurgical or ceramic engineering. Metallurgical engineers are divided into three main categories: extractive metallurgists, who remove metals from ores and refine them; physical metallurgists, who study the nature, structure, and physical properties of metals and their alloys; and process metallurgists, who develop and improve metalworking processes. Ceramic engineers develop ceramic materials (nonmetallic, inorganic materials that generally require high temperatures for processing) and the process for turning these materials into products. Ceramic engineers develop products such as glassware, automobile and aircraft engine components, fiberoptic communication lines, tile, and electric insulators.

Job Skills

Materials engineers need to be able to work effectively as part of a team. They should have the ability to communicate in writing and orally. These communication skills are vital in the field of materials engineering because materials engineers interact so often with many non-engineering specialists in a wide variety of fields. Materials engineers should be analytical, creative, detail-oriented, and inquisitive.

Income

In 2002, materials engineers earned a median annual salary of $62,590. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $39,360, and the highest 10%, who earned more than $92,690. According to a 2003 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, bachelor's degree candidates in materials engineering received starting offers averaging $44,680.

Training and Education

A bachelor's degree is required for all entry-level materials engineering positions. Most programs include study in the agricultural specialty, as well as courses in mathematics and science. Many programs include a design course, along with a computer or laboratory class. Many colleges offer students the option of earning a 2- or 4-year degree in engineering technology, which include hands-on laboratory courses that prepare students for practical design and production work, as opposed to more theory-based jobs. While graduates of these programs may obtain the same kinds of jobs as graduates with a bachelor's degree in engineering, they are not qualified to register as professional engineers.

Faculty positions and many research and development programs in materials engineering require graduate training. Some engineers earn degrees in business administration to enhance their education and give themselves more career options. In fact, many high-level executives in government and business started their careers as engineers. Engineers in the United States are required to be licensed if they offer their services directly to the public. When engineers become licensed, they are designated Professional Engineers (PE). PE requirements include a degree from an engineering program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), 4 years of relevant work experience, and successful completion of a State examination. Entry-level engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers, and may advance to become technical specialists or to supervise a staff of engineers and technicians.

Employment

In 2002, materials engineers held about 24,000 jobs. Materials engineers work in many different manufacturing industries. 68% worked in either computer and electronic products, transportation equipment, fabricated metal products, primary metal production, and machinery manufacturing.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, employment of materials engineers is expected to increase more slowly than the average. Many manufacturing industries are expected to have employment declines. However, a demand will remain for materials engineers to create new materials to be used in the electronics, biotechnology, and plastics fields. Employment growth will be better in professional, scientific, and technical services.

For more information on how to pursue this profession, please see our Computer Training and Technology Education directory.


Materials Engineer Training

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            Master of Civil Engineering Online
            • Study at a university accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
            • Immediately apply what you’re learning to current workplace challenges
            • Experience the convenience and flexibility of online learning—access coursework 24/7
            • Take advantage of four start dates per year
            • Benefit from no required GRE/GMAT 
            • Enjoy small class sizes and students from diverse backgrounds
            • Earn your degree from a respected institution in as few as 18 months
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            BS in Aeronautics
            • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
            • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
            • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Electrical Technician

            About Brightwood College

            Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

            About Education Corporation of America

            Education Corporation of America's institutions broaden access to postsecondary educational opportunities.

            Certificate - Industrial Maintenance Technician
            • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
            • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
            • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
            • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
            • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
            Show more [+]
            • Financial Aid
            Electrician
            Milan Institute , Bakersfield
            • Offers career programs in accounting, cosmetology, massage therapy, physical fitness training, and more.
            • Provides hands-on training led by instructors who have relevant, on-the-job experience.
            • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
            • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 11 campuses across California, Texas, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 8 additional Milan Institute of Cosmetology campuses.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Financial Aid
            Industrial Design (BS)
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Show more [+]
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits