Materials engineers essential career information:
2012 median pay: $85,150
2012, number of jobs: 22,740
Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 9 percent
Entry level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
Materials Engineers; what they do:
Materials engineering is a great career for someone who enjoys problem solving, building objects, scientific discovery and opening new doors in technology.
Materials engineers work with metals, ceramics, plastics, composites, and other substances to create new materials and find new ways to use them which meet certain technical criteria. Materials engineers may choose these materials for their strength, electrical properties, resistance to heat or many other property values.
A material engineer career includes studying materials at an atomic level. Materials engineers utilize computers to replicate the characteristics of materials and their components.
Material engineers solve problems in numerous engineering fields such as electrical, chemical, mechanical, nuclear, civil and aerospace engineering.
A material engineer also supervises other scientists and technologists, evaluates technical specs, as well as prepares and manages labor costs and budgets.
Materials engineering includes specializations such as:
Semiconductor processing engineer
Material engineer job titles:
Materials Branch Chief
Materials Research Engineer
Materials Development Engineer
Materials and Processes Manager
Materials Engineers Education, Certification and License Requirements
People interested in a materials engineer career must have a Bachelor of Materials Engineering degree or a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Cooperative engineering programs allow students to gain college credit for job experience; employers prefer candidates with hands-on experience.
Material engineer programs cover subjects such as:
Introduction to materials engineering
Materials structure and properties lab
Thermodynamics of materials
Atomistic materials science
Electrical, optical and magnetic properties of materials
Mechanical response of materials
Research in materials engineering
The ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) provide accreditation to many materials engineering programs. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who graduated from an accredited program. People interested in becoming a licensed professional engineer typically need a degree from an ABET-accredited program. A license also improves the chances for employment.
Career Advancement Opportunities
Students can also enroll in a 5-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s and a master in science degree. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a classroom instructor or to perform research and development.
Materials Engineers Job Outlook
Materials engineers are in demand to design uses for new materials in traditional industries such as aerospace manufacturing as well as in industries focusing on new medical or scientific products. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 9 percent employment growth for materials engineers from 2010 to 2020.
Materials engineers are in demand in growing fields including biomedical engineering and nanotechnology. Material engineers find new ways to use these technologies, which can help to address problems within different industries such as consumerism and medicine. A material engineer may also find a growing role in weatherization efforts for institutions and companies seeking to cut energy costs through the use of thermal sprays. Thermal sprays are insulating coats of materials such as plastics, metal alloys and ceramics.
Materials Engineers Salary
2012 median annual wage: $85,150
2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $107,510
2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $67,900
Materials Engineers Major Employers
Aerospace product and parts manufacturing
Architectural, engineering and related services
Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing
Navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing
American Society for Engineering Education
National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying
National Society of Professional Engineers