Materials Engineers

Evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. Develop new uses for known materials. Includes those engineers working with composite materials or specializing in one type of material, such as graphite, metal and metal alloys, ceramics and glass, plastics and polymers, and naturally occurring materials. Includes metallurgists and metallurgical engineers, ceramic engineers, and welding engineers.

Median Annual Wage: $87,690

Education: Bachelor's degree (51%); Master's degree (31%); Doctoral degree (8%)

Projected Growth: Little or no change (-2% to 2%)

Related Job Titles: Test Engineer; Research Engineer; Process Engineer; Materials Engineer; Materials Research Engineer; Metallurgist; Materials and Processes Manager; Materials Branch Chief; Materials Development Engineer; Metallurgical Engineer

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Materials Engineers.

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  • Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists.
  • Analyze product failure data and laboratory test results to determine causes of problems and develop solutions.
  • Conduct or supervise tests on raw materials or finished products to ensure their quality.
  • Plan and implement laboratory operations for the purpose of developing material and fabrication procedures that meet cost, product specification, and performance standards.
  • Design and direct the testing or control of processing procedures.
  • Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and corporate executives as necessary.
  • Perform managerial functions, such as preparing proposals and budgets, analyzing labor costs, and writing reports.
  • Monitor material performance and evaluate material deterioration.
  • Guide technical staff engaged in developing materials for specific uses in projected products or devices.
  • Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to process or product design objectives.
  • Modify properties of metal alloys, using thermal and mechanical treatments.
  • Determine appropriate methods for fabricating and joining materials.
  • Solve problems in a number of engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace.
  • Supervise production and testing processes in industrial settings, such as metal refining facilities, smelting or foundry operations, or nonmetallic materials production operations.
  • Teach in colleges and universities.
  • Replicate the characteristics of materials and their components with computers.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Materials Engineers.

  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Materials Engineers.

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