Materials Scientists

Research and study the structures and chemical properties of various natural and synthetic or composite materials, including metals, alloys, rubber, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, and glass. Determine ways to strengthen or combine materials or develop new materials with new or specific properties for use in a variety of products and applications. Includes glass scientists, ceramic scientists, metallurgical scientists, and polymer scientists.

Median Annual Wage: $91,980

Education: Bachelor's degree (35%); Doctoral degree (33%); Master's degree (19%)

Projected Growth: Slower than average (3% to 7%)

Related Job Titles: Research Scientist; Materials Scientist; Technology Officer; Micro Electrical/Mechanical Systems Device Scientist (MEMS Device Scientist); Polymer Materials Consultant; Research and Development Scientist (R and D Scientist); Senior Materials Scientist; Staff Research Scientist; Staff Scientist; Vice President Research

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Materials Scientists.

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  • Prepare reports, manuscripts, proposals, and technical manuals for use by other scientists and requestors, such as sponsors and customers.
  • Perform experiments and computer modeling to study the nature, structure, and physical and chemical properties of metals and their alloys, and their responses to applied forces.
  • Plan laboratory experiments to confirm feasibility of processes and techniques used in the production of materials having special characteristics.
  • Determine ways to strengthen or combine materials or develop new materials with new or specific properties for use in a variety of products and applications.
  • Teach in colleges and universities.
  • Research methods of processing, forming, and firing materials to develop such products as ceramic dental fillings, unbreakable dinner plates, and telescope lenses.
  • Devise testing methods to evaluate the effects of various conditions on particular materials.
  • Confer with customers to determine how to tailor materials to their needs.
  • Recommend materials for reliable performance in various environments.
  • Test individual parts and products to ensure that manufacturer and governmental quality and safety standards are met.
  • Supervise and monitor production processes to ensure efficient use of equipment, timely changes to specifications, and project completion within time frame and budget.
  • Test metals to determine conformance to specifications of mechanical strength, strength-weight ratio, ductility, magnetic and electrical properties, and resistance to abrasion, corrosion, heat, and cold.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Materials Scientists.

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • 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.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Materials Scientists.

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