How to Become a Materials Engineer
Materials Engineers can be employed in many industries including in civil engineering, communications and manufacturing. These professionals use a variety of materials such as metal or ceramics and other compounds in order to create a variety of new manufacturing items.
A Materials Engineer can further specialize in a certain type of material most often in metallurgy, metals, ceramics or plastics. These professionals can be hired by manufacturing firms, consulting firms, educational research labs, research groups or other similar organizations.
One obstacle Materials Engineers specializing in plastics have recently overcome is developing composite material made from plastics that are used from recycled material for consumer use. Or, additionally, create plastics for manufacturing firms that take less time to decompose in landfills instead of becoming a hazard to the environment as it has been previously.
Students who want to become a Materials Engineer need a strong background in mathematics and the sciences. To learn more information about this fascinating career, continue reading the information below where you will find the educational requirements to enter this field as well as salary and income data and the projected job growth for this profession.
Education Requirements to Become a Materials Engineer
Candidates who want to become a Materials Engineer must attend a postsecondary program in order to have a vast knowledge in math, science and engineering concepts. In order to fulfill this requirement, candidates will need to attain a Bachelor's degree.
Students should major in Materials Science or Materials Engineering to strengthen their science and mathematics skills as well gain understanding of important engineering concepts. Some programs also offer on hands training or the opportunity to specialize in a certain type of material. Candidates can specialize in a program focusing on electronic material or metallurgy. A similar or related major should also help you become a Materials Engineer.
If your preferred school doesn't offer an engineering program in Materials Science or Materials Engineering, make sure you take courses that will enhance your background. You can major in a general engineering program and take courses that will help your understanding in Materials Science. The following is a list of courses that will help strengthen your understanding of this specialization in engineering:
- Polymer bonding properties
- Production using inorganic materials
Other skills that employers look for in candidates include knowing how to use computer software, third dimensional modeling and understanding the manufacturing process. In addition, some employers look for candidates with experience in creating and processing specific materials.
Materials Engineer Job Description
A Materials Engineer may specialize in a certain type of material most often in metals, plastics or ceramics. They can create compound materials from the many types of substances available. For example, an Engineer specializing in metals will take several types of metals and mix them to create a new type of metal that is stronger or more useful than each of the individual metals.
In creating new types of materials and compounds, a Materials Engineer will analyze the materials as well as other data to begin the process of producing new compounds. They will perform tests, monitor and troubleshoot any problems with the process. The final step is to assure quality control and provide records of the production process.
Materials Engineer may also be responsible for creating new development and testing processes that are in accordance with industry standards and government regulations.
Materials Engineer Salary and Career Path
The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers general information regarding Engineer wage and salary information. Students who finish an Engineering degree should expect a higher income then students going into other professions. Entry level Engineers are some of the highest paid professionals that have a Bachelor's degree. The annual median wage for Materials Engineers in 2008 was approximately $81,800. Candidates who want to become a Materials Engineer should expect an income between $51,000 and $124,000 depending on experience.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment opportunities for Materials Engineers will grow at an average pace for all occupations. The projected job growth for this profession is approximately 9 percent through the year 2018.
Consumer demand for products that use composite or other nontraditional materials produced by nanotechnology or biotechnology will affect this projected growth. The anticipated job opportunities for this profession will occur in the scientific, professional or technical industries.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics