How to Become a Metallurgist
Metallurgist Careers & Degrees

Metallurgists are professional engineers that are experienced in the study of the physical and chemical components of metals.

Metallurgists use their study in metals, their elements, chemical behavior, compounds, mixtures (also referred to as alloys) and processes to create metallic materials used in manufacturing a variety of products.

Individuals who want to become a Metallurgist will need an understanding of chemistry and engineering in order to enter this profession and can read below to learn more information on this profession.

Education Requirements to Become a Metallurgist

Individuals who would like to become a Metallurgist will need to attend a postsecondary school and complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in order to enter this profession.

Students who are still in high school will benefit greatly by focusing on courses such as: trigonometry, calculus, algebra, physics, chemistry and biology while still in high school to help them succeed as an undergraduate student.

Individuals then have the option to complete a traditional bachelor’s degree, or attend a school that offers a 5 year program that leads to a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in engineering.

After graduating high school, individuals who want to become a Metallurgist will need to attend a postsecondary program in engineering.

Individuals will need to focus their degree on metallurgy engineering, materials science, metallurgy, mining science, or a similar emphasis which includes both classroom and laboratory studies in engineering principle.

Many colleges or universities offer students opportunities to gain practical experience by offering internships through cooperative programs.

Some of these programs may also qualify for college credit.

Employers prefer to hire individuals who have attended an engineering program accredited by ABET.

Individuals who are seeking a license in engineering will also be required to complete an ABET accredited engineering program.

Many colleges and universities also offer a 5 year engineering program that leads to both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

Choosing this option can give individuals flexibility with their career options because of the graduate degree they attain.

For example, individuals who complete this type of program will have the option to apply for instructor positions at the postsecondary level as well as for jobs in research.

Licensure is for the most part optional.

However, there are some states that mandate this requirement.

Certification is also optional but highly recommended.

Individuals who seek either a license or a certification voluntarily will have better job prospects than those who are not.

Individuals may visit ASM International to learn more information on the requirements for certification in metallography.

Metallurgist Job Description

Metallurgist engineers are responsible for creating, handling and examining metallic materials that will be used for manufacturing to create a variety of products.

Common types of manufactured goods that need developed metals include: computer chips, aircraft wings or alloy wheels for automobiles.

Alloy metals are new types of metals that are created by different types of naturally occurring metals such as aluminum and steel.

Metallurgists use engineering and chemical principles at the atomic level in order to study, create and develop new metallic materials for use in manufacturing.

Metallurgist Salary and Career Path

In 2012, the median salary for Materials Engineers, which includes the Metallurgist profession, was approximately $85,150 per year.

Exact wages will depend on a variety of factors including the specialization and the industry an individual works in.

For example, individuals working for the federal government can expect to earn a median salary of approximately $109,810 per year while those who work in the architectural and engineering services industry can expect a median annual salary of approximately $80,080.

The job outlook for all Materials Engineers is expected to grow at a minimal pace.

It is expected to add 1 percent in jobs through the year 2022, which is considered a much slower than average growth when compared to other professions.

This slow growth is attributed to the decline in the manufacturing field which hires the majority of Materials Engineers.

Individuals who pursue a career in the biomedical medical field will have more opportunities due to the growth in this field.

Metallurgists are specialized engineers who focus on the composition and chemical components of metallic elements.

This is a specialized career that can challenge individuals to create new metals, called alloys, for the use in manufacturing to create things such as computer chips, skis or golf clubs.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$97,890
$57K
$72K
$97K
$120K
$148K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$90,530
Alaska$93,320
Arizona$94,820
Arkansas$79,960
California$107,490
Colorado$102,890
Connecticut$94,680
Delaware$86,960
Florida$95,140
Georgia$93,840
Idaho$109,090
Illinois$89,120
Indiana$88,720
Iowa$101,540
Kansas$105,290
Kentucky$79,790
Louisiana$108,110
Maine$103,260
Maryland$120,990
Massachusetts$97,390
Michigan$82,820
Minnesota$95,920
Mississippi$78,730
Missouri$95,120
Montana$68,450
Nebraska$84,750
Nevada$94,260
New Hampshire$97,520
New Jersey$95,090
New Mexico$121,950
New York$100,680
North Carolina$101,080
North Dakota$95,740
Ohio$87,320
Oklahoma$93,490
Oregon$92,900
Pennsylvania$92,140
South Carolina$86,350
Tennessee$105,430
Texas$104,250
Utah$83,620
Virginia- NA -
Washington$125,110
West Virginia$84,640
Wisconsin$75,320
Puerto Rico$48,110

The top earning state in the field is Washington, where the average salary is $125,110.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Washington - $125,110
New Mexico - $121,950
Maryland - $120,990
Idaho - $109,090
Louisiana - $108,110
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Materials Engineers, OCC Code 17-2131, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat is a metallurgist?

Metallurgists are material scientists who work with metals, such as steel, aluminum, iron, and copper.

They often work with alloys to create materials that have a specific set of properties.

Metallurgists spend most of their time in offices and laboratories but they may also work in manufacturing facilities.

They need analytical skills, scientific knowledge, math skills, and problem-solving skills.

Metallurgists often work with technicians and other engineers but also with managers and people who may not be specialists in the field; therefore they must be able to efficiently communicate with those who don’t have an engineering background.

QuestionHow much does a metallurgist make?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide specific data for metallurgists but they group metallurgists with material engineers.

According to bls.gov, materials engineers, in general, earned a median wage of $92,390 per year as of May 2018.

The annual salaries vary based on a wide range of factors.

Those who worked in the research and development field earned a median annual wage of $107,840.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a metallurgist?

Metallurgists need a bachelor’s degree in materials science or engineering.

Some schools offer combined programs that can be completed in approximately 5 years and can lead to both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.

Four-year programs in materials science cost, on average, a total of around $200,000, but the costs vary widely depending on the school and the program you choose.

QuestionWhat is the demand for metallurgists?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of materials engineers, in general, is expected to show little or no change in the next 10 years.

The number of jobs available to college graduates depends on the region, the local economy and their field of expertise.

Participating in an internship in college can help you gain experience and increases your chances of finding entry-level employment in the field.

Since computer simulators are often used to predict the performance of new materials, metallurgists who have a background in computer science should have the best job prospects.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a metallurgist?

Metallurgists usually need a bachelor’s degree in materials science, engineering or a related field.

A bachelor’s degree program can usually be completed in four years, but some schools also offer intensive 5-year programs that lead to both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology is the authority that authorizes engineering programs.

Getting a Professional Engineering license is not a requirement but it can help you get more independence and better job prospects.

The licensing process can begin right after getting your bachelor’s degree, but most states will require at least four years of experience before taking the final Professional Engineering exam.

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