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Become A Material Engineer

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Working As A Material Engineer

  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • $79,766

    Average Salary

What Does A Material Engineer Do

Materials engineers develop, process, and test materials used to create a range of products, from computer chips and aircraft wings to golf clubs and biomedical devices. They study the properties and structures of metals, ceramics, plastics, composites, nanomaterials (extremely small substances), and other substances to create new materials that meet certain mechanical, electrical, and chemical requirements. They also help select materials for specific products, develop new ways to use existing materials, and develop new materials.

Duties

Materials engineers typically do the following:

  • Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and managers as necessary
  • Prepare proposals and budgets, analyze labor costs, write reports, and perform other managerial tasks
  • Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists
  • Design and direct the testing of processing procedures
  • Monitor how materials perform and evaluate how they deteriorate
  • Determine causes of product failure and develop ways of overcoming such failure
  • Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to the design objectives of processes or products

Materials engineers create and study materials at an atomic level. They use computers to replicate the characteristics of materials and their components. They solve problems in a number of engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace.

Materials engineers may specialize in understanding specific types of materials. The following are examples of types of materials engineers:

Ceramic engineers develop ceramic materials and the processes for making them into useful products, from high-temperature rocket nozzles to glass for LCD flat-panel displays.

Composites engineers develop materials with special, engineered properties for applications in aircraft, automobiles, and related products.

Metallurgical engineers specialize in metals, such as steel and aluminum, usually in alloyed form with additions of other elements to provide specific properties.

Plastics engineers develop and test new plastics, known as polymers, for new applications.

Semiconductor processing engineers apply materials science and engineering principles to develop new microelectronic materials for computing, sensing, and related applications.

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How To Become A Material Engineer

Materials engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering or in a related engineering field. Completing internships and cooperative engineering programs while in school can be helpful in getting a position as a materials engineer.

Education

Students interested in studying materials engineering should take high school courses in mathematics, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; in science, such as biology, chemistry, and physics; and in computer programming.

Entry-level jobs as a materials engineer require a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs include classroom and laboratory work focusing on engineering principles.

Some colleges and universities offer a 5-year program leading to both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. A graduate degree, which may be at the Ph.D. level, allows an engineer to work as a postsecondary teacher or to do research and development.

Many colleges and universities offer internships and cooperative programs in partnership with industry. In these programs, students gain practical experience while completing their education.

Many engineering programs are accredited by ABET. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have graduated from an accredited program. A degree from an ABET-accredited program is usually necessary to become a licensed professional engineer.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Materials engineers often work on projects related to other fields of engineering. They must determine how materials will be used and how they must be structured to withstand different conditions.

Math skills. Materials engineers use the principals of calculus and other advanced topics in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. Materials engineers must understand the relationship between materials’ structures, their properties, how they are made, and how these factors affect the products they are used to make. They must also figure out why a product might have failed, design a solution, and then conduct tests to make sure that the product does not fail again. These skills involve being able to identify root causes when many factors could be at fault.

Speaking skills. While working with technicians, technologists, and other engineers, materials engineers must state concepts and directions clearly. When speaking with managers, these engineers must also be able to communicate engineering concepts to people who may not have an engineering background.

Writing skills. Materials engineers must write plans and reports clearly so that people without a materials engineering background can understand the concepts.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure for materials engineers is not as common as it is for other engineering occupations, nor it is required for entry-level positions. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam can be taken after graduation from college. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require continuing education for engineers to keep their license. Most states recognize licensure from other states if the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own requirements.

Certification in the field of metallography, the science and art of dealing with the structure of metals and alloys, is available through ASM International and other materials science organizations.

Additional training in fields directly related to metallurgy and materials’ properties, such as corrosion or failure analysis, is available through ASM International.

Advancement

Junior materials engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers may receive formal training in classrooms or seminars. As engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects where they have greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, materials engineers may advance to become technical specialists or to supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Many become engineering managers or move into other managerial positions or sales work. An engineering background is useful in sales because it enables sales engineers to discuss a product’s technical aspects and assist in product planning, installation, and use. For more information, see the profiles on architectural and engineering managers and sales engineers.

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Material Engineer jobs

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Material Engineer Career Paths

Material Engineer
Senior Process Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer Plant Manager
Director Of Continuous Improvement
14 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Senior Manager
Global Director
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Process Engineer Senior Project Manager Account Director
Group Director
9 Yearsyrs
Development Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Manager
Lean Manufacturing Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Metallurgical Engineer Process Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Project Manager Program Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Marketing Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Quality Assurance Manager Operations Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Program Manager General Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Software Engineer Product Manager
Product Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Systems Engineer Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Engineer Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Quality Manager Operations Manager
Supply Chain Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Engineering Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Technical Director
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
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Material Engineer Demographics

Gender

  • Male

    71.0%
  • Female

    21.8%
  • Unknown

    7.2%

Ethnicity

  • White

    64.8%
  • Asian

    20.1%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    9.9%
  • Unknown

    3.9%
  • Black or African American

    1.3%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    29.2%
  • Chinese

    14.2%
  • Mandarin

    12.4%
  • French

    12.4%
  • Cantonese

    4.4%
  • German

    4.4%
  • Arabic

    4.4%
  • Italian

    2.7%
  • Japanese

    2.7%
  • Polish

    2.7%
  • Russian

    1.8%
  • Carrier

    1.8%
  • Swahili

    0.9%
  • Telugu

    0.9%
  • Vietnamese

    0.9%
  • Hindi

    0.9%
  • Sanskrit

    0.9%
  • Korean

    0.9%
  • Indonesian

    0.9%
  • Hungarian

    0.9%
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Material Engineer

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Material Engineer Education

Material Engineer

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Real Material Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Piping Materials Specification Engineer Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX May 09, 2016 $142,848 -
$181,224
Battery Materials Engineer Eocell, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 20, 2016 $130,000
Materials Engineer Hitachi Global Storage Technologies San Jose, CA Aug 17, 2016 $127,192 -
$140,900
Materials Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jun 14, 2016 $127,192
Staff Materials Engineer-Metals Tesla Motors, Inc. Fremont, CA Jan 01, 2015 $125,000 -
$135,000
Principal Electrode and Materials Engineer Advanced Bionics LLC Santa Clarita, CA Aug 25, 2015 $125,000 -
$155,000
Materials Engineer Senior Staff Lockheed Martin Operations Support, Inc. Washington, DC Dec 03, 2015 $119,000 -
$129,000
Materials Engineer LPI, Inc. New York, NY Feb 22, 2015 $118,000
Manager, Materials Engineering Aisin Technical Center of America, Inc. Northville, MI Jul 11, 2016 $117,229
Corporate Materials Engineer Monsanto Company Saint Louis, MO Jun 05, 2015 $114,421 -
$131,300
Materials Engineer Tesla Motorsinc Fremont, CA May 16, 2016 $109,762
Materials Engineer Tesla Motorsinc Fremont, CA Apr 15, 2016 $109,762
Materials Engineer Aluma-Form, Inc. Memphis, TN May 25, 2016 $109,600
Materials Engineer Seattle Box Company Kent, WA Jan 05, 2016 $109,175
Lead Materials Engineer TOYO USA, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 12, 2015 $84,000
Materials Engineer Infostat Inc. Hillsborough, NJ Sep 07, 2015 $84,000
Materials Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jun 14, 2016 $83,886
Materials Engineer Smile Design Dental Lab, Inc. Bellevue, WA Sep 05, 2015 $83,480
Materials Engineer Hi TEC Dental Ceramics, Inc. Fremont, CA Sep 08, 2015 $83,480
Materials Engineer Schlumberger Technology Corporation Sugar Land, TX Feb 09, 2016 $83,018
Materials Engineer Marutee Engineering Services LLC Auburn Hills, MI Dec 12, 2016 $82,500
Materials Engineer Tristar Art, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA Sep 08, 2015 $82,270
Materials Engineer Amergy Solar, Inc. Piscataway, NJ Jan 05, 2016 $73,045
Material Flow Engineer Polaris Industries, Inc. Roseau, MN May 12, 2016 $73,000
Materials Engineer Techcorr USA Management, LLC Pasadena, TX Sep 22, 2015 $72,800
Materials Engineer LPI, Inc. New York, NY Aug 30, 2016 $72,800
Materials Engineer Vigor Tech USA Hyattsville, MD Sep 09, 2015 $72,419
Materials Engineer Vigor Tech USA LLC TX Sep 23, 2015 $72,419
Geotechnical/Materials Engineer Ardaman & Associates, Inc. Tampa, FL Nov 25, 2016 $72,384
Materials-Chemist Engineer Cummins Emission Solutions Inc. Columbus, IN Aug 23, 2016 $71,989 -
$84,800

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Top Skills for A Material Engineer

LaboratoryEquipmentMaterialsLabFailureAnalysisRawMaterialsSupplierSafetySEMAstmMaterialsEngineerRMaterialSelectionPolymericMaterialsISOAluminumNewProductDevelopmentTechnicalSupportAerospaceNewMaterialsSigmaCorrectiveActions

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Top Material Engineer Skills

  1. Laboratory Equipment
  2. Materials Lab
  3. Failure Analysis
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Introduced new designs for laboratory equipment accessories to model shop for redesign.
  • Supervised the materials lab including technicians and testing equipment.
  • Perform failure analysis of failed components and equipment.
  • Developed storage and delivery system for all raw materials.
  • Handled customer complaints, determined root cause of failures, worked with suppliers to implement corrective procedures.

Top Material Engineer Employers

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What is Materials Science and Engineering?

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