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Become A Metallurgist

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Working As A Metallurgist

  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • $88,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Metallurgist 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 Metallurgist

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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Metallurgist Career Paths

Metallurgist
Metallurgical Engineer Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Metallurgical Engineer Process Engineer Plant Manager
Vice President Of Manufacturing
14 Yearsyrs
Metallurgical Engineer Process Engineer Quality Manager
Project Quality Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Manager Project Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Strategic Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Manager Quality Manager
Supplier Quality Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Manager Production Manager Manufacturing Manager
Lean Manufacturing Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Production Manager Construction Manager
Director Construction Services
11 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Quality Manager
Director Of Quality & Engineering
14 Yearsyrs
Manager Product Manager Product Development Manager
Director Of New Product Development
11 Yearsyrs
Manager Product Manager Director Of Product Development
Director, Product Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Manager Product Manager Global Product Manager
Global Business Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Processing Manager Compliance Manager Corporate Manager
Corporate Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant Program Manager Development & Program Manager
Customer Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Process Engineer Research And Development Senior Engineer
Research And Development Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Process Engineer Process Engineer Lead
Process Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Consultant Program Manager Operations Program Manager
Global Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Manager Manufacturing Manager Product Engineering Manager
Global Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
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Metallurgist Demographics

Gender

Male

75.5%

Unknown

12.8%

Female

11.7%
Ethnicity

White

58.0%

Asian

15.8%

Hispanic or Latino

11.5%

Black or African American

10.6%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

29.2%

German

12.5%

Chinese

8.3%

Russian

8.3%

Polish

8.3%

Danish

4.2%

Turkish

4.2%

Dakota

4.2%

Greek

4.2%

French

4.2%

Mandarin

4.2%

Korean

4.2%

Italian

4.2%
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Metallurgist Education

Schools

Pennsylvania State University

8.3%

Colorado School of Mines

8.3%

Iowa State University

6.9%

University of Pittsburgh -

6.9%

Illinois Institute of Technology

6.9%

Michigan Technological University

6.2%

Purdue University

6.2%

Drexel University

5.5%

University of Nevada - Reno

4.8%

Missouri University of Science and Technology

4.8%

Ohio State University

4.1%

Michigan State University

4.1%

University of Arizona

4.1%

University of Connecticut

3.4%

University of Florida

3.4%

Lehigh University

3.4%

University of Phoenix

3.4%

Montana Tech of the University of Montana

3.4%

University of Texas at Arlington

2.8%

University of Kentucky

2.8%
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Majors

Materials Science And Engineering

29.2%

Metallurgical Engineering

16.7%

Business

12.3%

Chemical Engineering

9.1%

Materials Sciences

5.5%

Chemistry

3.9%

Mining Engineering

3.7%

Mechanical Engineering

3.4%

Management

2.9%

Engineering

2.6%

Fine Arts

1.6%

Industrial Technology

1.6%

Manufacturing Engineering

1.0%

Precision Metal Working

1.0%

Supply Chain Management

1.0%

Geology

1.0%

Education

1.0%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

0.8%

Computer Science

0.8%

Geological Engineering

0.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.9%

Masters

30.4%

Other

10.7%

Doctorate

8.5%

Associate

4.0%

Certificate

2.0%

Diploma

1.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$88,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$57,000
Min 10%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$136,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Ellwood Group
Highest Paying City
Juneau, AK
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
4.2 years
How much does a Metallurgist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Metallurgist in the United States is $88,831 per year or $43 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $57,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $136,000.

Real Metallurgist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Chief Metallurgist Esco Corporation Portland, OR Sep 30, 2015 $157,047
Senior Metallurgist Velo3D, Inc. Campbell, CA Jun 30, 2016 $155,000
Chief Metallurgist Esco Corporation Portland, OR Aug 28, 2015 $153,837
Senior Metallurgist Velo3D, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Feb 02, 2016 $135,000
Senior Metallurgist Velo3D, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Feb 23, 2015 $135,000
Senior Forensic Metallurgist Intertek USA Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Oct 01, 2014 $130,000
Senior Metallurgist Severstal Columbus, LLC Columbus, MS Dec 01, 2013 $129,780
Metallurgist Pacific Steel Casting Company LLC Berkeley, CA Jun 15, 2015 $125,000
Senior Metallurgist Flsmidth USA Inc. Midvale, UT Jan 09, 2016 $119,615
Senior Metallurgist Flsmidth USA Inc. Midvale, UT Sep 01, 2015 $117,040
Chief Metallurgist Freeport Minerals Corporation Phoenix, AZ Oct 09, 2016 $114,200
Metallurgist Accessesp LLC Houston, TX May 01, 2015 $114,000
Senior Metallurgist Flsmidth Midvale, UT Sep 01, 2014 $113,741
Plant Metallurgist Big River Steel LLC Osceola, AR Jan 10, 2016 $92,331 -
$155,000
Metallurgist Ellwood Group, Inc. New Castle, PA Jun 20, 2014 $91,828
Metallurgist Technip USA, Inc. Claremont, CA Jun 26, 2015 $91,478
Process Metallurgist JSW Steel USA, Inc. Baytown, TX Nov 03, 2016 $90,397
Metallurgist Galesburg Castings, Inc. Galesburg, IL Sep 01, 2013 $90,200
Metallurgist Galesburg Castings Inc. Galesburg, IL Sep 01, 2013 $90,200
Mill Metallurgist Big River Steel LLC Osceola, AR Sep 08, 2015 $90,000 -
$165,000
SR. Metallurgist Freeport-McMoran Bagdad Inc. Bagdad, AZ Jun 09, 2014 $90,000
Melt/Cast Metallurgist Nucor Steel Decatur LLC Trinity, AL Sep 21, 2015 $80,142
Metallurgist Flsmidth USA Inc. Midvale, UT Jan 09, 2016 $80,081
Metallurgist Flsmidth USA Inc. Midvale, UT Sep 01, 2016 $80,081
Hot Mill Metallurgist Severstal Columbus Columbus, MS Nov 30, 2014 $80,000
Metallurgist Urban Mining Company Austin, TX Sep 21, 2015 $80,000
Galvanizing Metallurgist Severstal Columbus Columbus, MS Dec 01, 2014 $80,000
Galvanizing Metallurgist Severstal Columbus Columbus, MS Dec 11, 2014 $80,000

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Top Skills for A Metallurgist

  1. Metallurgical Laboratory
  2. Procedures
  3. Heat Exchangers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed activities of metallurgical laboratory supervising a staff of 18, both salaried and hourly personnel.
  • Created the necessary inspection programs for re-certification of plant inspectors, and established equipment inspections procedures eliminating production downtime.
  • Performed product processing disposition, internal and external failure analysis, corrective and preventive action instruction and guidance.
  • Generated $15K annually in process improvement savings and calculated quantity of alloying metals required.
  • Provided technical support to operators and shift supervisors.

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Top 10 Best States for Metallurgists

  1. New Mexico
  2. Louisiana
  3. Maryland
  4. Tennessee
  5. Alabama
  6. Connecticut
  7. Kansas
  8. Alaska
  9. Florida
  10. California
  • (6 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (18 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (18 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (140 jobs)

Top Metallurgist Employers

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