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Become A Senior Materials Engineer

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Working As A Senior Materials Engineer

  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • $95,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Materials 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.


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 Senior Materials 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.


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.


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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Senior Materials Engineer jobs

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Senior Materials Engineer Career Paths

Senior Materials Engineer Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Asian

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • German

  • Mandarin

  • Chinese

  • Russian

  • Portuguese

  • Vietnamese

  • Ukrainian

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Real Senior Materials Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Material Engineer C&J Spec-Rent Services, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 25, 2014 $165,000
Senior Materials & Corrosion Engineer Shell Global Solutions (Us) Inc. Houston, TX Jan 27, 2014 $161,000
Senior Raw Materials and Metal Recovery Engineer Real Alloy Recycling, Inc. Beachwood, OH Dec 14, 2016 $160,000
Senior Materials Engineering Advisor Blade Energy Partners, Ltd. Houston, TX Aug 21, 2014 $159,589 -
Senior Piping Material Engineer Technip USA, Inc. Houston, TX May 28, 2016 $147,420
Senior Piping Material Engineer Technip USA, Inc. Houston, TX Nov 12, 2014 $140,400
Senior Materials Engineer Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Sep 01, 2013 $140,000
Senior Piping Material Engineer & CAD Support Specialist Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 29, 2016 $139,572
Senior Piping Material Engineer Technip USA, Inc. Houston, TX May 28, 2013 $135,000
Senior Materials Engineer Alta Vista Solutions, Inc. Sacramento, CA Dec 08, 2012 $130,000
Senior Materials Engineer, Mechanics Nokia USA Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Mar 23, 2016 $129,438
Senior Material Engineer, Mechanics Nokia USA Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Aug 31, 2016 $129,375
SR. Material Handling Engineer Bechtel Oil, Gas &Amp; Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 26, 2015 $126,381 -
SR. Materials Innovation Engineer VF Outdoor, Inc. San Leandro, CA Jan 02, 2012 $110,000
Senior Substrate and Materials Engineer Peregrine Semiconductor Corporation San Diego, CA Sep 01, 2012 $107,000 -
Senior Materials Engineer Worleyparsons Group Inc. Monrovia, CA Sep 25, 2014 $105,810
SR. Materials Engineer Holtec International Marlton, NJ Mar 24, 2016 $105,000
Senior Materials Engineer Tribocor Technologies, Inc. Stafford, TX Jul 21, 2015 $105,000
Senior Mechanical Transducer, Materials Engineer Sonos, Inc. Cambridge, MA Sep 06, 2015 $104,624 -
Senior Mechanical Transducer, Materials Engineer Sonos, Inc. Cambridge, MA Jun 09, 2015 $104,624 -
SR. Materials Engineer Medtronic, Inc. Fridley, MN Aug 14, 2016 $104,040
SR. Materials Science Engineer Tessera, Inc. San Jose, CA Oct 01, 2012 $94,931 -
Senior Materials Engineer Medtronic, Inc. Danvers, MA Mar 26, 2012 $94,100 -
Senior Materials Engineer Intecsea, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 07, 2015 $92,435
Senior Materials Engineer Caterpillar Inc. San Diego, CA Nov 14, 2011 $92,250
Senior Materials Engineer CNH America LLC Burr Ridge, IL Jun 30, 2014 $92,044
Senior Materials Engineer CNH Industrial America LLC Burr Ridge, IL Jun 30, 2014 $92,044
Senior CMP Materials Engineer Globalfoundries U.S. Inc. Malta, NY Oct 01, 2011 $91,957 -

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Top Skills for A Senior Materials Engineer


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Top Senior Materials Engineer Skills

  1. Failure Analysis
  2. Laboratory
  3. R
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Evaluated performance and conducted failure analysis of products and materials.
  • Led and supported all validation for laboratory equipment.
  • Conducted parametric studies to identify effects of thermal spray parameter variation on final coating characteristics.
  • Improved safety procedures when handling incoming test materials, labeling, packaging, and inventory processing/ documentation.
  • Key Responsibilities: Perform failure analysis in welded & metallic and polymeric materials.

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