A materials engineer has the primary responsibilities of creating, developing and experimenting with various materials that are used in industry to create products. The materials that they work with span a wide range, including: plastics, metals, composite materials and ceramics. When working with various materials, they not only manipulate them in product production but also examine them in depth on a microscopic scale. They also make use of computer technology to study various materials and their characteristics as well. This ability is critical when need materials engineer is slated to choose a particular material to be used in the production of a specific product. Their ability to take apart specific materials and study their characteristics allows the engineer to have more control of the process and to make the necessary improvements.
Materials Engineer Job Responsibilities
These engineers tended to focus on one particular type of material to work with. For example, a metallurgical engineer focus is on working with and studying various metals. He or she can go into three various areas within this field, including: the chemical aspects of medals, their physical properties or the process of producing with metal. The metallurgist that deals with processes helps to raise the efficiency of such metalworking procedures as rolling and casting. In retrospect, a ceramic engineer deals with product production such as engine parts for airplanes and cars, fiber optics and title. The materials that they deal with have no metal properties in and are inorganic. These materials also are produced using high temperatures.
When employed, materials engineers work in a number of fields, one of the primary ones being manufacturing industries. These industries work with metal product fabrication, machinery and electronics. Others within this field are also employed by the federal and various state governments. This means that a materials engineer graduate has a broad range of career choices after leaving school. They can also enter areas in technical and biotechnology fields. They also have flexibility when working within a particular field, based on their training. This is a great asset to employers who can utilize this individual in a number of areas.
Materials Engineer Training and Education Requirements
In order to become the material engineer, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the first step is a bachelor’s degree in engineering. During study, the student will take courses focused in the areas of math, physical sciences and the life sciences. Classes in product design, working in a laboratory and core curriculum classes are also included in the degree program. Other programs that are focused on engineering technology train the individual to do production work and design, but are not as focused on engineering theory. A graduate from an engineer technology program is not eligible to register him or herself as a professional engineer. Those seeking further education can also pursue a graduate level degree. Many pursuing a graduate level degree are looking to enter faculty teaching positions in university engineering programs.
Materials Engineer Salary and Wages
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the future job growth of materials engineers by nine percent for the next decade. There will be substantial growth in areas such as nanotechnology and biotechnology, where the need for selection of and use of non-traditional materials will be especially crucial. The median salary for a materials engineer is $81,820. The lowest end yearly wage is $51,420 and the highest end falls in the range of $124,470. A ceramic engineer working for the federal government would have a basic salary of $126,788. The average beginning salary for materials engineers graduates is around $44, 680.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Materials Engineer Certifications
Professional engineers are required to have a professional license when working with public consumers. In order to do this, they must graduate from an engineering program that is approved by the American Board for Engineering and Technology, ABET. They must also pass a required examination in order to be licensed. The first part is the Fundamentals of Engineering, which is taken after graduation and the second is the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam. The first part brings them to level of entry level training, with the second securing them full recognition as a professional engineer. They also must continue getting continuing education throughout their career. Based on a survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, it was shown that engineering graduates have some of the highest paying beginning salaries. For instance, a materials engineer graduate starts out at $57,349.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Materials Engineer Professional Associations
These engineers can also join various professional associations. One of these is the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society located in Warrensdale, Pennsylvania. It supports a wide range of material engineering professionals, offering continuing education opportunities and international membership. ASM International, or The Materials Information Society, supports programming for new and upcoming engineers, educational resources and continuing education resources. These associations both offer memberships for professional engineers.