Materials Engineers

materials engineer_1.webp
$100,140 Median Wage (2022)
1,500 Projected job openings (2022-2032)
5.10% Projected growth (2022-2032)

Evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. Develop new uses for known materials. Includes those engineers working with composite materials or specializing in one type of material, such as graphite, metal and metal alloys, ceramics and glass, plastics and polymers, and naturally occurring materials. Includes metallurgists and metallurgical engineers, ceramic engineers, and welding engineers.

Experience Requirements Overview

  • Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
  • A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
  • Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
  • Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Education, Training and Experience

Required Level of Education: Bachelor's Degree

Related Work Experience: N.A.

On-Site or In-Plant Training: Up to and including 1 month

On-the-Job Training: Over 6 months, up to and including 1 year

Detailed Work Activities

  • Present research results to others.
  • Conduct quantitative failure analyses of operational data.
  • Monitor the productivity or efficiency of industrial operations.
  • Supervise engineering or other technical personnel.
  • Direct quality control activities.
  • Evaluate technical data to determine effect on designs or plans.
  • Test characteristics of materials or structures.
  • Prepare proposal documents.
  • Prepare operational reports.
  • Prepare project budgets.
  • Resolve operational performance problems.
  • Evaluate plans or specifications to determine technological or environmental implications.
  • Prepare detailed work plans.
  • Confer with technical personnel to prepare designs or operational plans.
  • Recommend technical design or process changes to improve efficiency, quality, or performance.
  • Design industrial processing systems.
  • Prepare materials for processing.
  • Direct design or development activities.
  • Determine operational methods.
  • Train personnel on proper operational procedures.
  • Direct industrial production activities.
  • Write articles, books or other original materials in area of expertise.
  • Create models of engineering designs or methods.
  • Teach classes in area of specialization.
  • Teach social science courses at the college level.

Work Values

Achievement

Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

Working Conditions

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Recognition

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Relationships

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Support

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

Independence

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Tasks

  • Analyze product failure data and laboratory test results to determine causes of problems and develop solutions.
  • Design and direct the testing or control of processing procedures.
  • Monitor material performance, and evaluate its deterioration.
  • Conduct or supervise tests on raw materials or finished products to ensure their quality.
  • Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to process or product design objectives.
  • Modify properties of metal alloys, using thermal and mechanical treatments.
  • Determine appropriate methods for fabricating and joining materials.
  • Guide technical staff in developing materials for specific uses in projected products or devices.
  • Review new product plans, and make recommendations for material selection, based on design objectives such as strength, weight, heat resistance, electrical conductivity, and cost.
  • Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists.
  • Plan and implement laboratory operations to develop material and fabrication procedures that meet cost, product specification, and performance standards.
  • Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and corporate executives, as necessary.
  • Supervise production and testing processes in industrial settings, such as metal refining facilities, smelting or foundry operations, or nonmetallic materials production operations.
  • Solve problems in a number of engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace.
  • Conduct training sessions on new material products, applications, or manufacturing methods for customers and their employees.
  • Perform managerial functions, such as preparing proposals and budgets, analyzing labor costs, and writing reports.
  • Present technical information at conferences.
  • Replicate the characteristics of materials and their components, using computers.
  • Design processing plants and equipment.
  • Write for technical magazines, journals, and trade association publications.
  • Teach in colleges and universities.

Work Styles

Achievement/Effort

Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Persistence

Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Initiative

Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Leadership

Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Cooperation

Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Concern for Others

Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Social Orientation

Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Self-Control

Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

Stress Tolerance

Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

Adaptability/Flexibility

Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Dependability

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Attention to Detail

Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Integrity

Job requires being honest and ethical.

Independence

Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Innovation

Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Analytical Thinking

Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Data Source: This page includes information from the O*NET 28.0 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA. This page includes Employment Projections program, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.