Materials Engineers

Materials Engineer Researches Metals

Materials engineers extract, process, create, design, and test materials—such as metals, ceramics, plastics, semiconductors, and combinations of these materials called composites—to create a wide variety of products, from computer parts to surf boards. Approximately 25,300 materials engineers are employed in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Ceramic Engineers, Metallurgical Engineers, Metallurgists, Plastics Application Engineers, Plastics Engineers, Plastics Process Engineers, Plastics Research Specialists, Polymer Engineers
Duties Design manufacturing processes; develop and test new metals substances and other materials, like ceramics, plastics, and composites; use these substances to create a variety of products, from clothing to aircraft parts
Salary Range $50,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities exist in all regions
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Master's Degree
School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
Experience Internship
Personality Traits
  • Creative
  • Enterprising
  • Technical
  • Interpersonal
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Little Change or More Slowly than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Director of Engineering
  • Supervising Ceramic Engineer/Plastics Engineer
  • Ceramic Engineer/Plastics Engineer
  • Junior Engineer