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Career Details

17-2131.00 - Materials Engineers

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.

Key Facts
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Green Job
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Current Employment
Forecasted Employment
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Change in Employment %
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The tasks listed below can be performed to prepare you for a career in this field.
  • Analyze product failure data and laboratory test results to determine causes of problems and develop solutions.
  • Monitor material performance and evaluate material deterioration.
  • Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists.
  • Design and direct the testing or control of processing procedures.
  • Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to process or product design objectives.
  • Conduct or supervise tests on raw materials or finished products to ensure their quality.
  • Perform managerial functions, such as preparing proposals and budgets, analyzing labor costs, and writing reports.
  • Solve problems in a number of engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace.
  • Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and corporate executives as necessary.
  • Review new product plans and make recommendations for material selection, based on design objectives, such as strength, weight, heat resistance, electrical conductivity, and cost.
  • Design processing plants and equipment.
  • Modify properties of metal alloys, using thermal and mechanical treatments.
  • Guide technical staff in developing materials for specific uses in projected products or devices.
  • Plan and implement laboratory operations to develop material and fabrication procedures that meet cost, product specification, and performance standards.
  • Determine appropriate methods for fabricating and joining materials.
  • Conduct training sessions on new material products, applications, or manufacturing methods for customers and their employees.
  • Supervise production and testing processes in industrial settings, such as metal refining facilities, smelting or foundry operations, or nonmetallic materials production operations.
  • Write for technical magazines, journals, and trade association publications.
  • Replicate the characteristics of materials and their components with computers.
  • Present technical information at conferences.
  • Teach in colleges and universities.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The items listed below are organized into sections that contain knowledge useful for pursuing a career in this field. Each section also contains a "Percentage of Importance" statistic that shows how relevant an item is to the occupation.
 Engineering and Technology
  • 86%
    Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • 85%
    Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • 84%
    Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
 Production and Processing
  • 82%
    Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • 82%
    Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
 English Language
  • 77%
    Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 72%
    Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
 Computers and Electronics
  • 68%
    Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
 Customer and Personal Service
  • 62%
    Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • 62%
    Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
 Administration and Management
  • 60%
    Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
 Education and Training
  • 57%
    Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
 Personnel and Human Resources
  • 52%
    Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • 50%
    Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The tools listed below include machines, equipment, tools, and software that is useful for individuals who are interested in this career.
 Crushers and breakers and grinders
  • Roll crushers
  • Gyratory crushers
  • Jaw crushers
 Paving equipment
  • Kneading compactors
 Continuous mixers
  • Balling drums
  • Twin screw extruders
  • Twin-screw extruders
 Electronic manufacturing and processing machinery
  • Etching equipment
  • Micromanipulators
 Lathes and turning centers
  • Computerized numerical control CNC lathes
  • Lathes
 Metal milling machines
  • Computer numerical controlled CNC milling machines
 Power tools
  • Masonry cutters
  • Water-cooled saws
 Hydraulic presses
  • Hydraulic presses
 Pneumatic tools
  • Sanding machines
  • Filter presses
 Laboratory blending and dispersing and homogenizing equipment and supplies
  • Ultrasonic dismembrators
  • Ultrasonicators
  • Hot blenders
  • Laboratory blenders
  • Slurry blenders
 Laboratory boring and grinding and cutting and crushing and pressing equipment
  • Ball mills
  • Jar mills
  • Rod mills
  • Laboratory pulverizers
  • Laboratory sample splitters
  • Sample presses
 Laboratory electron and solid state physics equipment
  • Particle size analyzers
  • Diffractometers
 Laboratory heating and drying equipment
  • Ultraviolet UV exposure units
 Fluid mechanics equipment
  • Microwave sintering furnaces
  • Plasma-arc furnaces
  • Rotating furnaces
  • Viscosity meters
  • Pycnometers
 Laboratory environmental conditioning equipment
  • Laboratory glove boxes
  • Heated walk-in environmental chambers
 Laboratory baths
  • Temperature regulated shaking water baths
  • Ultrasonic baths
 Laboratory mixing and stirring and shaking equipment and supplies
  • Counter-current mixers
  • Mechanical sieve shakers
 Laboratory ovens and accessories
  • Accelerated weathering machines
  • Solar simulators
  • Laboratory microwave ovens
  • Solvent dryers
  • Vacuum furnaces
  • Drying ovens
 Laboratory furnaces and accessories
  • Inert atmosphere box furnaces
  • Muffle furnaces
  • Microwave tube furnaces
  • Tube furnaces
  • Graphite element furnaces
  • Melt spinners
 Laboratory sieves and sifting equipment and supplies
  • Electrostatic separators
  • High tension separators
  • Isodynamic separators
  • Magnetic separators
  • Laboratory test sieves
 Laboratory pumps and tubing
  • Laboratory vacuum pumps
  • Molecular pumps
 Weight measuring instruments
  • Electronic toploading balances
  • Specific gravity balances
  • Analytical balances
  • Magnetic susceptibility balances
 Length and thickness and distance measuring instruments
  • Strain gauges
  • Film thickness measurement systems
 Viewing and observing instruments and accessories
  • Stereo microscopes
  • Microscope photo attachments
  • Binocular compound microscopes
  • Optical compound microscopes
  • Electron microprobe analyzers EMPA
  • Fiberscopes
  • Scanning electron microscopes SEM
  • Atomic force microscopes
  • Polarizing microscopes
 Non destructive examination equipment
  • Ultrasound inspection equipment
  • Gas detectors
 Indicating and recording instruments
  • Current versus voltage IV curve tracers
  • Coordinate measuring machines CMM
  • Linear variable differential transformers LVDT
 Temperature and heat measuring instruments
  • Adiabatic bomb calorimeters
  • Calorimeters
  • Differential scanning calorimeters
 Liquid and gas flow measuring and observing instruments
  • Laser Doppler velocimeters LDV
  • Oscillating water tunnels
  • Wind tunnels
 Chemical evaluation instruments and supplies
  • Differential thermal analyzers
  • Thermal analysis systems
  • Thermogravimetric analyzers
 Electrical measuring and testing equipment and accessories
  • Ammeters
  • Gauss meters
  • Electrometers
  • Acoustic impediography equipment
  • Digitizing oscilloscopes
  • Accelerometers
 Soil measuring equipment
  • Permeability measuring devices
  • Porosity indicators
 Mechanical instruments
  • Extensometers
  • Tension gauges
 Metals and metallurgy and structural materials testing instruments
  • Abrasion testers
  • Compression testing machines
  • Screw-driven test machines
  • Concrete test hammers
  • Freeze-thaw test units
  • Stabilometers
  • Servohydraulic test machines
  • Durometers
  • Hardness testers
  • Charpy impact testers
  • Drop weight impact towers
  • Impact testers
  • Load frames
  • Adhesion testers
  • High temperature material testing systems
  • High-vacuum tensile testing chambers
  • Tensile testers
  • Vibration analysis equipment
  • Friction and wear testers
 Light and wave generating and measuring equipment
  • Solid state laser systems
  • Flame photometers
  • Reflectometers
  • Colorimeters
  • Spectrocolorimeters
  • Infrared cameras
  • Infrared monitors
 Spectroscopic equipment
  • X ray fluorescence XRF analyzers
  • X ray fluorescence XRF spectrometers
  • Energy dispersive x-ray spectrometers EDS
  • Spectrometers
  • Mass spectrometers
  • Spectrophotometers
  • Atomic absorption AA spectrophotometers
  • Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectroscopes
  • Optical emission spectrometers
 Chromatographic measuring instruments and accessories
  • Gel permeation chromatographs GPC
  • Gas chromatographs GC
  • High pressure liquid chromatograph HPLC equipment
 Autoclave and sterilizer equipment and accessories
  • Microwave autoclaves
  • Steam autoclaves
  • Personal computers
  • Digital cameras
 Safety apparel
  • Safety gloves
 Water treatment and supply equipment
  • Turbidimeters
  • Liquid conditioners
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The technologies listed below include machines, equipment, tools, and software that is useful for individuals who are interested in this career.
 Business function specific software
  • Microsoft SharePointHOT
  • Microsoft OfficeHOT
 Finance accounting and enterprise resource planning ERP software
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP softwareHOT
 Content authoring and editing software
  • Graphics software
  • Microsoft VisioHOT
  • Microsoft WordHOT
  • Word processing software
  • Microsoft PowerPointHOT
  • Presentation software
  • Microsoft ExcelHOT
 Data management and query software
  • Data entry softwareHOT
  • MTS Testworks
  • Microsoft AccessHOT
  • Oracle softwareHOT
  • QMC CM4D
 Development software
  • Formula translation/translator FORTRAN
  • Microsoft Visual BasicHOT
  • National Instruments LabVIEWHOT
  • C++HOT
  • Microsoft Visual Basic.NET
  • PythonHOT
 Industry specific software
  • Autodesk AutoCADHOT
  • Computer aided design CAD softwareHOT
  • Dassault Systemes CATIAHOT
  • Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKSHOT
  • PTC Creo ParametricHOT
  • ANSYS Multiphysics
  • Digital image correlation DIC software
  • Fault detection isolation and recovery FDIR software
  • Finite element analysis software
  • Image analysis systems
  • MinitabHOT
  • The MathWorks MATLABHOT
  • Fused deposition modeling FDM rapid prototyping systems
  • Stereolithography SLA rapid prototyping systems
 Information exchange software
  • IBM NotesHOT
  • Microsoft OutlookHOT
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The certifications listed below are useful to pursue if you are interested in a career in this field.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The licensing information below is organized into sections and is useful for pursuing if you are interested in a career in this field.
No specific licensing information is listed for this occupation in the area you have selected.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
Related Programs
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Programs related to this career, offered by participating institution(s), are listed below.

Clicking on the Degree programs in the list below will take you away from the Careers page.
Brightpoint Community College
Northern Virginia Community College
Rappahannock Community College
Tidewater Community College
Virginia Peninsula Community College
Virginia Western Community College
Wytheville Community College
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Jobs related to this career may be found on or on the Google Job Search page.