Materials engineers develop, process, and test materials used to create a wide 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.
Materials engineers generally work in offices where they have access to computers and design equipment. Others work in factories or research and development laboratories. Materials engineers typically work full time and may work overtime hours when necessary.
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 hired as a materials engineer.
The median annual wage for materials engineers was $91,310 in May 2015.
Employment of materials engineers is projected to show little or no change from 2014 to 2024. Materials engineers will be needed to design uses for new materials both in traditional industries, such as aerospace manufacturing, and in industries focused on new medical or scientific products. However, most materials engineers work in manufacturing industries, which are expected to experience employment declines.
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