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What Materials Engineers Do

Materials engineers develop, process, and test materials used to create a range of products, from computer chips and aircraft wings to golf clubs and snow skis. They work with metals, ceramics, plastics, composites, and other substances to create new materials that meet certain mechanical, electrical, and chemical requirements.

Work Environment

Materials engineers generally work in offices where they have access to computers and design equipment. Others work in supervisory roles either in a factory or in research and development laboratories. Materials engineers typically work full time and may work overtime hours when necessary.

How to Become a Materials Engineer

Materials engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in materials science or engineering, or a related field. Employers also value practical experience. Therefore, cooperative engineering programs, which provide college credit for structured job experience, are valuable as well.


The median annual wage for materials engineers was $85,150 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of materials engineers is projected to show little or no change from 2012 to 2022. 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.

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