Materials Engineers

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Welding Engineer
  • Testing Engineer
  • Test Engineer
  • Supplier Quality Engineer (SQE)
  • Stress Engineer
  • Smelting Engineer
  • Research Engineer
  • Refining Engineer
  • Project Engineer
  • Process Engineer
View All

What They Do

  • Conduct training sessions on new material products, applications, or manufacturing methods for customers and their employees.
  • Write for technical magazines, journals, and trade association publications.
  • Design processing plants and equipment.
  • Replicate the characteristics of materials and their components with computers.
  • Teach in colleges and universities.
  • 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.
  • Determine appropriate methods for fabricating and joining materials.
  • Modify properties of metal alloys, using thermal and mechanical treatments.
  • Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to process or product design objectives.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: IRE.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Realistic and Enterprising environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Support, but also value Working Conditions and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Engineering and Technology - 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.
  • Chemistry - 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.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Physics - 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 - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Wages

In 2017, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $88,790 with most people making between $53,970 and $132,490

Outlook

0.53%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 1,330 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 1,400 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 7 openings due to growth and about 43 replacement openings for approximately 50 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education