Materials Engineers and Technicians develop a knowledge of the project and specification to source, test and assess compliance of materials and offer guidance on best working practices.
The Role
  • Selecting the best combination of materials for specific purposes
  • Researching the properties of materials
  • Testing materials under different conditions and analysing test data
  • Testing materials to assess how resistant they are to heat, corrosion or chemical attack
  • Developing prototypes
  • Considering the implications for waste and other environmental pollution issues of any product or process
  • Working to solve problems arising during the manufacturing process or with the finished product
  • Supervising quality control throughout the construction and production process
  • Monitoring plant conditions and material reactions during use
  • Advising on inspection, maintenance and repair procedures
  • Considering the costs implications of materials used and alternatives, in terms of both time and money
  • Writing reports for project engineers and managers
  • Provide training for subordinates
  • Understanding the properties and behaviours of these different substances
  • Carrying out tests that are used by companies to improve the performance of existing products, to eliminate faults with materials already in use, and to help with the development of new technologies
  • Most full time positions are 40 to 50 hours a week
  • There may be times where you'll need to do overtime to meet deadlines, and you may have to work away from home, depending on the business needs
  • A newly trained materials engineer can earn in the region of £20,000 and £25,000 per year
  • A trained with experience materials engineer can earn in the region of £25,000 and £40,000
  • A senior, chartered or master materials engineer can earn in the region of £40,000 and £65,000 a year
Salaries typically range depending on location and level of responsibility. Salaries and career options improve with chartered status.
Qualifications & Training
A degree is usually required for entry into this profession. Apart from a degree in materials engineering, technology or science, a number of other engineering and science-based subjects are acceptable. These include:
  • Applied chemistry
  • Applied physics
  • Ceramics and glass
  • Chemical engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Metallurgy
  • Mining engineering
  • Geology
  • Physics
  • Polymer science/technology
  • Structural engineering.
If your degree is in anything other than materials engineering, you may find that a postgraduate qualification will open up more opportunities. It is also useful if your first degree or masters is accredited by a relevant professional body, such as the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, as it can help you to achieve the status of chartered engineer at a later date.