How do I Become a Materials Engineer?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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Materials engineers research the physical and chemical properties of different types of matter to develop new products and technologies. Engineers usually specialize with a certain type of material, such as metal, ceramics, textiles, or plastics. There are numerous job opportunities for skilled engineers in dozens of different industries. In order to become a materials engineer in most settings, an individual needs to receive a bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited engineering program and pass relevant licensing exams.

A person who wants to become a materials engineer can begin developing important skills in high school. Advanced courses in physics, chemistry, and biology usually provide students with a basic understanding of the properties of matter and the fundamentals of scientific inquiry. High school guidance counselors typically can help students identify prospective colleges that offer quality engineering degrees.

Most prospective materials engineers enroll in four-year bachelor's degree programs in electrical or mechanical engineering. While most courses are geared specifically at engineering principles, students frequently take additional classes in communications, writing, and computer science to improve their range of skills. As undergraduates, students can look into internships or assistant research positions at their schools and local companies to gain practical experience and improve their chances of eventually landing jobs in the field.


A bachelor's degree usually is sufficient to become a materials engineer in many industries, though most students take an additional one to two years of classes to earn their master's degrees. Many schools offer master's degrees specifically in materials engineering, and grant students the opportunity to hone their researching skills by working on legitimate projects. Prospective engineers are often required to carry out team research projects and compose detailed scientific papers in order to earn their degrees.

Following college, a prospective engineer can begin applying to private research laboratories, research and development companies, and manufacturing firms. An entry-level employee usually begins his or her career as a junior engineer, assisting more experienced professionals in their research. Junior engineers are often responsible for entering data, writing grant proposals, composing reports, and applying for patents. By working under supervision and receiving guidance from mentors, an individual typically continues to develop the qualities necessary to become a materials engineer.

Many states and countries require junior engineers to pass detailed licensing exams that test their understanding of safety, research ethics, and standard procedures. By gaining licensure, an individual can officially become a materials engineer and take on additional job responsibilities. In time, a professional may be able to advance to the rank of senior engineer and start working independently on research and development projects.



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