How to Become a

Material Engineer

The complete career guide to be a Material Engineer: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $94,690
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 1.2%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

Materials Engineers establish processes to create materials used for a wide variety of products.  They create the new materials out of mostly ceramic and metal. Materials like fiber-optics or semiconductors.

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What is a Material Engineer?

The following are job responsibilities for Materials Engineers:

  • Developing, testing, modifying and evaluating different materials
  • Providing technical advice regarding the materials
  • Overseeing operational quality control processes
  • Diagnosing any issues or faults with materials
  • Performing research, maintenance and repairs and planning inspections

A Day In The Life

Materials engineers specialize in plastics, metals and ceramics.  They deconstruct, research and develop these materials in order to discover new mechanical applications for these products.

They use their education and knowledge to create new materials on an atomic and sub-particle level and they find the flaws, strengths and uses or a material.  They will use computers and microscopes to replicate characteristics of a specific material and its components.  their goal is to manipulate materials like ceramic, metal, rubber, plastics and polymer and create new products that are useful, functional and safe.

They are continually researching, testing, planning, designing and developing products.  Once they have chosen the correct combination of materials they then conduct more tests and analyze how the materials react to different factors like heat, cold, stress and corrosion.  After analyzing the data any necessary changes are made before building a prototype.

Typical Work Schedule

They generally work a full-time, 40 hour work week.

Projected Job Growth

Employment for materials engineers is expected to rise rapidly as the demand for improved machinery and tools grows and the complexity of machines grows as well.  Also, emerging fields in biotechnology and nanotechnology will create job opportunities.

Typical Employers

Generally, those in this line of work end up employed either the government, utilities companies and manufacturing and materials processing plants.

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How To Become a Material Engineer

Materials Engineers usually need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent to obtain an entry-level position.  Taking advanced classes like calculus, physics and chemistry is ideal.  Also taking classes in and having an aptitude for computer science will assist those wanting to pursue this career.  Employers also value practical work related experience.  Most bachelor degree  programs also offer hands-on training.  Course work for materials engineering include thermodynamics, metallurgy and inorganic materials, to name a few.


Material Engineer Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Material Engineer salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Material Engineer's can make an average annual salary of $94,690, or $46 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $69,530 or $33 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #80 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Material Engineer. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Material Engineers

  • 6.3%   Doctorate
  • 19.2%   Masters
  • 48.3%   Bachelors
  • 10.4%   Associates
  • 10.6%   College
  • 5.1%   High School
  • 0%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Material Engineer job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 300 jobs for a total of 25,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 1.2% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #573 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Material Engineers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Aerospace product and parts manufacturing 3,400 200 0%
Engineering services 2,700 300 0%
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 2,000 300 0%

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