Materials engineers study the relationships between the underlying structure, processing and performance properties of materials, and employ this insight to formulate new or improved materials for use across a variety of industries. The modern materials engineering discipline encompasses metals, ceramics, polymers and composites, electronic materials and biomaterials. Materials characterization – the use of state-of-the-art instruments to determine material composition and structure – plays a key role in materials engineering education.
What can you do?
Materials engineers study the structure, properties,processing and performance of a wide range of materials,from metals and ceramics to polymers, semiconductorsand nanomaterials. They work at the forefront of rapidlychanging technical areas, where the application of novel,precisely engineered materials is crucial for technologicaladvancement.
How much you can earn
Materials engineers typically earn between $51,420 and $124,470 annually, with an average salary of $81,820.*
Earnings over time**
|Years experience||Median salary|
|9 to 10||$82,225|
|13 to 16||$93,715|
|21 to 25||$111,361|
* Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook
**Source: “Engineering Salary Update,” JOM, January 2010.
Where you can work
- Metals processing, ceramics, electronic materials and plastics plants
- Biomaterials, implants and medical prosthetics
- Automotive, aerospace, construction and telecommunication industries
- Sports and recreational products
- Military and governmental agencies, national laboratories