How to become a Materials Engineer

Materials engineers investigate the properties of metals, ceramics, polymers, plastics and other materials, and develop and assess their commercial and engineering applications. Materials engineers may specialise in metals, ceramics, polymers, plastics or composites.

Personal requirements of a Materials Engineer

  • Enjoy science, technical and engineering activities
  • Able to identify, analyse and solve problems
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • A capacity for creative thinking

Education & Training for a Materials Engineer

To become a materials engineer you usually have to complete a degree in engineering at university with a major in materials engineering. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry and physics are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Additional Information

Graduates may be eligible to join Engineers Australia and Materials Australia. Visit their websites for more details.

Duties & Tasks of a Materials Engineer

Materials engineers:

  • study the structure and properties of metals and other materials
  • develop methods for processing minerals through to manufactured materials
  • investigate methods for shaping and fabricating materials, joining materials, improving existing materials and evaluating new ones
  • participate in the design of products using advanced materials
  • investigate material failures
  • study ways to extend the life of materials
  • establish procedures and methods to protect materials against deterioration and assess their durability
  • study possible improvements to production methods, report on the nature and uses of materials, and advise on manufacturing techniques and quality control systems.

Working conditions for a Materials Engineer

They often work closely with other professionals, pooling expertise on particular projects. They may work in production plants, offices and outdoors when involved in construction projects.

Employment Opportunities for a Materials Engineer

Materials engineers find employment in industrial or government research organisations and in government agencies such as those associated with power generation, communication, defence, construction and transport. A wide range of manufacturing industries also employ materials engineers, including those concerned with the processing of minerals, plastics, rubbers, ceramics, paper, electronic devices and packaging. There are also opportunities for experienced materials engineers to become self-employed consultants.

Future growth:

Strong

Employment by state:

ACT ACT 0%

NSW NSW 23%

NT NT 0.4%

QLD QLD 24.1%

SA SA 5.1%

TAS TAS 0%

VIC VIC 26.4%

WA WA 21%

Hours worked:

39.2

Unemployment:

Average unemployment

Gender split:

Male 75.6%

Female 24.4%

Education level:

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 72.9%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 27.1%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0%

20-24 - 12.9%

25-34 - 33%

35-44 - 27.5%

45-54 - 7.3%

55-59 - 8.5%

60-64 - 6.6%

65 and Over - 4.4%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Related careers