How to become a Metallurgist

Metallurgists research, control and develop processes that are used in extracting minerals from ore (rock) for refining metals.

Personal requirements of a Metallurgist

  • Enjoy technical and engineering work
  • Willing to adhere to safety requirements
  • Able to identify, analyse and solve problems
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Practical and creative
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team
  • Able to accept responsibility

Education & Training for a Metallurgist

To become a metallurgist you usually have to complete a degree in metallurgical or chemical engineering, or science with a major in metallurgy. 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.

Duties & Tasks of a Metallurgist


  • apply physical and chemical methods to separate valuable minerals from their ores
  • design processes to separate valuable minerals from ores and to reduce minerals to metals and alloys
  • design and operate plants to produce concentrated mineral products and metals
  • supervise sampling from various stages of processing for laboratory analysis and testing
  • modify and develop processes to improve recovery and quality as well as to reduce waste and costs
  • develop and operate processes to meet environmental requirements
  • supervise a team of metallurgists, technicians and other workers
  • advise operators on production methods and quality control systems
  • communicate with other professionals (such as geologists, mining engineers, chemists, administrators and managers) to improve efficiencies
  • control expenditure and prepare budgets and technical reports.

Working conditions for a Metallurgist

Metallurgists work at mines, mineral processing sites, laboratories, research centres or offices. They usually work with other professionals such as mining or construction engineers, geologists, mineralogists, technicians and tradespeople.

Employment Opportunities for a Metallurgist

Metallurgists are employed in production, research and technical sales in companies that mine and process metals, as well as in related research organisations such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). They are also employed by government departments. Some metallurgists find employment in educational institutions, as well as in marketing and technical sales for companies dealing in metal products and coated products. After several years of experience, metallurgists may move into middle or senior-level management positions. Others form their own companies that provide advice to companies and firms involved in metal production. Demand for metallurgists is dependent on the level of activity in the mining, metals and materials manufacturing industries.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:

Very strong

Employment by state:

ACT ACT 1.2%

NSW NSW 23.1%

NT NT 1.3%

QLD QLD 25.6%

SA SA 11%

TAS TAS 3.3%

VIC VIC 17.5%

WA WA 16.9%

Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 71%

Female 29%

Education level:

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0%

20-24 - 11.2%

25-34 - 36.8%

35-44 - 22.8%

45-54 - 20.8%

55-59 - 5.8%

60-64 - 0%

65 and Over - 2.5%

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

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