How to become a Materials Engineer

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 for 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.

Tasks

  • Reviews product failure data and implements laboratory tests to establish or reject possible causes, and advises on ways to overcome any problems..
  • Confers with producers of materials, such as metals, ceramics, polymers, cements and elastomers, during the investigation and evaluation of materials suitable for specific product applications..
  • Reviews plans for new products and submits material selection recommendations in accordance with design specifications and factors such as strength, weight and cost..
  • Plans and implements laboratory operations to develop new materials and fabrication procedures for new materials to fulfil production cost and performance standards..

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.


Specializations

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.

  • Average age
    Average age
    37 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    17% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    44 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $3,019
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Average unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    84% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    520 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 0.6%
    NSW: 25.7%
    NT: 0.6%
    QLD: 16.8%
    SA: 5.6%
    TAS: 0.6%
    VIC: 28.0%
    WA: 22.1%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0%
    20-24: 8.8%
    25-34: 34%
    35-44: 24%
    45-54: 18.5%
    55-59: 5.5%
    60-64: 5.3%
    65 and Over: 3.8%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 3.1%
    Bachelor degree: 51.6%
    Certificate III/IV: 5.5%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 34.7%
    Year 10 and below: 0.6%
    Year 11: 0%
    Year 12: 4.5%
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