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 for 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.


  • Evaluates properties of metals and determines type of metal to be used.
  • Experiments in power metallurgy and the process of compressing metallic powders and sintering them at high temperatures.
  • Conducts microscopic, x-ray, x-ray diffraction and spectrographic studies of metals and alloys.
  • Advises on shortcomings of metals in use and tests for anticipated use, and tests alloys to study engineering properties and ensure compliance with standards.
  • Measures and records data on performance of metals or metal combinations.
  • Gathers information and consults with engineers and company officials to produce alloys at minimum cost, to minimise air pollution and to implement testing procedures.
  • Develops hot-working and cooling processes to obtain desired characteristics.
  • Evaluates influences of exotic or unusual metals.
  • Studies effect of radiation on metals exposed to space environment and nuclear reactors and joining of diverse materials to form complex structures.

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.



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

  • Average age
    Average age
    41 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Very strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    16% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    49 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    87% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    960 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 0.0%
    NSW: 17.7%
    NT: 1.2%
    QLD: 11.1%
    SA: 10.1%
    TAS: 2.5%
    VIC: 11.2%
    WA: 46.2%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0%
    20-24: 4.8%
    25-34: 30.2%
    35-44: 23.7%
    45-54: 21.3%
    55-59: 7.4%
    60-64: 6.3%
    65 and Over: 6.2%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 7.1%
    Bachelor degree: 63.7%
    Certificate III/IV: 2.8%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 24.1%
    Year 10 and below: 0%
    Year 11: 0.3%
    Year 12: 1.9%
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