Material Engineers create, develop, and test materials to create different products: everything from waterproof coats, to four-lane bridges, to golf clubs. As a Materials Engineering major you will learn how to develop high-tech materials or improve already existing products. Some of the materials you will commonly work with include metal, ceramics and glass, plastic, natural and synthetic items. Nothing is too challenging for a material engineer major. If the right material cannot be found, the next step is to create one to handle the job.
Some courses you may be required to take could include: chemistry, physics, advanced mathematics, thermodynamics, kinetics of materials, material engineering design, materials science, and electronic properties of materials. Materials engineers may specialize in a specific material, such as: ceramic, composite, metallurgic, plastics, or semiconductor processing.
Engineering students love to solve problems and learn how things work. As a materials engineering major, you will use critical thinking and creativity in order to determine how materials can be used in different conditions.
You will be working with numbers and solving equations, but you will also have to articulate your findings to your peers and your professors. Learn to hone your communication skills through writing reports and participating in group presentations. You will need to be very clear when explaining a concept to someone who is not familiar with engineering.
Most colleges will require a summer or semester long internship in order to graduate. Other programs will require you to participate in a co-op program.
Job prospects are good even though material engineers job are expected to grow slower than average when compared to other careers. Material engineers will need to find new materials for aerospace or scientific products or in the medical field as technology advanced. There is constant demand for new products; research and development will demand job growth.
Graduates with a degree in materials engineering average $59,823 as a starting salary with a mid-career salary of $86,725.
Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Materials Engineering might open up.