Career & Education

Job spotlight: Materials engineer

Sunday, April 15, 2018

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Many people think of manufacturing jobs as dirty with low pay, bad hours, and little opportunity for advancement. In reality, however, manufacturing has become a largely technical and automated field that needs workers with computer, coding, and engineering skills. One great example is the materials engineer.

STEM type: A materials engineer is a designer. Designers take plans and ideas and turn them into real things. They envision and plan products, solutions, and products. Engineers are often designers.

As a materials engineer, you evaluate materials used for your company's products. It is up to you to determine what materials are the best fit for machinery to ensure the highest quality product possible.

Median Salary*: US$94,690

If you love designing and solving problems and are interested in becoming a materials engineer, you'll need a bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering or a related engineering field. The Occupational Outlook Handbook by the Bureau of Labor Statistics also suggests that you complete internships and cooperative engineering programmes to help set you apart from other job seekers.

What to do now: It's never too early to show interest in a future job or learn more about a career that excites you. If your school has a job fair, talk to any companies that will be hiring materials engineers and ask them what steps you can take to become one. Also, reach out to people at companies you're interested in and ask them about their own career paths. Reaching out shows initiative and gives you a head start on networking. Some companies might allow you to shadow a materials engineer or intern over the summer, which can really help you decide if this career is right for you.

Classes to take: Engineering requires knowledge of maths and science. Take advanced classes in high school to start preparing for the levels of maths and science that will be expected while earning your degree.

If you don't want to become a materials engineer, there are lots of other manufacturing STEM careers. There are lots of STEM opportunities in every field, from social media to fashion to cooking.

*Salary information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

— stemjobs.com

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