Materials Engineer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Materials Engineers Career Video



Evaluates materials and develops machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. Develops new uses for known materials. Includes those engineers working with composite materials or specializing in one type of material, such as graphite, metal and metal alloys, ceramics and glass, plastics and polymers, and naturally occurring materials.

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cluster Engineering and Technology pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Conducts or supervises tests on raw materials or finished products to ensure their quality.
  • Writes for technical magazines, journals, and trade association publications.
  • Evaluates technical specifications and economic factors relating to process or product design objectives.
  • Plans and implements laboratory operations for the purpose of developing material and fabrication procedures that meet cost, product specification, and performance standards.
  • Reviews new product plans and makes recommendations for material selection based on design objectives, such as strength, weight, heat resistance, electrical conductivity, and cost.
  • Guides technical staff engaged in developing materials for specific uses in projected products or devices.
  • Replicates the characteristics of materials and their components with computers.
  • Supervises the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists.
  • Modifies properties of metal alloys, using thermal and mechanical treatments.
  • Conducts training sessions on new material products, applications, or manufacturing methods for customers and their employees.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Materials and Processes Manager --
  • Materials Branch Chief --
  • Materials Development Engineer --
  • Materials Research Engineer --
  • Metallurgical Engineer --
  • Metallurgist --
  • Process Engineer -- Develops and optimizes economical industrial processes to make the huge range of products on which modern society depends.
  • Research Engineer -- Independently evaluates, selects and applies standardized scientific or engineering procedures and techniques to area of specialization.
  • Test Engineer --