A typical Materials Engineer will have a background in a variety of subjects including Electrical, Chemical, and Mechanical Engineering, as well as Physics and Mathematics. Work can include product design, materials testing, new product testing, and quality control, as well as an independent review of materials, new products, and manufacturing processes. Careers in this field can lead to management of a manufacturing facility or specialized work in a field such as metallurgy. Read on to find out more about a materials engineer salary, job description, and other information that you should know about the role.
Materials Engineer Salary Overview
Materials Engineers and Scientists can work for a variety of different companies and therefore have a large range of starting salaries. Starting salaries typically fall around $60,000 for jobs with private manufacturing companies, which is where the majority of students with degrees in Materials Engineering start their careers. These jobs usually come with health, dental, and vision insurance, as well as a company match to a 401(k). Within four years of working for a private sector company, however, the median salary of mechanical engineers goes up to around $80,000 a year.
Engineers who are not interested in management can become highly trained in a specific field of materials. For example, materials engineers who specialize in metallurgy can typically command about a 15% salary premium for their positions. Becoming this specialized, however, may limit the availability of jobs to be found.
Popular Employer Salaries for a Materials Engineer
The top respondents for a materials engineer are from the following companies; The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corp, and Northrop Grumman Corporation. The salaries are reported to be the highest at United Technologies Corporation where the average pay for a materials engineer is at $90,000. Some other companies that offer a high materials engineer salary are General Electric Co (GE) and Northrop Grumman Corporation who offer a materials engineer salary of around $86,884 and $84,335. The lowest paying company for a materials engineer is NGK Ceramics where the pay is around $60,832. Both Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company and The Boeing Company also pay on the lower end of the scale which is at around $70,350 and $75,936.
Pay by Experience for a Materials Engineer
An entry-level materials engineer who has less than one year of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (including bonuses, tips, and overtime pay) of around $65,239. Some who is early in their career as a materials engineer and has between one and four years worth of experience should expect to earn a total of $70,589. A materials engineer who is in the middle of their career and has around five to nine years worth of experience should expect to earn a total of around $83,708. An experienced materials engineer who has between ten and twenty years of experience behind them should expect to earn a total wage of $96,378. When people are late on in their career as a materials engineer and have over twenty years worth of experience, they should expect to earn a total wage of $115,862.
Materials Engineer Salary Difference by Location
Huntsville, Alabama is the highest paying city for a materials engineer. People in this area earn around 16% more than the national average. A materials engineer also earns more in Denver, Colorado (around 14.6% above average) and Sunnyvale, California (around 10.4% above average). The lowest paying city for a materials engineer is in Minneapolis, Minnesota where the wage is around 0.1% below the national average.
Job Description and Outlook
While working on development projects, Materials Engineers can be responsible for evaluating technical specifications in order to make recommendations of particular manufacturing processes and equipment. They may also review product designs and make recommendations for material selection. Engineers are also expected to meet with producers of metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites and communicate with them about the investigation and evaluation of materials in regards to specific product applications.
Engineers who work in a product or quality testing capacity are responsible for reviewing product failure rates and interpreting laboratory analyses to establish or rule out the material or process causes. They must also work with other Engineers in the design phases in order to supervise the manufacturing processes which will assure the quality of a particular product. Many companies also expect Materials Engineers working in these kinds of departments to conduct training sessions on new material products, which can include applications or manufacturing methods for company clients and their employees.
For people who are already in the manufacturing industry, a degree in Materials Engineering or Science is an excellent way to improve one’s job prospects and/or set oneself apart among his or her peers when competing for promotions. Although the United States’ economy is believed to be veering away from manufacturing basic goods, demand for high-tech manufacturing has shown a steady increase over the past decade. Jobs in this field, which includes the manufacture of computers and other high-end electronics, require background knowledge of the materials used both in the product and during the manufacturing process.
The increase in the production of highly processed goods, including everything from food to shampoo, has also led to a movement to know more about the safety of these products. Jobs with government agencies and other non-profit organizations dealing with materials testing are expected to increase dramatically over the next several years.
Materials Engineer Tasks
These are some of the tasks that you would be expected to undertake as a materials engineer:
- Conduct and supervise materials testing and all of the technical processes for the company.
- Consult about material choices, process recommendations, and interacting with external agencies and laboratories.
- Investigate any problems with materials and product failures, testing for and investigating all of the manufacturing issues.
- Strategize and document about how to reduce materials and process any problems. This includes researching potential new materials.
Training and Education Requirements
Materials Engineers typically must have a Bachelors of Science in Materials Engineering, Materials Testing, or Industrial Engineering (with a focus on Materials) in order to qualify for entry-level positions. In some cases, an Associate’s Degree in Materials Testing along with several years of industry experience will allow an applicant to qualify for some entry-level jobs. In order to be promoted into management, most companies look for candidates who have at least ten years of experience or five years of experience and a Master’s Degree in Materials Engineering or Engineering Management.
In most states, licensure is not required to work as a Materials Engineer. Depending on the type of work that the engineer is involved in, however, it may be necessary to obtain specific certification allowing the individual to work with various hazardous chemicals. Other jobs may require an extensive background check or even a security clearance if the position involves working with large amounts of controlled materials.
There are a variety of professional organizations for engineers of certain underrepresented groups in engineering. The Society of Women Engineers (www.swe.org) and the Society of Black Engineers (www.sbe.org) are two great organizations. The National Society of Professional Engineers (www.nspe.org) is a good resource for anyone looking to make connections in order to further their career.
Materials Engineer Salary: Conclusion
We hope that this article has been helpful in teaching you more about the average materials engineer salary. We have also covered some of the skills and education required to become a materials engineer, as well as the job description and the tasks you would be expected to undertake as a materials engineer.
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