How To Become A Metallurgist
A metallurgist is also known as a materials engineer. Metallurgists are engineers who specialize in many types of metals and metal alloys, such as steel, copper, aluminum, and iron. They use their knowledge to develop and produce a wide variety of products we use in our everyday lives. If you love working with your hands and using equipment to get the job done, if science fascinates you, and if you enjoy working on projects, then a job as a metallurgist may be perfect for you.
Why Become A Metallurgist
Smartphones, golf clubs, airplanes – we sometimes take for granted how metal is a necessary component of so much of our lives. Metal is needed to make many of the items we use on a daily basis. A metallurgist, also known as a materials engineer, is a person who specializes in working with metals.
A metallurgist develops, produces and tests the metal materials that are needed to create a wide range of products we use. A metallurgist is familiar with the properties with all of these metals. They know what kinds of metals and metal alloys to use to perform what kinds of functions. When presented with a new job, a metallurgist will go through many experiments, deciding which metal materials are best fit for the project, testing each one, and coming up with the best solution. Metallurgists supervise the work of technicians and other scientists. They do managerial tasks such as developing project proposals and writing reports.
A metallurgist is a great career for somebody who loves engineering, wants a career in science, enjoys working with equipment and being hands-on, and wants to be involved in projects.
Metallurgists should possess the following qualities and skills:
- Loves being hands-on
- Enjoys working with equipment
- Manual dexterity
- Attention to detail
- Problem solver
Metallurgist Work Environment
Metallurgists spend a lot of time in offices and laboratories of the facilities where they work. They may also spend time on the floor of the plant or manufacturing facility. Metallurgists spend much of their day working with computers and equipment. Metallurgists usually work full time and have regular office hours.
The median annual salary for a metallurgist was $93,310 in 2016 according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There are many factors that can determine a person’s salary. Years of experience can be a factor in determine salary. The specialization a person has within the field can also be a determining factor in pay. Some people work for the government, while others work for manufacturing plants and facilities; the company or agency that a person works for is also a factor in salary.
Metallurgist Career Outlook
Employment for metallurgists is expected to show little to no change from 2014 to 2014, compared to other job occupations within the United States.
Most metallurgists work within the manufacturing industries. These manufacturing industries are actually expected to see decreases in employment in the upcoming years, leading to a decrease in demand for metallurgists. Where there will be a demand and increased need for metallurgists will be in specialties such as biomedical engineering, computers, electronics, and technology.
If you would like to become a metallurgist, read below to receive more information.
Step 1: Undergraduate education. You need to receive a bachelor’s degree in order to work in materials engineering. There are many programs to choose from, including engineering, materials engineering, materials science, information technology, and more. During these programs, you will take courses in mathematics, science, computer programming and more. This is a good introduction to these types of courses and to figure out if a career as a metallurgist is right for you. It takes four years to receive your bachelor’s degree.
Step 2: Internship. Consider doing an internship at a company that specializes in materials engineering. Many colleges offer partnerships with local companies. These internships may be paid or unpaid. This experience is an opportunity for you to further explore the world of materials engineering. You will be able to get a hands-on look at the industry and see if this is a career you truly want. It will also help you network and potentially receive a job inside of the industry.
Step 3: Consider a master’s degree. A master’s degree in materials engineering or a related field is a great choice if you want to do research and development in this field, or if you desire more professional knowledge. There are universities that offer dual programs, where you can get both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
Step 4: Licensing. Metallurgists do not typically require the same kind of licensing that other types of engineers require to continue in their profession. After at least four years of work experience, a metallurgist can opt to take the professional engineering exam. This leads to the professional engineering licensure in their field. Further certification in the field of metallography is available through ASM International.