Materials engineering/materials science is more about understanding the fundamentals of materials themselves and how/why they perform the way they do. As it says at the Bureau of Labor Statistics that “Materials engineers develop, process, and test materials used to create a wide range of products, from computer chips and aircraft wings to golf clubs and biomedical devices. They study the properties and structures of metals, ceramics, plastics, composites, nanomaterials (extremely small substances), and other substances to create new materials that meet certain mechanical, electrical, and chemical requirements.” (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/ materia ls-engineers.htm) You'll take classes on crystalline materials (many materials are crystalline), defects in crystals (how they happen, what they exist, and why they're important), heat treating, thermodynamics, phase diagrams, transport theory (heat and mass, though not as intense as in ChemE), mechanics of materials, and you can take classes on different types of materials such as metals, ceramics, polymers, semiconductors, biomedical materials, etc. I use my materials science knowledge at NASA to study the durability of spacecraft materials in the space environment. For example, I use many of the laboratory techniques I learned during my BS & MS materials science courses, such as optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and tensile testing, for studying the degradation of materials after space exposure.
Chemical engineering (ChemE) seems to be more about understanding the processes involved in making large-scale manufacturing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics say that “Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, physics, and math to solve problems that involve the production or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and many other products. They design processes and equipment for large-scale manufacturing, plan and test production methods and byproducts treatment, and direct facility operations.” (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/ chemica l-engineers.htm) From what I understand, there is more chemistry and math involved in ChemE than materials science & engineering.
Yes, it was easy for me to get a job as a material engineer! I believe materials engineers are in pretty high demand.
The medium pay for material engineering in 2014 was $88,000/yr and for chemical engineering was $97,000/yr (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
When I was considering what engineering discipline to go into at Michigan State University, I took a 1 credit course that was very helpful to me at “Introduction to Careers in Engineering.” During this class the chairman of the Department of Materials Science showed us a piece of special wire, called shape memory alloy, which he crumpled into a ball. Then he heated it with a lighter and it “magically” formed into a perfect coil. I found the material fascinating and decided to try materials science as a career based on taking this course, and ended up loving all my materials science classes. I recommend that you try take a similar class if one is available to you. As an alternative, you could consider taking an introductory class in both materials engineering and ChemE, as both classes would likely provide good background knowledge for any engineering discipline.