Materials engineers are on the cutting edge of technology in virtually every field. They develop the materials with outstanding combinations of mechanical, chemical, and electrical properties that make other advances possible. Metals, plastics, ceramics, super- and semi-conductors are just of the few material that these engineers continue to develop and enhance.
Materials engineers need a four-year college degree. In many cases, the better research positions require at least a master's or doctoral degree. Most have materials science and engineering degrees, but some have degrees in chemical or even biomedical engineering.
Most materials engineers work in research and development labs in industry or at universities. While the environment and hours that they work can vary substantially with their industry and job, most material engineers work regular hours.
The starting salary for a materials engineer (2009):
- Invent clothing that repels mosquitoes
- Enhance the handling ability of skis and snowboards with more flexible materials
- Develop nano-sized polymers to help repair shattered bones
- Help burn victims heal faster with artificial skin grafts
- Create stretchable material for clothing that returns to its original shape