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Materials Scientist

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What Do Materials Scientist Do?

Job Description: Research and study the structures and chemical properties of various natural and synthetic or composite materials, including metals, alloys, rubber, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, and glass. Determine ways to strengthen or combine materials or develop new materials with new or specific properties for use in a variety of products and applications. Includes glass scientists, ceramic scientists, metallurgical scientists, and polymer scientists.

Materials Scientist Responsibilities

  • Test metals to determine conformance to specifications of mechanical strength, strength-weight ratio, ductility, magnetic and electrical properties, and resistance to abrasion, corrosion, heat, and cold.
  • Conduct research on the structures and properties of materials, such as metals, alloys, polymers, and ceramics, to obtain information that could be used to develop new products or enhance existing ones.
  • Research methods of processing, forming, and firing materials to develop such products as ceramic dental fillings, unbreakable dinner plates, and telescope lenses.
  • Perform experiments and computer modeling to study the nature, structure, and physical and chemical properties of metals and their alloys, and their responses to applied forces.
  • Test individual parts and products to ensure that manufacturer and governmental quality and safety standards are met.
  • Test material samples for tolerance under tension, compression, and shear to determine the cause of metal failures.

What a Materials Scientist Should Know

When polled, Materials Scientists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

  • Research Scientist
  • Material Scientist
  • Vice President Research
  • Plastics Scientist
  • Accelerator Systems Director

Is There Going to be Demand for Materials Scientists?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 7,900 jobs in the United States for Materials Scientist. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 7.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 600 new jobs for Materials Scientist by 2026. There will be an estimated 800 positions for Materials Scientist per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Materials Scientists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Materials Scientist are Utah, Idaho, and Missouri. Watch out if you plan on working in Illinois, Washington, or Tennessee. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for a Materials Scientist

The typical yearly salary for Materials Scientists is somewhere between $52,560 and $159,970.

Salary Ranges for Materials Scientists

Materials Scientists who work in New Mexico, Connecticut, or Indiana, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Materials Scientists in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $66,170
Arizona $91,870
California $102,860
Colorado $111,890
Connecticut $123,590
Delaware $88,630
Florida $104,710
Georgia $84,940
Illinois $94,920
Indiana $125,320
Iowa $87,010
Louisiana $110,820
Maine $66,990
Maryland $105,180
Massachusetts $97,240
Michigan $84,700
Minnesota $98,690
Missouri $91,530
Nevada $121,420
New Hampshire $105,330
New Jersey $104,530
New Mexico $136,130
New York $101,310
North Carolina $114,900
Ohio $100,360
Oregon $102,140
Pennsylvania $100,950
South Carolina $79,260
Tennessee $82,660
Texas $120,320
Utah $91,390
Virginia $101,950

What Tools do Materials Scientists Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Materials Scientists may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Email software
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • R
  • National Instruments LabVIEW
  • Wolfram Research Mathematica
  • Maplesoft Maple
  • ANSYS Multiphysics
  • Dassault Systemes Abaqus
  • ANSYS LS-DYNA

Becoming a Materials Scientist

Individuals working as a Materials Scientist have obtained the following education levels:

Materials Scientist Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Materials Scientist?

Materials Scientist Work Experience

Who Employs Materials Scientists?

Materials Scientist Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Materials Scientists work:

Materials Scientist Industries

You May Also Be Interested In…

Those thinking about becoming a Materials Scientist might also be interested in the following careers:

Are you already one of the many Materials Scientist in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

Image Credit: Per Henning via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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