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Materials Scientist

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What Do Materials Scientist Do?

Career 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.

List of Materials Scientist Job Duties

  • 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.
  • Visit suppliers of materials or users of products to gather specific information.
  • 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.
  • Test individual parts and products to ensure that manufacturer and governmental quality and safety standards are met.
  • Supervise and monitor production processes to ensure efficient use of equipment, timely changes to specifications, and project completion within time frame and budget.
  • Teach in colleges and universities.

Qualities of a Materials Scientist

Below is a list of the skills most Materials Scientists say are important on the job.

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.

  • Nanotechnologist
  • Staff Scientist
  • Polymer Specialist
  • Research and Development Scientist (R and D Scientist)
  • Technology Officer

Is There Job Demand for Materials Scientists?

In the United States, there were 7,900 jobs for Materials Scientist in 2016. 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. The BLS estimates 800 yearly job openings in this field.

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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.

Materials Scientist Average Salary

The average yearly salary of a Materials Scientist ranges between $52,560 and $159,970.

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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

Tools & Technologies Used by Materials Scientists

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

How to Become a Materials Scientist

Education needed to be a Materials Scientist:

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Where Materials Scientists Are Employed

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The table below shows the approximate number of Materials Scientists employed by various industries.

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Those interested in being a Materials Scientist may also be interested in:

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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