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Materials Engineering Major

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Materials Engineering

1,526 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
1,162 Master's Degrees Annually
#140 in Popularity
$96,930 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Materials Engineering Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many materials engineering graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 1,526
Master’s Degree 1,162
Doctor’s Degree 708
Basic Certificate 120
Undergraduate Certificate 24
Associate’s Degree 9
Graduate Certificate 6

What Materials Engineering Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to materials engineering were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Materials Engineering Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Skills for Materials Engineering Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to materials engineering:

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  • 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.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Materials Engineering Majors

Materials Engineering majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Materials Engineering Major?

People with a materials engineering degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers 5.5% $140,760
Biofuels/Biodiesel Technology and Product Development Managers 5.5% $140,760
Cost Estimators 10.5% $64,040
Engineering Professors 14.7% $101,720
Materials Engineers 1.9% $92,390

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Materials Engineering?

1,526 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
31% Percent Women
26% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 1,526 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering in 2018, making it rank #140 in popularity. This major attracts more men than women. About 69% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of materials engineering majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Materials Engineering Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 194
Black or African American 35
Hispanic or Latino 96
White 935
International Students 166
Other Races/Ethnicities 100

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Materials Engineering. About 10.9% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Iran

How Much Do Materials Engineering Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of materials engineering students with a bachelor’s degree is $63,300 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $60,300 (25th percentile) and $66,300 (75th percentile).

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It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to materials engineering.

Salaries According to BLS

Materials Engineering majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $69,710 to $113,680 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Materials Engineering Major  ( 69710 to 113680 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with materials engineering may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to materials engineering have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.9%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 2.4%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 3.0%
Bachelor’s Degree 50.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 3.6%
Master’s Degree 26.1%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.8%
Doctoral Degree 8.4%
Post-Doctoral Training 3.5%

Online Materials Engineering Programs

In 2017-2018, 105 schools offered a materials engineering program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 5 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 1 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 3 0
Bachelor’s Degree 4 0
Post-Baccalaureate 5 0
Master’s Degree 83 11
Post-Master’s 3 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 74 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Materials Engineering Worth It?

The median salary for a materials engineering grad is $96,930 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 143% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,140,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to materials engineering.

Major Number of Grads
Mechanical Engineering 46,014
Electrical Engineering 31,993
Civil Engineering 21,299
Computer Engineering 15,329
Chemical Engineering 14,729
Biomedical Engineering 11,483
General Engineering 11,245
Industrial Engineering 9,714
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 6,315
Systems Engineering 3,439
Other Engineering 2,900
Petroleum Engineering 2,818
Environmental Engineering 2,746
Operations Research 1,555
Agricultural Engineering 1,546
Engineering Science 1,509
Nuclear Engineering 1,050
Engineering Physics 1,028
Manufacturing Engineering 920
Architectural Engineering 874
Construction Engineering 870
Robotics Engineering 755
Geoscience Engineering 510
Marine Engineering 506
Mining Engineering 434
Biological Engineering 400
Textile Engineering 359
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 348
Engineering Mechanics 329
Ocean Engineering 305
Metallurgical Engineering 218
Biochemical Engineering 124
Ceramic Engineering 111
Electromechanical Engineering 84
Surveying Engineering 73
Paper Science & Engineering 51
Forest Engineering 39
Engineering Chemistry 5

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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