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Materials Engineering Major

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Materials Engineering

1,554 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
1,140 Master's Degrees Annually
#144 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 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 1,554
Master’s Degree 1,140
Doctor’s Degree 714
Basic Certificate 66
Undergraduate Certificate 48
Graduate Certificate 9
Associate’s Degree 7

What Materials Engineering Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, materials engineering majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

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?

Below is a list of occupations associated with materials engineering:

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?

1,554 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
33% Percent Women
28% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 1,554 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering in 2019, making it rank #144 in popularity. This major attracts more men than women. About 67% 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 190
Black or African American 44
Hispanic or Latino 125
White 913
International Students 159
Other Races/Ethnicities 123

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Materials Engineering, too. About 10.2% 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

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that materials engineering students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree made a median starting salary of $63,300 per year. 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 careers associated with materials engineering require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for materials engineering careers below.

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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 the 2018-2019 academic year, 105 schools offered some type of materials engineering program. 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) 4 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 2 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 3 0
Bachelor’s Degree 7 0
Post-Baccalaureate 4 0
Master’s Degree 83 9
Post-Master’s 3 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 76 0
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 47,405
Electrical Engineering 31,384
Civil Engineering 21,938
Computer Engineering 15,891
Chemical Engineering 14,406
Biomedical Engineering 12,001
General Engineering 11,739
Industrial Engineering 9,410
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 7,069
Systems Engineering 3,491
Other Engineering 2,982
Environmental Engineering 2,850
Petroleum Engineering 2,269
Operations Research 1,745
Agricultural Engineering 1,554
Engineering Science 1,515
Architectural Engineering 1,019
Nuclear Engineering 1,014
Engineering Physics 979
Robotics Engineering 943
Manufacturing Engineering 932
Construction Engineering 865
Marine Engineering 481
Geoscience Engineering 424
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 387
Biological Engineering 374
Textile Engineering 366
Ocean Engineering 346
Mining Engineering 340
Engineering Mechanics 314
Metallurgical Engineering 235
Biochemical Engineering 118
Ceramic Engineering 101
Surveying Engineering 89
Electromechanical Engineering 65
Forest Engineering 52
Paper Science & Engineering 44
Engineering Chemistry 9

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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