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Materials Engineers - 17-2131.00

O*NET-SOC Description

Evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. Develop new uses for known materials. Includes those engineers working with composite materials or specializing in one type of material, such as graphite, metal and metal alloys, ceramics and glass, plastics and polymers, and naturally occurring materials. Includes metallurgists and metallurgical engineers, ceramic engineers, and welding engineers.

Sample of Reported Job Titles

  • Extrusion Engineer
  • Materials Development Engineer
  • Materials Engineer
  • Materials Research Engineer
  • Metallurgical Engineer
  • Metallurgist
  • Research Engineer
  • Test Engineer

SOC Occupation Groups

17-0000 Architecture and Engineering Occupations
17-2000 Engineers
17-2130 Materials Engineers
17-2131.00 Materials Engineers

Related Occupations


  • Analyze product failure data and laboratory test results to determine causes of problems and develop solutions.
  • Conduct or supervise tests on raw materials or finished products to ensure their quality.
  • Conduct training sessions on new material products, applications, or manufacturing methods for customers and their employees.
  • Design and direct the testing or control of processing procedures.
  • Design processing plants and equipment.
  • Determine appropriate methods for fabricating and joining materials.
  • Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to process or product design objectives.
  • Guide technical staff in developing materials for specific uses in projected products or devices.
  • Modify properties of metal alloys, using thermal and mechanical treatments.
  • Monitor material performance and evaluate material deterioration.
  • Perform managerial functions, such as preparing proposals and budgets, analyzing labor costs, and writing reports.
  • Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and corporate executives as necessary.
  • Plan and implement laboratory operations to develop material and fabrication procedures that meet cost, product specification, and performance standards.
  • Present technical information at conferences.
  • Replicate the characteristics of materials and their components with computers.
  • Review new product plans and make recommendations for material selection, based on design objectives, such as strength, weight, heat resistance, electrical conductivity, and cost.
  • Solve problems in a number of engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace.
  • Supervise production and testing processes in industrial settings, such as metal refining facilities, smelting or foundry operations, or nonmetallic materials production operations.
  • Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists.
  • Teach in colleges and universities.
  • Write for technical magazines, journals, and trade association publications.

Detailed Work Activities

  • Conduct quantitative failure analyses of operational data.
  • Confer with technical personnel to prepare designs or operational plans.
  • Create models of engineering designs or methods.
  • Design industrial processing systems.
  • Determine operational methods.
  • Direct design or development activities.
  • Direct industrial production activities.
  • Direct quality control activities.
  • Evaluate plans or specifications to determine technological or environmental implications.
  • Evaluate technical data to determine effect on designs or plans.
  • Monitor the productivity or efficiency of industrial operations.
  • Prepare detailed work plans.
  • Prepare materials for processing.
  • Prepare operational reports.
  • Prepare project budgets.
  • Prepare proposal documents.
  • Present research results to others.
  • Recommend technical design or process changes to improve efficiency, quality, or performance.
  • Resolve operational performance problems.
  • Supervise engineering or other technical personnel.
  • Teach classes in area of specialization.
  • Teach social science courses at the college level.
  • Test characteristics of materials or structures.
  • Train personnel on proper operational procedures.
  • Write articles, books or other original materials in area of expertise.

Military Crosswalk Titles

  • RL - Naval Reactors Engineer (Navy - Commissioned Officer only)
  • Staff Machinery Material Officer (Navy - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)
  • Staff Weapons Material Officer (Navy - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)
  • Weapons Material Officer (General) (Navy - Commissioned or Warrant Officer)

Apprenticeship Crosswalk Titles

  • Foundry Metallurgist
  • Materials Engineer

DOT Crosswalk Titles

  • Ceramic Design Engineer
  • Ceramic Engineer
  • Ceramic Research Engineer
  • Ceramics Test Engineer
  • Foundry Metallurgist
  • Materials Engineer
  • Metallographer
  • Metallurgist, Extractive
  • Metallurgist, Physical
  • Welding Engineer