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Materials Scientist

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All About Materials Scientists

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.

Life As a Materials Scientist: What Do They Do?

  • Visit suppliers of materials or users of products to gather specific information.
  • Research methods of processing, forming, and firing materials to develop such products as ceramic dental fillings, unbreakable dinner plates, and telescope lenses.
  • 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 material samples for tolerance under tension, compression, and shear to determine the cause of metal failures.
  • Confer with customers to determine how to tailor materials to their needs.
  • 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.

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.

  • Material Scientist
  • Senior Materials Scientist
  • Nanotechnologist
  • Vice President Research
  • Staff Scientist

Materials Scientist Job Outlook

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. There will be an estimated 800 positions for Materials Scientist per year.

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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.

Salary for a Materials Scientist

The typical yearly salary for Materials Scientists is somewhere 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

What Tools & Technology do Materials Scientists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Materials Scientists:

  • 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 do I Become a Materials Scientist?

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

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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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Other Jobs You May be Interested In

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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