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Materials engineer

Alternative titles for this job include Materials scientist

Materials engineers study how materials behave under different conditions and discover ways to improve their performance or put them to new uses.

Average salary (a year)

£27,000 Starter


£52,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 42 a week

You could work

evenings occasionally

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Materials engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship


You'll normally need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a subject, like:

  • materials engineering
  • materials science or technology
  • applied chemistry
  • applied physics

You could also take a degree course specialising in one group of materials or their commercial use, for example:

  • metallurgy
  • biomaterials
  • polymer science
  • sports engineering

If you have a related degree, for example, structural engineering, you may be able to take a postgraduate course in materials science and engineering.

You can search for materials science and engineering courses, accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, on the Engineering Council website.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and a science for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information


You could apply for a degree apprenticeship to begin your materials engineering career. Examples include:

  • Materials Science Technologist Level 6
  • Space Systems Engineer Level 6
  • Materials Process Engineer Level 7

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

More Information

More Information

Career tips

Choosing to do an accredited course or a degree apprenticeship can help towards registration for incorporated or chartered engineer status with a professional body. This is a way to demonstrate your professional competence and expertise as your career progresses.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in materials science and engineering from Discover Materials and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of physics
  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • analytical thinking skills
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a materials engineer, you could:

  • research new ways to combine materials
  • analyse test data, using computer modelling software
  • develop prototypes for new products
  • design manufacturing processes that use new materials
  • investigate the reasons behind component or structural failures
  • supervise a team of technicians

Working environment

You could work at a manufacturing plant, in a laboratory or in an office.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to lead engineer or move into project management. You could also specialise in particular materials or industries, work in research and development, or become a consultant.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Materials Science Management Degree Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £20,880 a year Annually
  • Location: Nostell, Wakefield

Courses In England

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