Materials Technician Careers

How to become Materials Technician

What does a Materials Technician do?

Materials technicians work within a team of scientists, engineers and other technicians on the testing and development of materials used in the design and manufacture of products, components and structures. Materials may be new or they may be existing combinations modified to improve performance. They include plastics, metals, alloys, concrete and composites.

Technicians investigate materials' characteristics under different conditions and test for strength, safety, reliability, efficiency and environmental impact. They use a variety of techniques including non-destructive testing. For more detailed information about this aspect of the job, see the profile for non-destructive testing (NDT) technician. Test results and data are collated and reports compiled for evaluation.

Technicians work in fields where the satisfactory performance of materials is vital to the durability and safety of a structure or product. These fields include:

  • oil refineries, oil rigs and shipbuilding
  • aerospace engineering and aviation
  • manufacturing and chemical processing industries
  • medical instruments and equipment
  • civil engineering, buildings and bridges
  • consumer items, furniture and household appliances.

Materials technicians must have knowledge of a variety of engineering disciplines, and many of them are qualified in mechanical, electrical, electronic or civil engineering.

What's the working environment like working as a Materials Technician?

Materials technicians work 37 to 40 hours a week. Overtime may be available.

Depending on their work, they could be based in an office, laboratory or manufacturing environment. Some travel may also be involved.

What does it take to become a Materials Technician?

To be a materials technician, you should:

  • have good practical ability
  • have good analytical skills and able to devise innovative solutions to problems
  • have good numeracy skills
  • be computer literate
  • understand engineering drawings and principles
  • understand the qualities of metals and other materials, manufacturing processes and construction methods
  • be a good team worker, but with a degree of initiative and the ability to supervise other people where needed
  • have normal colour vision.

Materials Technician Career Opportunities

Large numbers of people are employed in the various branches of industry, and there is a regular demand for skilled technical staff in all sectors.

It is possible to progress to senior technician, or alternatively to move into purchasing, sales and management. You may also find work with an engineering consultancy providing materials testing services for clients. With further training you may be able to qualify as an engineer. See the profile for materials engineer for details.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Materials Technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3)
1 Carlton House Terrace
Tel: 020 7451 7300

British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing
1 Spencer Parade
Tel: 01604 630124

SEMTA (Science Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance)
14 Upton Road
WD18 0JT
Tel: 0808 100 3682

The Engineering Careers Information Service (ECIS)

Women into Science and Engineering
22 Old Queen Street
Tel: 020 7227 8421

Engineering Training Council (Northern Ireland)
20-24 York Street
BT15 1AQ
Tel: 028 9032 9878

Engineering Council
10 Maltravers Street
Tel: 020 7240 7891

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