Materials Technologist Careers

How to become a Materials Technologist

What does a Materials Technologist do?

Materials technologists work with materials such as metals, plastics, rubbers and ceramics. They study how the composition, structure, processing and application of these materials, are inter-related.

Devising and creating new materials and processes, both in the laboratory and in the factory, is a major part of the work. Technicians assist materials technologists and carry out routine tasks such as laboratory tests.

Materials technologists working with metals are called metallurgists. There are also specialist technologists who work with materials such as ceramics and polymers.

Materials scientists consider the structure and properties of materials, and how these are affected by composition/processing.

Materials engineers are concerned with the processing and applications of materials, but also need to understand their composition, structure and properties.

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

The work takes place during office hours. Shift work or part-time work may be available.

The working environment may be a laboratory, an office or the factory floor. Outdoor work may sometimes be involved.

Some jobs, such as those concerned with selling materials, require considerable travel.

What does it take to become a Materials Technologist?

To be a materials technologists you will need:

  • a keen interest and aptitude for science
  • a practical approach to problem-solving
  • analytical skills
  • the ability to work accurately, with attention to detail
  • strong written and verbal communication skills
  • good team-working skills

Materials Technologist Career Opportunities

Materials technologists are employed in a wide range of industries, including the primary production and fabrication of metals, polymers and ceramics. Other areas of work may be in: construction; electronics; telecommunications; consumer goods manufacturing; packaging; and the biomedical industries.

One of the major employers of metallurgists is Corus (British Steel). Other metal producing, refining and fabricating companies also employ metallurgists.

Materials technologists work in: research and development; production management; quality control; purchasing; sales and marketing. There is currently a strong demand for materials technologists, particularly those with a metals, ceramics or polymer background.

Promotion prospects are good. There are opportunities throughout the UK, and overseas.

Self-employment, usually as a consultant, is possible.

Further information

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

Polymer and Associated Industries NTO *
Halesfield 7
Tel: 01952 587020

The Institute of Materials
1 Carlton House Terrace
Tel: 020 7451 7300

Steel and Metals Industry NTO *
Units 5-6
Amos Road
S9 1BX
Tel: 0114 244 6833

National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some will continue operating for several months. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

From March 2002, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills began licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website:

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