Materials Scientist Career

materials-scientist-500Materials science is a broad interdisciplinary field that involves chemistry, physics, and engineering where scientist work to create and design new materials. Materials scientists study the micro-structure and macro-structure of materials such as rubber, metal, and ceramics, then manipulate their structural properties to create custom designed materials that serve a specific purpose.

Materials scientists work in industries that create products such as industrial design, computers, pharmaceuticals, electronics, auto, and construction industries. They often work in laboratories, manufacturing facilities, office building, and many are employed by the government or work in academia.

Materials Scientist Career Snapshot

Materials scientists typically work regular full-time hours, but if they are working on a large project or coming up on a deadline, they may work overtime hours. They often work with chemicals that are hazardous to their health, so they should follow proper procedures and wear protective clothing to minimize exposure and limit the risk.

Further details on a career as a materials scientist are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly salary for materials scientists.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Bachelor’s degree while 33% have a Doctoral degree.

Materials Scientist Education

Entry-level materials scientist positions require a bachelor’s degree in physics, chemistry, engineering, or materials science. Many employers look for candidates with a master’s degree or PhD. and have significant work and laboratory experience. Regardless of the degree program, students should take additional coursework in mathematics, biology, and computer science.

Materials Scientist Job Duties

Materials scientists perform either basic research where they research the properties and composition of materials or applied research where they develop new materials. Both types of research involve working in teams. In addition to conducting various types of laboratory research, materials scientists write technical reports on their findings and present their reports to their colleagues and other scientists.

Materials Scientist Salaries

As of May 2015, the median salary for materials scientists is $91,000 according to the Those who work for the federal government can expect to make up to $104,660, and materials scientists who work in the computers and electronics industry can expect to make up to $107,960. Low-end salaries start around $45,000, and high-end salaries are around $150,000.

Materials Scientist Job Outlook

Job growth for materials scientists is expected to grow by 3% through 2024 as the demand for safer top quality low priced materials increases. The increase in jobs involving environmental industry research is offsetting the decline in materials science jobs in the manufacturing industry.

Materials Scientist Skills & Traits

Materials Scientist Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Materials Scientists:Typical Work Activities:
• Science
• Critical Thinking
• Reading Comprehension
• Complex Problem Solving
• Speaking
• Oral Expression
• Written Comprehension
• Deductive Reasoning
• Oral Comprehension
• Problem Sensitivity
• Abrasion testers
• Laboratory balances
• Laboratory box furnaces
• Scanning probe microscopes
• Spectrometers
• Getting Information
• Analyzing data
• Using relevant knowledge
• Working with computers
• Creative thinking

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