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Materials Engineer

Materials engineers develop, process, apply, and evaluate various materials. These include metals, alloys, ceramics, plastics, and composites.

Also Known As

Corrosion Engineer, Engineering Professional, Metallurgical Engineer, Plastics Engineer, Welding Engineer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Metallurgical and Materials Engineers (2142) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Metallurgical and Materials Engineers (C042) 
  • 2011 NOC: Metallurgical and materials engineers (2142) 
  • 2016 NOC: Metallurgical and materials engineers (2142) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Metallurgical and Materials Engineers
2006 NOC : 2142

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to design, develop and specify the processes for moulding, shaping, forming and thermal treatment of metals, alloys and metallic systems ceramics, semiconductors and other materials

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to conduct chemical and physical analytical studies, failure analyses and other studies and operational testing

DIRECTIVE

Interest in supervising technologists, technicians, other engineers and scientists; and in recommending material selection, design of materials, corrosion-control measures, operational testing and other procedures

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2022

In general, materials engineers:

  • Study the properties and traits of metallic and non-metallic materials such as how strong, conductive, and corrosion-resistant it is
  • Develop and review metallurgical-, materials-, and corrosion-engineering plans, standards, and specs (specifications)
  • Develop, test, and apply new materials tailored to meet specific needs such as alloys, composites, plastics, and ceramics
  • Use heat and mechanical treatments to modify the properties of alloys
  • Research, develop, and monitor processes such as non-destructive testing (literally, testing that does not destroy the materials) or extracting metals from ores
  • Develop the best methods for fabricating and joining materials
  • Monitor the performance of materials using destructive or non-destructive methods to assess how they break down, and developing maintenance schedules
  • Study material failures to find causes and develop solutions
  • Inspect construction sites, monitor materials placement, and review or write specs
  • Field test soils, concrete, and asphalt to ensure adequate performance
  • Lab test soils, concrete, and asphalt through destructive and non-destructive methods

Materials engineers can be grouped into three areas.

Extractive metallurgical engineers obtain pure metals from ores through various processes.

Physical metallurgical materials engineers study the nature, structure, and properties of metals and their alloys. They study how metals respond to applied forces and heat treatment.

Materials selection engineers study how metals, plastics, ceramics, or other materials work. They use these materials in different ways. They consider technical and economic factors. They also study what causes materials to fail.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg

Materials engineers may work in offices, plants, labs, field sites, or a mix of these settings. Senior engineers may spend more time in an office setting. They often work as managers.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Materials engineers need:

  • A natural sense of scientific curiosity
  • The ability to analyze and solve problems
  • The ability to work on their own or in a team environment
  • Speaking, listening, and writing skills

They should enjoy:

  • Being innovative
  • Doing precision work
  • Being an expert in their field
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

To work as a materials engineer, a person must have at least a bachelor’s degree. This should relate to engineering of materials, metals (metallurgical), or welding. It could also be a B.Sc. in materials science. Research positions generally require graduate (master’s or doctoral) degrees.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Engineer

Professional engineers design, construct, evaluate, advise, monitor, and report on the performance of materials, equipment, systems, works, processes, and structures.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act [pdf] and Engineering and Geoscience Professions General Regulation [pdf], you must register as a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a Professional Engineer or engage in the practice of engineering.

You do not have to register if you work under the direct supervision of a professional engineer and do not call yourself a Professional Engineer or use the word “engineer” in your job title.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Engineer.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Materials engineers work for:

  • Inspection firms
  • Materials testing labs
  • The automotive industry
  • The construction industry
  • The microelectronic industry
  • Primary metal producers
  • Large fabricators of metals
  • Government and industrial research departments
  • Industries that make aircraft parts, machinery, and electrical equipment
  • Engineering firms that analyze pipeline integrity, corrosion, and failure

In Alberta, materials engineers also work for:

  • Petroleum production and refining industries (such as oil sands companies)
  • Pipe production and installation industries
  • Coal and chemical industries
  • Mineral processing plants

Materials engineers who have worked in production may move into sales. They may also move into positions that deal with customer complaints.

More and more materials engineers work for consulting firms or in research and development. They resolve a wide range of problems. For instance, they may explore the way molten metal interacts with brick furnace linings. Or they may research the failure of thin-film circuit elements in microelectronic components. With time on the job, they may advance to work as managers.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2142: Metallurgical and materials engineers occupational group, 80.3% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2142: Metallurgical and materials engineers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 0 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) website: www.apega.ca

Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) website: www.cim.org

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2022. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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