Ceramic engineering is a field of engineering that deals with the creation of objects from inorganic and non-metallic materials. Basically, ceramic engineers deal with ceramic materials to make new products. The production of ceramic products includes using heat and precipitation reactions obtained from high purity chemical solutions. Ceramic engineering also includes purifying raw materials and production of chemical compounds. Engineers dealing with ceramics have to study the components, structure, composition and properties of ceramic materials they are working with.
Even though ceramic engineering may not be as popular as other fields of engineering, it is an important engineering discipline. The importance of ceramic materials are important in applications used in varying engineering fields like chemical engineering, materials engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. Ceramic is heat resistant and can be used for applications where metal and polymers cannot be used. Ceramic engineering is helpful to industries like mining, medicine, refinery, aerospace, food, electronics and many more.
Becoming A Ceramic Engineer
If you wish to become a ceramic engineer, you have to earn a bachelor’s degree in ceramic engineering first. This degree will be completed in 4 to 5 years. There are ceramic engineering degree programs that will allow you to mix classroom instruction with on-the-job training. After earning a bachelor’s degree, it is best to continue your education by earning a master’s degree. This will be completed within 2 years if you study full-time.
Employers encourage their engineers specializing in ceramics to continue their education as much as possible. More education and training improves job performance. Moreover, it will help engineers in keeping up with the latest technology and methods. In fact, employers are willing to pay the tuition for higher-level degrees. It is very important that engineers continue to study while working to keep up with the advances and innovations in engineering technology.
Engineers that will work for the public must obtain a license first. This means that the engineer’s work will affect the life, property and health of the general public. To earn a license, a requirement is a degree from an approved engineering school. The ceramic engineer should have at least 4 years of work experience and must pass the state examination. Doing so will allow the engineer to earn a Professional Engineer title.
The Work Of A Ceramic Engineer
Ceramic engineers are engineers who work on specialized material particularly ceramic. It is made of non-metallic and inorganic materials that underwent a high temperature process. Brick, glass, cement and porcelain are all ceramics. The goal of an engineer in the field of ceramic engineering is to develop new ceramic products and look for more efficient and effective methods to product these new materials. They also have to develop equipment that can process the ceramic materials efficiently. Engineers specializing in ceramics work with a wide array of products including glassware and electrical components.
Ceramic engineers specialize in one type of work only. For instance, if the ceramic engineer is involved in researching, he will be focusing on developing new ceramic materials found in earth. For ceramic engineers that work on technology to improve ceramics, they will focus on the ceramic’s ability to resist heat and fire. Ceramic engineers working in research may also want to discover new uses for ceramics like bone and teeth replacements.
Engineers focusing on ceramic engineering can be involved in producing ceramic materials. In this job, they supervise all the processes to make ceramics. Ceramic engineers have to design the kilns and equipment to be used in manufacturing these ceramic products. They are the ones who will instruct the people who will operate the kilns. There are ceramic engineers that work on sales where in the focus of the job is to educate consumers about using ceramic products.
Aside from working on a specialized job, ceramic engineers can also specialize in one specific product only. Ceramic engineers who work in refractories will focus on creating materials that are fire and heat resistant. Coating for the metal exteriors of a space craft are also made by ceramic engineers. Those ceramic engineers that work on electrical ceramic materials are known as dielectrical engineers. Moreover, ceramic engineers can just focus on glassware and whitewares. There are ceramic engineers that focus on developing cements, abrasives, superconductive materials and structural ceramics.
A Career In Ceramic Engineering
How can you get a job as a ceramic engineer after college? For one, your college placement office can help you look for a suitable job. If your degree program has an internship program, you can take advantage of this too. When you work to complete internship hours, make sure you perform well. You might end up being hired once you graduate.
There are several career advancement possibilities for a ceramic engineer. Ceramic engineers usually start as assistants especially those with a bachelor’s degree only. Over time, they get more responsibilities. If the engineer earns a higher-level degree, this can lead to quicker career advancement. A ceramic engineer can become a project supervisor or a department head. There are ceramic engineers can even become an executive of a large company that creates ceramic materials.
Engineers focusing on ceramic engineering are under materials engineering. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there will be an expected rapid growth of employment until 2014 for this field. Ceramic engineers are needed to develop materials for the electronics and biotechnology industries. However, the strong employment growth will be more on nanomaterial engineering.
Ceramic engineers are often employed in the glass, clay and stone industries. But, there are ceramic engineers who choose to work in iron and steel industries, aerospace industry and chemical industries. There are ceramic engineers that work in government agencies and research centers while some choose to teach ceramic engineering in universities. The working hours will depend on the work too. Those in research and development works 40 hours a week and they work in laboratories and offices. Ceramic engineers working in the production or manufacturing industry will work in factories and construction sites. They are most likely to work overtime and in different shifts.
The salary of a ceramic engineer will depend on his education, work experience, location and the type of job. Those working for the federal government can earn as much as $100,060 a year. The median annual earning for materials engineer is $67,110. Starting ceramic engineers can earn $50,982. Benefits can include health insurance, paid holidays, paid vacations and retirement savings plans. The benefits will also depend with the employer.