Metallurgical engineering is all about the study, use and deployment of metals in industry. This includes many specific skills and types of knowledge, and it’s an important field for business, industry and government across the globe. Metallurgy is one branch of materials engineering, and material engineers account for one of the largest overarching branches of engineering. If you’re interested in learning more about education for this type of career, and what the career might be like, then take a look at the rest of the information on this page to help get yourself started.
What to Expect from a Metallurgical Engineering Program
Metallurgical engineering students will need to understand, learn and master many different concepts. At the forefront of this is the idea of metallurgy itself – in other words, the extraction of metal from ore. This can go all the way to the mining and location of ore to the efficient and effective retrieval and separation of it, which includes both physical and chemical processes.
From there, the “engineering” component of this will be applied in the use of these metals for production and manufacturing. In addition, it will be applied in the development and testing of new alloys, the refinement of existing alloys and much more.
Metallurgical engineering students will need a strong background in mathematics, including calculus and statistics. They’ll also need a background in the sciences, particularly chemistry and physics. From there, many specific engineering courses may be taken over the course of a program, including thermodynamics, thermo-fluid science, thermal-physics, materials strength, fluid dynamics, material synthesizing, instrumentation and calibration, and much more.
Bachelors programs will take on average four years to complete. Some universities may offer comprehensive or bridge programs taking undergraduates straight through to a masters level diploma. The bachelors portion of this program may be more generically based upon materials engineering, while the masters portion of the program would then branch out into different subfields, including metallurgical or ceramics engineering, for instance.
A postgraduate program for metallurgical engineering may also provide students with a specialization in one of many new emerging fields, such as nanotechnology. This is an intriguing possibility for many students and professionals, and this is something that is going to become increasingly more important as time goes on.
Online Metallurgical Engineering Degrees
There are online metallurgical engineering degrees available, and these are typically offered at a masters or postgraduate level. Bachelors level degrees in materials engineering may be available entirely or partially online from some institutions. Majors or minors in metallurgical engineering may then be available as a component of your program depending on which school you’re attending.
It’s hard to find solely online bachelors programs for metallurgical engineering, because much of your education will need to come from lab work, experimentation and other hands-on activities. Despite the growing effectiveness of online programs, these are things which cannot entirely be taught over the internet or in a distance learning platform.
Job Opportunities for Metallurgical Engineers
There are many different job opportunities for metallurgical engineers. Just think about the way that metal products and components are used in our lives and all around us. There’s a heavy need both privately and publicly for research, development and experimentation in these areas, and many metallurgical engineers may enjoy lab-based careers.
Others may be more field-based, in the practical application and testing of materials. Jobs will be available in the private sector, in nonprofit organizations and with the government, particularly with the military and the defense department. Many new jobs are also available in the energy industry and dealing with advanced technologies, whether nanotechnology, superconductors and more.
Is There a Demand for Metallurgical Engineers?
Many people are concerned about jobs in this country, and most especially jobs that are related to things such as industry, production and manufacturing. The general thought is that these jobs in the United States are entirely on the decline and will continue to drop off until their gone completely.
However, metallurgical engineers and materials engineers are in high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s a projected 9% growth in the field over the decade lasting from 2008 to 2018. Quantitatively, this equates to the creation or addition of several thousand new jobs.
Metallurgical engineers are tasked with finding new, better materials. In making things better, stronger, longer lasting and more efficient. In finding new solutions to old problems, and updating old concepts into modern day equivalents. Industry has to evolve and improve, and it’s the metallurgical engineers who are at the forefront of that for many different industries. Therefore, this skill set, education and degree will always be in demand, and there will be opportunities within the country and around the world for highly trained metallurgical engineers.
How Much do Metallurgical Engineers Get Paid?
As mentioned, metallurgical engineers are a piece of the overall branch of engineering known as materials engineering. Salary data for materials engineers can then be applied to this specific subfield, and will give you a good idea about what you can expect to see in terms of salary and earnings.
According to the May 2010 data from the Occupational Employment Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, materials engineers brought in a mean annual wage of $85,860. The earnings didn’t stop there either, as the higher portions of the field commanded very lofty figures. The top 25% of the field earned more than $105,000 annually, and the top 10% of the field earned more than $126,800 annually.
Metallurgy and metallurgical engineering is a crucial component of many of the largest and most important industries across the globe. Engineers with a background in this field and the appropriate education and training will command high salaries and will enjoy many job opportunities, both at home and abroad. It’s a dynamic and fast-paced career with an emphasis on both analysis and problem solving. If you think all of this sounds like it’s a match for you, then the time is now to begin your educational program for metallurgical engineering.