Employment of materials engineers is expected to grow 9 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations.
Materials engineers will be needed to design uses for new materials both in traditional industries, such as aerospace manufacturing, and in industries focused on new medical or scientific products.
Materials engineers are in demand in growing fields such as nanotechnology and biomedical engineering. They find new uses for these technologies, which can help to address problems with consumer products, industrial processes, and medical needs. Because the work of materials engineers is closely connected to organizations’ research and development, firms will likely seek to draw upon the skills of materials engineers to stay at the forefront of their respective industries.
Materials engineers work in many other fields as well, including thermal sprays. Thermal sprays are insulating coats of materials such as metal alloys, ceramics, and plastics, and they are widely accepted in reducing energy use. Thus, these engineers may find a growing role in weatherization efforts for institutions and companies seeking to cut energy costs.
Despite the relatively lower projected growth rate for this occupation, there should be favorable job prospects as materials engineers are needed to fill positions as more experienced materials engineers get promoted or retire.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition