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How do I Become a Materials Scientist?

Becoming a materials scientist requires a strong foundation in chemistry, physics, and engineering. Start by earning a bachelor's degree in materials science or a related field. Pursue further specialization with a master's or doctoral degree. Internships and research projects provide practical experience and networking opportunities.
Carol Francois
Carol Francois

There are three items required to become a materials scientist: post-secondary training, related work experience, and laboratory skills. A materials scientist typically works in a laboratory for either a consumer product development company or a mining related company. The primary focus of this role is to investigate the properties of different materials, conduct experiments to determine the strength of the bonds between the molecules, and determine how the material can be modified or used to meet a specific need.

The materials sciences are also known as materials engineering. This field requires training in both science and engineering. Through materials engineering, new materials are created, existing materials strengthened, and new options made available. For example, nanotechnology was developed from a materials science perspective, and then expanded to become its own specialty.

Laboratory skills are required to become a materials scientist.
Laboratory skills are required to become a materials scientist.

People who want to become a materials scientist are typically detail-oriented, enjoy working independently, have a high degree of mental focus, and are typically very precise. The volume of knowledge required to be successful in this career is quite significant, and requires a high level of dedication and study. The most appealing part of materials science is the focus on creating new materials or changing the properties of existing materials. These types of developments have a huge impact on both product development, the cost of consumer products, disposal issues, and the long-term management of the environment.

Materials scientists spend the bulk of their workday in a laboratory setting.
Materials scientists spend the bulk of their workday in a laboratory setting.

The first requirement to become a materials scientist is to complete a post-secondary education program. This is typically a university degree in materials science and engineering, which is available through the Faculty of Engineering at a wide range of universities. Career advancement in this field can be achieved through either further education or a solid work experience history.

Materials scientists investigate the properties of different materials, usually in a laboratory setting.
Materials scientists investigate the properties of different materials, usually in a laboratory setting.

Related work experience includes experience gained through a job placement program or internship during your studies. It is extremely rare for anyone without a formal post-secondary level training in materials science to obtain a position in this industry. Related jobs include research assistant, laboratory assistant, or materials analyst.

Laboratory skills are critical for anyone who wants to become a materials scientist. The vast majority of the day is spent in a laboratory, testing the properties of different materials, documenting the properties, looking at the types of bonds and conducting experiments to determine the different options with this material. These skills are taught during the post-secondary training. Accuracy, precision, and focus are all essential to achieving a high quality work product.

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    • Laboratory skills are required to become a materials scientist.
      By: Vasiliy Koval
      Laboratory skills are required to become a materials scientist.
    • Materials scientists spend the bulk of their workday in a laboratory setting.
      By: lily
      Materials scientists spend the bulk of their workday in a laboratory setting.
    • Materials scientists investigate the properties of different materials, usually in a laboratory setting.
      By: nito
      Materials scientists investigate the properties of different materials, usually in a laboratory setting.
    • Organizational, time management and record keeping skills are vital for a materials scientist working in a laboratory environment.
      By: Monkey Business
      Organizational, time management and record keeping skills are vital for a materials scientist working in a laboratory environment.