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Materials technician

Materials technicians test the behaviour of materials under different conditions to help develop new products and improve existing ones.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You could start with a company as a trainee technician if you have 4 or 5 GCSEs (A* to C) including maths, English and a science subject. Some employers may ask for 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent qualifications.

You could also take a higher education qualification, like a foundation degree, HND or degree in materials science and engineering.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) has more information about this career.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • creative problem-solving skills
  • maths and IT skills
  • excellent teamworking skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • testing a material's strength and flexibility under stress
  • testing materials' characteristics, like chemical composition
  • assessing the cost, reliability, safety and environmental impact of materials
  • researching new ways to use materials in the development of products
  • analysing test results and writing reports

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000 to £18,000

Experienced: £20,000 to £26,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000 or more

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, with the possibility of overtime. 

You’ll be office based, or in a laboratory or manufacturing plant. You may have to travel between sites and to meet clients.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a senior technician and register with the Engineering Council to gain EngTech status. You could also move into purchasing, sales and management. With further training, you could qualify as an engineer.

You could use your experience to work with engineering consultancies, providing testing services for clients. 

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Last updated: 08 December 2016