Materials technicians test the behaviour of materials under different conditions to help develop new products and improve existing ones.
Salary range: £15,000 to £30,000
How to become a materials technician
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You could do a college course to learn some of the skills you’ll need for this job. Courses include:
- Level 3 Certificate in Laboratory Technical Skills
- Level 3 Diploma in Engineering
- Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science
- T level in Design, Surveying and Planning
You may need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
You could start by doing a non-destructive tester intermediate or advanced apprenticeship.
You could also do a composites technician advanced apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
You could start as a lab assistant or trainee technician in a testing facility and complete training while you work to qualify.
Employers will expect you to have 4 or 5 GCSEs, including maths, English and a science, preferably physics or chemistry. Some may want you to have A levels, or equivalent qualifications like applied science.
You can find out more about careers in materials engineering from the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of engineering science and technology
- maths knowledge
- the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
- knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
- knowledge of physics
- analytical thinking skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- testing materials’ strength and flexibility under different conditions
- 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
- assessing the risks posed by hazardous materials
- analysing test results and writing reports
You could work in a laboratory.
You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.
Career path and progression
You could become a senior technician and register with the Engineering Council to get EngTech status. With further training, you could qualify as a materials engineer.
You could also move into purchasing, sales and management.