Is a Career in Materials Engineering Really Worth It? (2022)

Is a Career in Materials Engineering Really Worth It is it going to be worth going 40,000 in debt and spending four years grinding studying like 10 hours a day that’s what we’re going to be talking about today and let’s jump right into it first of all,

What Is Materials Engineering?

Well materials engineering is all about developing creating and processing a range of different materials that can be used to create products this could be anything from aircraft drones biomedical devices stuff that you put into computer chips super conductors there’s all kinds of different materials out there that can be used to meet different needs when it comes to creating new devices.

Now in the united states every year around 1522 people graduate with a materials engineering degree however there are several degrees that are very similar¬†you’ve got materials engineering materials science and then materials science and engineering and they are very similar in fact a lot of the time they’re going to be competing for the exact same jobs.

However in ces the national center of educational statistics basically just groups them all together depending on what program you go to there will be some subtle differences some are going to be more on the theoretical side of things the scientific side whereas some are more practical.

Now in these posts i like to break them down into four different sections to figure out whether they’re going to be worth the 40 000 of student loan debt that you’ll likely have to take out salary satisfaction demand and then x factors.


The first one we’re going to go over is salary or earning potential now according to pay scale with this degree you would expect to make around 69,000 a year starting out and 117,000 in mid-career pay.

You can compare that to the highest paying degree which is petroleum engineering or a very low paying one and you’ll see that it’s on the higher paying side now let’s say you get this degree and you decide to become a materials engineer you would expect to make around ninety three thousand dollars a year,

And that’s around forty four dollars per hour let’s say you decide to become a materials scientist according to bls you’d make seventy eight thousand a year or thirty seven dollars an hour a few other occupations you might look into with this degree

That are somewhat common for people to go into if they major in this would be aerospace engineer architectural engineering manager biomedical engineer chemical engineer or chemist and material scientist.

And as you can see all of them pay relatively well now i always recommend trying to make at least 70 to 80,000 a year because studies have shown that that’s where your happiness maxes out and by that i mean your happiness does in fact increase the more money you make up to a certain point and that is around 70 to 80,000 a year of course there’s a bunch of other factors for instance if you live a very expensive city it’s going to be more than that.

Now when you look at how much people who graduate with an engineering degree make over an entire lifetime it is the best by far they make around 3.5 million dollars over a lifetime versus 2.4 for all other degrees that go into all other careers so when it comes to salary or earning potential engineering degrees are fantastic you got to give them props this one is going to get a 9 out of 10 for salary.


Next we’re going to be talking about satisfaction and i like to break this one down into two different areas meaning and then job satisfaction meaning is how much do you think your career positively impacts the world.

Whereas job satisfaction is just how much do you enjoy doing your job on a day-to-day basis so for instance if your job was playing post games it might have very high job satisfaction but very low meaning now with this degree pay scale has it at a 48 meaning score,

And you can compare that to a really high one like radiation therapy or low one like plastics engineering technology and you’ll see that it is on the lower side i guess this kind of makes sense you’re basically working with plastic inanimate objects that sort of thing you’re not necessarily helping other people at least directly all that much now when you look at the exact career of materials engineer,

It’s a little bit higher at 50 percent meaning score but still that’s average or below average at best however the job satisfaction is around 65 percent and if you compare that to a higher one and a lower one you see that it’s average or maybe slightly above average.

Now another thing i think that’s very important to talk about is how much people regret getting their college degrees we hear about this all the time how people will get a degree they think it’s going to be one way,

And then it ends up being completely different for instance a lot of the time people will get a degree thinking they can get a job after just four years after they get their bachelor’s and then after they graduate they figure out that they’re not going to be able to get a job until they get a master’s,

Or a doctor engineering though is the third least regretted type of college degree only around 15 percent of people regret it and the main reason is because the best jobs require advanced degrees that’s talking about all engineering degrees it doesn’t really break it down further i wish there was better data on that maybe there will be in the future,

But you know materials might not be as popular as some of the other ones keep in mind here that this is extremely subjective for one person it might be the most fascinating thing in the world for another person it might make them fall asleep within a few minutes it also depends a lot on your personality,

And the specific job situation that you have for instance your co-workers the company you work for the industry you work in etc but with that being said this one does score relatively low when it comes to satisfaction for the average person i’m going to give it a 7 out of 10.


Next we’re going to be talking about demand and this might be the most important factor out of all of them and the reason for that is because a lot of other things tend to come from demand so for instance if you have a skill that a lot of business owners and hiring managers want,

And there’s not a lot of people out there that have that skill they’re probably going to pay you more they’re going to treat you better they’re going to give you lots of opportunity so for the specific careerof materials engineer there’s 27 500 jobs available here in the u.s.

Right now it’s growing at two percent which is slower than average meaning over the next 10 years there’s only going to be 200 new jobs that pop up if you look at material scientists there’s 93 000 jobs available and it’s growing at 5 which is a little faster than average now luckily when it comes to unemployment rates stem degrees are great they usually have very low unemployment,

And engineering degrees are even better now of course everything is really weird right now in the world so who knows what the unemployment rates are but before this whole situation happened stem degrees were pretty good now one thing i like to do is to search the name of the degree on a site like

Or and when you search materials engineering degree you’ll see that 10 400 job listings have that as a keyword in the job description compare that to a degree that’s in high demand like computer science,

 is material science a good career

Or one that doesn’t have much demand at all like anthropology and you’ll see that it’s definitely on the higher side i know that 10 000 might not seem like very much but computer science is an outlier and 10,000 is probably in the top 10 or 20 percent.

Now when top companies are surveyed and asked what types of majors they’re hiring from people who just graduated from college engineering is almost always either number one or number two along with business,

And when you break that down even further you’ll see that materials engineering is kind of in the middle so it’s not one that’s getting hired a lot and it’s also not one that is getting completely ignored,

Now one thing that a more common degree like mechanical engineering for instance has that’s a huge advantage is there are so many of them out there that chances are hiring managers or business owners are very familiar with the type of person that they might get if they hire a mechanical engineer whereas there is a lot of uncertainty if they hire someone from a degree,

That’s more rare it’s almost like having mental real estate inside a business owner and hiring managers brainsso this gives mechanical engineers a huge advantage just because of the fact that their degree is so flexible so overall for this one i’m going to go ahead and give it a 7.5 out of 10.


Next we’re going to be talking about x-factors and this is anything that’s important that i haven’t gone over already so i mentioned before that engineering degrees over a lifetime will make around 3.5 million versus 2.4 million for all other types of degrees.

Now of course this is like the last 40 years or so so maybe 40 years from now this could be completely different but overall that is a really good sign and what’s even better about engineering degrees is it doesn’t matter what career path you end up going down it’s usually going to pay a lot better,

So for instance engineers that become artists earn three million dollars over a lifetime versus the average degree that becomes an artist only earning around 2.3 engineers that go into community or legal services will earn 3.2 million versus the average that only earns 1.8,

And you see this pretty much consistently across the board engineers no matter what career path they go into are earning well above average now there could be many different factors here it could be that people who do engineering tend to be really smart and,

So they would have been successful anyways but if you look at degrees like mathematics or physics they’re good they have some of that going for them but definitely not as good as the average for engineering degrees so i think it also has something to do with the fact that engineering focuses on practical problem solving,

And it teaches you skills that are going to help you no matter what career path or what life path in general you end up going down now when you look at the zip recruiter skills index materials engineering isn’t on there however one that’s very similar would be chemical engineering,

And that scores 59 out of a hundred you can compare that to a really good one like software engineering or one that’s not so good like industrial sewing and you’ll see that it is on the higher side on top of that materials engineering has avery tiny chance of ever being automated only about,

Two percent according to willrobots i also think that engineering is relatively safe when it comes to outsourcing just because of the fact that you kind of have to be there in person in order to do a lot of this engineering is sort of like the middle man so to speak between technicians and,

Scientists and so they basically have to be able to do both jobs on some level and in order to be a technician you have to be there touching things you know figuring out what’s going wrong and diagnosing and it would be very difficult to do something like that over zoom,

Now one thing that’s great about engineering degrees is how flexible they are and this shows when you look at the degrees that create the most millionaires and billionaires engineering is number one and the salary is great don’t get me wrong but the main reason for that is because,

It makes such a good segue into becoming an entrepreneur like i mentioned before engineering is basically just practical problem solving and that’s basically what entrepreneurship is as well now one thing i always like to tell people here and this could be a positive or a negative depending on you know what frame you’re coming from but,

Engineering is extremely tough there’s a very high dropout rate for a lot of different engineering degrees and there’s a reason for that it’s because it’s hard you’re going to be studying a lot you’re going to see your business major friends just partying it up all the time and,

Then you’re just studying like crazy and uh you know that can be tough so keep that in mind it could be a good thing just because there’s going to be a higher barrier to entry or it could be a bad thing you know it really depends on the situation but overall when it comes to x factors i’m going to give this one a score of 8 out of 10.

So when you add everything up and then divide it by 4 you’re going to see that it is a 7.875 that is pretty good it can definitely work for the right person depending on what career you’re going for it might be a better idea for you to just play it safe and get something like a mechanical engineering degree or,

A chemical engineering degree and the reason for that is because many of these careers can be done by mechanical or chemical engineers whereas this isn’t as much of a flexible degree and it kind of goes back to that thing that i mentioned before where it’s just like hiring managers and,

Business owners are very used to mechanical engineers and so they sort of just have real estate in their heads it’s not that mechanical engineers are better than materials engineers it’s just that people are more used to seeing them however that does make mechanical a more flexible degree and,

So if you’re somebody who is a little bit worried and you’re not 100 sure what career path you want to go down you might want to just play it safe and go for one of those however if you’ve really done your research you’ve done your due diligence you’ve called people you’ve talked to them you know what career you’re going for and,

You’re 100 sure about it then this can be a great one for you now keep in mind these scores are all somewhat subjective for one person it could be a one out of ten for another person it could be a 10 out of 10. so take it with a grain of salt always do your own research.

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