Approximately 27,700 materials engineers are employed in the United States. Opportunities for metallurgical engineers are found in a wide variety of settings, including metal producing and processing companies, research institutes, and schools and universities. Engineers also work in aircraft manufacturing, machinery and electrical equipment manufacturing, the federal government, and for engineering consulting firms.
Most metallurgical engineers find their first job through their colleges' career services office. Technical recruiters visit universities and colleges annually to interview graduating students and possibly offer them jobs. Metallurgical engineers can also find work by directly applying to companies, through job listings at state and private employment services, or in classified advertisements in newspapers and trade publications.
As in most occupations, the most experienced and educated workers stand the best chance for advancement. Metallurgical engineers with several years of technical experience are often eligible for supervisory positions; with further experience, engineers can apply for any number of managerial and administrative positions. Some may become college professors.
Engineers should keep current on technological advances in metallurgy throughout their careers. Many metallurgical engineers join professional associations, such as The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration. These associations hold annual conferences and meetings, in addition to other activities, which keep members up to date on recent developments and events within the industry. Special recognition—awards, scholarships, grants, and fellowships—are often given to those who demonstrate outstanding achievement in the field. For example, the Research to Industrial Practice Award is presented by The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society to individuals who excel in translating their research work into commercial production and practical use.
Participate in the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration's mentor program (https://www.smenet.org/students/mentor-program) to develop your professional skills and make industry contacts.
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