- Work with materials, testing and studying their properties for use in industry
- You'll need excellent practical, analytical and problem solving skills
- With further training and study progress to become a senior technician or a materials engineer
As a materials technician, you'll be in a hands-on role testing new materials, updating them to find new products and update existing ones.
- Testing a material's strength and flexibility under different conditions
- Testing materials' characteristics
- 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
You could work in a laboratory, and you may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.
For this role, you'll need knowledge of maths, physics, engineering science and technology; the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning; knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals; analytical thinking skills; thoroughness and attention to detail; and manufacturing knowledge.
You can start out 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 science (preferably physics or chemistry). Some may want you to have A levels, or equivalent qualifications like applied science.
You could do a college course to learn skills needed for this role, including a Level 3 Certificate in Laboratory Technical Skills, Level 3 Diploma in Engineering, Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science, or A level Science. You can also do a T level in Design, Surveying and Planning.
You could get into this job through a non-destructive tester intermediate or advanced apprenticeship, or a composites technician advanced apprenticeship.
With experience, you could become a senior technician and register with the Engineering Council to gain EngTech status. With further training, you could qualify as a materials engineer. You could also move into purchasing, sales and management.