Materials Scientists

General Information


Research and study the structures and chemical properties of various natural and synthetic or composite materials, including metals, alloys, rubber, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, and glass. Determine ways to strengthen or combine materials or develop new materials with new or specific properties for use in a variety of products and applications. Includes glass scientists, ceramic scientists, metallurgical scientists, and polymer scientists.

Workplace at a Glance

What you can expect to experience while on the job

  • Responsibility
  • Exposure to job hazards
  • Physical activity
  • Decision making
  • Repetitiveness
  • Level of competition
  • Time pressure

Industry areas

  • Scientific Research and Development Services
  • Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises

Job Outlook

Overall employment of chemists and materials scientists is projected to grow 4 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment of chemists is projected to grow 4 percent. In pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, chemists will be needed to develop nanotechnology for medicinal uses. And in chemical manufacturing, employers will call upon chemists’ knowledge of green chemistry to improve environmental safety in the workplace and community. Employment of materials scientists is projected to grow 3 percent. Materials scientists will be needed to develop cheaper, safer, and better quality materials for a variety of purposes, such as electronics, energy, and transportation. Environmental research will offer new opportunities for chemists and materials scientists. For example, chemical manufacturing industries will continue to develop technologies and processes that reduce pollution. Materials scientists may be tasked with finding ways to remanufacture recycled materials, especially plastics. Chemists also will continue to be needed to monitor pollution levels at manufacturing facilities and to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal environmental regulations.

Read More
No Information for this section


Average Salary



State-by-state Salary

Gray states indicate no data available

No Information for this section


Most Common Education Levels

People in this career achieve this level of education.

  • Bachelor's degree 35%
  • Doctoral degree 33%
  • Master's degree 18%
  • Post-doctoral training 8%
  • Some college 2%
  • Associate's degree 2%
  • High school 0%
  • Post baccalaureate 0%
  • Less than high school 0%
  • Post-master's certificate 0%
  • First professional degree 0%
  • Post-secondary certificate 0%

Related College Majors

Select major to see colleges that offer it


  • Engineering and Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • English Language

Skills at a Glance

Skills helpful in this career

  • Verbal skills
  • Critical thinking & problem solving
  • Equipment operation & maintenance
  • Math & science skills
  • Technology design & control
  • Leadership
No Information for this section