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Career and Education Opportunities for Materials Engineers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for materials engineers in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area. There are currently 250 working materials engineers in Iowa; this should grow 8% to 270 working materials engineers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for materials engineers are expected to grow by about 9.3%. In general, materials engineers evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications.

The income of a materials engineer is about $33 hourly or $69,900 per year on average in Iowa. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $39 per hour or $81,820 per year on average. Earnings for materials engineers are better than earnings in the general category of Engineering in Iowa and not quite as good as general Engineering category earnings nationally. People working as materials engineers can fill a number of jobs, such as: ceramics test engineer, metallurgist, and research assistant.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Cedar Rapids area, including one within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can get a degree to start your career as a materials engineer. The most common level of education for materials engineers is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying to be a materials engineer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Materials Engineer

Materials Engineer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, materials engineers evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. They also develop new uses for known materials.

Materials engineers monitor material performance and evaluate material deterioration. They also analyze product failure data and laboratory test results to establish causes of problems and design solutions. Equally important, materials engineers have to supervise the work of technologists as well as other engineers and scientists. They are often called upon to formulate and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and corporate executives as needed. Finally, materials engineers evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to process or product layout objectives.

Every day, materials engineers are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they think through problems and come up with general rules.

It is important for materials engineers to conduct or supervise tests on raw materials or finished products to insure their quality. They are often called upon to perform managerial functions, such as preparing proposals and budgets, analyzing labor costs, and writing reports. They also layout and direct the testing or control of processing procedures. They are sometimes expected to solve problems in variety of engineering fields, such as mechanical and aerospace. Somewhat less frequently, materials engineers are also expected to supervise production and testing processes in industrial settings, such as metal refining facilities, smelting or foundry operations, or nonmetallic materials production operations.

Materials engineers sometimes are asked to write for technical magazines and trade association publications. They also have to be able to supervise production and testing processes in industrial settings, such as metal refining facilities, smelting or foundry operations, or nonmetallic materials production operations and modify properties of metal alloys, using thermal and mechanical treatments. And finally, they sometimes have to layout and direct the testing or control of processing procedures.

Like many other jobs, materials engineers must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Cedar Rapids include:

  • Biomedical Engineer. Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.
  • Chemical Engineer. Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.
  • Civil Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures, and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, water and sewage systems, and waste disposal units. Includes architectural, structural, and geo-technical engineers.
  • Computer Engineer. Research, design, and test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, or scientific use. May supervise the manufacturing and installation of computer or computer-related equipment and components.
  • Electrical Engineer. Design, develop, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use.
  • Electronics Engineer. Research, design, and test electronic components and systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use utilizing knowledge of electronic theory and materials properties. Design electronic circuits and components for use in fields such as telecommunications, aerospace guidance and propulsion control, acoustics, or instruments and controls.
  • Equipment Engineering Technician. Apply electrical theory and related knowledge to test and modify developmental or operational electrical machinery and electrical control equipment and circuitry in industrial or commercial plants and laboratories. Usually work under direction of engineering staff.
  • Industrial Engineer. Design, develop, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes including human work factors, quality control, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination.
  • Manufacturing Engineer. Apply knowledge of materials and engineering theory and methods to design, integrate, and improve manufacturing systems or related processes. May work with commercial or industrial designers to refine product designs to increase producibility and decrease costs.
  • Mechanical Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. Oversee installation, operation, and repair of such equipment as centralized heat, gas, and steam systems.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Materials Engineer Training

University of Iowa - Iowa City, IA

University of Iowa, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242-1316. University of Iowa is a large university located in Iowa City, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 29,475 students and an admission rate of 82%. University of Iowa has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Materials Engineering.

CERTIFICATIONS

Planning and Scheduling Professional: The PSP certification is to recognize specialists who meet a demanding set of planning and scheduling criteria by a rigorous examination, experience, education and ethical qualificaion.

For more information, see the AACE International (Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering through total cost management) website.

API 571 Supplemental Inspection Certification : API 571 Supplemental Inspection Certification program tests Inspectors' knowledge and expertise in the field of Corrosion and Materials.

For more information, see the American Petroleum Institute website.

Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing Professional - Technologist: ASME GDTP Certification provides the means to recognize proficiency in the understanding and application of the geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) principles expressed in the ASME Y14.

For more information, see the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International website.

Protective Coatings Specialist: This certification is geared toward individuals who are experienced, knowledgeable and capable of performing work at an advanced level in both the theory and practice of corrosion prevention and control, and who are capable of performing work at an advanced level in the protective coatings field.

For more information, see the NACE International website.

Highway Materials: This certification program is for highway engineering technicians involved in laboratory and field testing of highway materials such as aggregates, asphalts, concrete, soils, paints, and metals.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

LICENSES

Engineer, Licensed

Licensing agency: Iowa Engineering & Land Surveying Examining Board
Address: Professional Licensing & Regulation Division, Iowa Department of Commerce Ankeny, IA 50021-3941

Phone: (515) 281-7360
Website: Iowa Engineering & Land Surveying Examining Board Professional Licensing & Regulation Division Iowa Department of Commerce

LOCATION INFORMATION: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa photo by Davumaya

Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa. It has a population of over 128,056, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cedar Rapids, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cedar Rapids are valued at $103,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-nine new homes were built in Cedar Rapids, up from two hundred ninety-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cedar Rapids are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 28.4% of Cedar Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is 6.0%, which is less than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Cedar Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Seventh Day Church of God, Sevanth-Day Adventist Church and Hope Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Cedar Rapids. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cedar Rapids is home to the Brucemore and the Admissions Office as well as Tomahawk Park and Noelridge Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mays Shopping Center, Lindale Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Cedar Rapids can choose from Howard Johnson, Marriott Cedar Rapids and Clarion Hotel & Convention Center for temporary stays in the area.