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Career and Education Opportunities for Materials Engineers in Grand Rapids, Michigan

If you want to be a materials engineer, the Grand Rapids, Michigan area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 1,070 people are currently employed as materials engineers in Michigan. By 2016, this is expected to grow 8% to about 1,160 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for materials engineers, which sees this job pool growing by about 9.3% over the next eight years. Materials engineers generally evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications.

Materials engineers earn about $38 per hour or $80,530 yearly on average in Michigan and about $39 per hour or $81,820 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Engineering, people working as materials engineers in Michigan earn more. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Engineering nationally. Jobs in this field include: foundry process engineer, research assistant, and materials development engineer.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Grand Rapids where you can study to be a materials engineer, among nineteen schools of higher education total in the Grand Rapids area. Given that the most common education level for materials engineers is a Bachelor's degree, it will take about four years to learn 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 Grand Rapids include:

  • 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 Engineering Technician. Apply engineering theory and principles to problems of industrial layout or manufacturing production, usually under the direction of engineering staff. May study and record time, motion, and speed involved in performance of production, maintenance, and other worker operations for such purposes as establishing standard production rates or improving efficiency.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Materials Engineer Training

Muskegon Community College - Muskegon, MI

Muskegon Community College, 221 S Quarterline Rd, Muskegon, MI 49442-1432. Muskegon Community College is a small college located in Muskegon, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,747 students. Muskegon Community College has an associate's degree program in Materials Engineering which graduated one student in 2008.

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan photo by Grguy2011

Grand Rapids is located in Kent County, Michigan. It has a population of over 193,396, which has shrunk by 2.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Rapids, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Rapids cost $98,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were built in Grand Rapids, down from ninety-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Grand Rapids are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.8% of Grand Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is 15.4%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Grand Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Church of Jesus Christ, Immanuel Church and Trinity Church are among the churches located in Grand Rapids. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.

Grand Rapids is home to the Kent Country Club and the Walker Juvenile Court as well as Comstock Riverside Park and Richmond Park. Visitors to Grand Rapids can choose from Hampton Inn Grand Rapids, Hampton Inn Grand Rapids/North- Mi and Hampton Inn Fax for temporary stays in the area.