Metallurgical Technicians


Employment Prospects


According to the Department of Labor, there are approximately 70,300 chemical technicians, a job that is similar to that of metallurgical technicians, working in the United States. Companies that employ metallurgical technicians can be found in a wide variety of industries, including metal producers, mining firms, and the research and development departments of automobile, chemical, computer, electronics, and aerospace manufacturers. Technicians also work in machinery and electrical equipment manufacturing, as well as the federal government and some research institutes.

Starting Out

Students who are enrolled in metallurgical and materials science technology programs can learn about job opportunities through their school's career services office. Frequently recruiters visit such schools to meet with graduating students and interview them for future positions. You also can apply to any company directly through its human resources office. You may consider using a private employment agency or the local state employment office, or you could check online and print classified ads to see where openings exist.

Advancement Prospects

After some years of on-the-job experience, metallurgical technicians who have developed their technical skills usually move on to more advanced positions. Research or quality control technicians, for example, may be assigned to more complex equipment, or they may supervise other technicians.

Metallurgical laboratory supervisors interpret results from metallographic investigations, recommend production procedures and heat-treat cycles, and direct other laboratory functions.

Foundry melters calculate charges to foundry furnaces to make alloys that meet specifications, sample heats for chemical content, and direct furnace operating crews.

Metallurgical troubleshooters perform a variety of tests on parts that have failed in service, to determine liability and ways to improve manufacturing techniques.

Nondestructive inspection specialists determine the presence of internal or external flaws or discontinuities in all types of metals by using X-ray, ultrasonic, electromagnetic, and other types of inspection equipment.

Production supervisors oversee and coordinate various aspects of the manufacture of the finished product. They must be familiar with all aspects of metal production and with the equipment involved.

Technical sales representatives work with engineers and purchasing agents to determine specifications of metals and alloys for particular applications.

Research assistants are part of scientific teams that investigate new metallurgical products. They devise new procedures and equipment under the direction of a research manager.

With advanced education metallurgical technicians can become metallurgical engineers, metallurgists, or materials scientists.

Tips for Entry

To learn more about the field, read:

  • Iron & Steel Technology (
  • Journal of Materials Engineering & Performance (
  • Minerals & Metallurgical Processing (
  • Manufacturing Engineering (

Use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to keep up with industry developments and learn about job openings.

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