Metallurgical Technicians


Education and Training Requirements

High School

While in high school, prospective metallurgical technicians should take at least two years of mathematics and two of science, including a physical science, preferably chemistry. Physics is also helpful. Although entrance requirements for technical training programs vary, four years of English to develop language and communication skills is recommended. Shop courses of any kind are also helpful, and mechanical drawing classes demonstrate how to read blueprints and drawings.

Postsecondary Training

Although it is possible to become a metallurgical technician with a high school diploma, completion of a two-year metallurgical or materials science technology program is strongly recommended. Two-year programs are available through community colleges and technical institutes. You can expect to take courses in general and analytical chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer sciences, communication skills or English, and social science.

A good program will also include courses in physical metallurgy and metallography (the study of the internal structure of metals and alloys); foundry and metal casting; nondestructive testing; strength-of-materials and physical testing; and process metallurgy, with sufficient laboratory work in each area so that students develop skill in equipment use. Additional courses in industrial instrumentation, analytical spectroscopy, mechanical drawing, and machine tools can be helpful, depending on the area of specialty.

Some colleges and universities also offer four-year programs. Graduates of a four-year program are referred to as metallurgical technologists. If you are interested in a four-year degree, consider entering a metallurgical engineering program even if you wish to become a metallurgical technician or technologist, since an engineering degree offers greater career opportunities.


ASM International offers a certificate of achievement in metallography program at three levels: Introduction to Metallography (Metallurgy Fundamentals and Specimen Preparation), Intermediate Metallography (Microstructural Interpretation), and Advanced Metallography (Analytical Techniques). Contact the organization for more information. 

Other Education or Training

Metallurgical technicians must pursue continuing education (CE) throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date. The American Foundry Society; ASM International; Association for Iron & Steel Technology; SME; Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration; and The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society provide CE classes, webinars, workshops, and seminars. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for metallurgical technicians.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

A solid background in mathematics and science will be helpful for aspiring metallurgical technicians.

Metallurgical technicians should have an interest in science and average or better mathematical ability. You must be willing to participate in a wide variety of laboratory work, from operating heavy melting furnaces to handling extremely sensitive instruments, and you should be able to learn the correct techniques for handling and caring for expensive equipment. Also, you must be able to communicate well, both orally and in writing, gather and interpret data, keep meticulous records, and present facts graphically. A wide variety of personality types are needed in this field because of the diversity of opportunities, which ranges from direct contact with people, as in supervision or sales, to independent laboratory work.