Materials Technician

Job Description:

Materials technicians test how materials behave under different conditions to help develop new products and improve existing ones.

Job Category:
Engineering & Construction

What you will do:

As a materials technician, you may:

  • test the strength and flexibility of materials under different conditions
  • assess the cost, reliability, safety and environmental impact of materials
  • research new ways to use materials in product development
  • assess the risks posed by hazardous materials
  • analyse test results and write reports


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • knowledge of physics
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your own initiative (drive)
  • adaptable to the challenges of the job
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

School Subjects

While specific GCSE subjects may not be universally mandated for this career, certain subjects can provide a strong foundation and enhance your qualifications for pursuing a career in materials technology or materials science. Here are some subjects that could be beneficial:

  1. Science (Physics and Chemistry): A solid understanding of physics and chemistry is essential for comprehending the properties, behaviours, and interactions of different materials. These subjects provide the foundational knowledge for materials science and engineering.
  2. Mathematics: Mathematics is crucial for performing calculations, data analysis, and interpreting scientific data related to materials testing and research.
  3. Design and Technology/Engineering: Studying design and technology or engineering-related subjects can provide insight into the practical applications of materials in various industries. This can be particularly relevant if you’re interested in the engineering aspects of materials.
  4. English: Strong communication skills, including reading, writing, and interpreting technical documents, are important for materials technicians, especially when documenting test results and communicating findings.
  5. IT/Computing: Basic computer skills are increasingly important in scientific and technical fields. Being familiar with software used for data analysis, simulations, and research can be beneficial.
  6. Additional Science or Technology Subjects: Depending on the specific focus of your career aspirations, subjects like biology, electronics, or environmental science might also be useful, as they can be relevant to certain materials applications.

Keep in mind that while GCSE subjects provide a foundation, pursuing a career as a Materials Technician often involves further education and specialized training. Many Materials Technicians go on to pursue higher-level qualifications, such as vocational courses, diplomas, or degrees in materials science, engineering, or related fields.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You could do a college course to learn some of the skills you’ll need for this job. UK Courses include:

  • Level 3 Certificate in Laboratory Technical Skills
  • Level 3 Diploma in Engineering
  • Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science
  • T Level in Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control

To become a materials technician, you could do a Non-destructive Testing Level 2 Intermediate or Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship.

You could also do a Composites Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship.

You could start as a lab assistant or trainee technician in a testing facility and train while you work to qualify.

Additional Advice

To gain more specific guidance, it’s recommended to research the educational pathways and training opportunities available in materials technology in your country. Additionally, consider reaching out to educational institutions, industry associations, and professionals in the materials science and engineering field for advice and insights tailored to your region.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll work typically 41-43 hours a week.

You could work in a laboratory, in a factory or in an office.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Career Path & Progression:

You could become a senior technician and register with the Engineering Council to get EngTech status.

With further qualifications you could qualify as a materials engineer.

You could also move into purchasing, sales or management.