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NOC Code: NOC Code: 2142 Occupation: Metallurgical and Materials Engineers
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Metallurgical and materials engineers conduct studies of the properties and characteristics of metals and other non-metallic materials and plan, design and develop machinery and processes to concentrate, extract, refine and process metals, alloys and other materials such as ceramics, semiconductors and composite materials. Metallurgical and materials engineers are employed in consulting engineering firms, mining, metal processing and manufacturing companies, and in government, research and educational institutions. Metallurgical and materials engineers conduct studies of the properties and characteristics of metals and other non-metallic materials and plan, design and develop machinery and processes to concentrate, extract, refine and process metals, alloys and other materials such as ceramics, semiconductors and composite materials. Metallurgical and materials engineers are employed in consulting engineering firms, mining, metal processing and manufacturing companies, and in government, research and educational institutions.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4 5
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3 4
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3 4
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3 4
Money Math Money Math 1 2
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3 4
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3 4 5
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3 4 5
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3 4
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3 4
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3 4
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3 4

  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.

Reading Text
  • Read handwritten notes from co-workers and comments written on test, production reporting and analysis forms. (1)
  • Read handling and storage instructions on labels of workplace materials such as solvents and cleaners. (1)
  • Read trade publications such as the American Iron and Steel Institute Newsletter, Professional Engineering, Plant Engineering and Maintenance, Canadian Process Equipment and Control, Canadian Consulting Engineer, Canadian Plastics, Plastics in Canada and Laboratory Product. Read these publications to stay abreast of industry events and learn about new equipment, processes and materials. (2)
  • Read email from co-workers and clients scheduling and confirming meeting arrangements, responding to questions or enquiring about the status and content of projects. (2)
  • Read instruction manuals for testing, processing and information technology equipment. For example, refer to software user manuals to review specific functions or steps needed to simulate engineering processes or to troubleshoot faulty laboratory and materials testing equipment. Read manuals and guidelines from regulatory bodies such as the Canadian Standards Association and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to ensure that new products and processes conform to standards. (3)
  • Read reports from technicians and technologists which describe tests on materials, machinery and processes for discussions. For example, a metallurgical engineer may read a report on the strength testing of high phosphorus brass. The engineer reviews the complex analyses contained in the report to determine the need for adjustments to materials, machinery or processes and to identify factors requiring further investigation and testing. (4)
  • Read 'requests for proposals' for projects which involve the extraction, concentration, refining, processing, testing, moulding, shaping, forming, characterization or treatment of metals and non-metallic materials. Read each request for proposals to identify the technical requirements and determine whether the organization has the necessary skills and resources to undertake the projects. (4)
  • Read a wide range of academic journals such as Materials Performance, Practical Failure Analysis, Macromolecules, Polymer Journal and Composite Science and Technology. Select and read relevant articles to learn about chemical and physical analytical studies, failure analyses and other experiments on materials and find solutions to particular problems such as the corrosion of metal parts. Refer to these articles when creating test plans, developing theories or searching supportive evidence for recommendations. (4)
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  • Write email to co-workers, colleagues, suppliers and clients to remind them of project due dates, ask for technical information and respond to enquiries. (1)
  • Write brief comments on forms to record observations of engineering processes. (1)
  • Write short papers for co-workers upon return from training courses or conferences. Summarize the courses or conferences and identify topics which are relevant to the organization or important for current projects. (2)
  • Prepare comprehensive procedures for new testing, processing and manufacturing processes. For example, write melting, refining, casting or degassing procedures that establish the rules and steps technicians have to follow when carrying out tasks. Be explicit and precise to reduce ambiguity and the possibility of misinterpretation. (3)
  • Draft proposals or analyses recommending repair or replacement of processing or testing equipment and submit them to managers or clients for approval. In these studies, include descriptions of various options; analyses of equipment, service and maintenance costs for each option; health and safety assessments; and justifications of options recommended. For example, a metallurgical engineer may prepare a proposal recommending the replacement of a heat treatment furnace worth twenty million dollars. (4)
  • Write lengthy proposals for projects related to your areas of expertise. Address key client needs and convey complex concepts in an effective manner. It is usually necessary to gather and select technical descriptions from multiple sources and rewrite them for non-technical audiences. In some instances, however, content is written for the sole purpose of the proposals. For example, an engineer may prepare a proposal for research on a flow constriction problem. (4)
  • Write detailed test reports which describe test objectives and procedures, discuss results and offer conclusions and recommendations. Write primarily for technical experts in research and operational teams, but also edit and rewrite these reports so that they can be easily understood by managers and clients. (4)
  • Write articles for scientific journals, conference proceedings or research publications. Summarize research protocols, difficulties encountered in conducting experiments, scientific principles used to analyse data collected, results obtained and their significance. For example, an engineer may report on the shaping of metallic powders or on the thermal modelling of direct chill castings for magnesium billets. (5)
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Document Use
  • Scan container labels to verify ingredients, concentrations, volumes, weights and to observe hazard icons. (1)
  • Read lists of safety and quality standards to be met by materials and products. (1)
  • Read data from test result forms completed by co-workers. For example, an engineer may read the results of a stress strain test to find the ultimate tensile stress point for a material under stress. (1)
  • Refer to schedules and resource allocation matrices to find information about phases, activities, resources, milestones and deadlines of their projects. (2)
  • Scan schematics to understand the various processes used in the production of materials and components. For example, refer to the schematic drawings of chemical extraction processes to understand process stages and identify control points. (3)
  • Analyze and take information from a variety of images and scans. For example, materials engineers may use optical, scanning electron, transmission electron and atomic force microscopes to investigate the mechanical and microstructural characteristics of polymer-based composites and nanocomposites. (3)
  • Analyse graphs of test results to identify anomalies in data and potential correlations between variables. These analyses may lead to further refinements of methodological approaches for subsequent tests. For example, an engineer may analyse graphs showing the abundance of various chemical elements in corrosion deposits when investigating the causes of sucker rod pump failures during oil well production. (3)
  • Complete forms to record processes. For example, to fill in melting process forms, collect and enter details such as the pouring temperature, metal temperature, initial chemical composition, timings of chemical additions, mould pouring and material samplings. (3)
  • Review construction drawings when setting up new pieces of testing or processing equipment. Take measurements from structural and mechanical system drawings to check that new and existing equipment can be set up efficiently. (4)
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Computer Use
  • Perform keyword searches to get technical information about materials, laboratory components or processing equipment from websites. (2)
  • Create and maintain distribution lists, receive correspondence and send email and attachments to project team members. (3)
  • Create lengthy proposals and test reports using word processing programs such as Word. Supplement text with imported graphs, photographs and spreadsheet tables. Use formatting features such as page numbering, heading levels, indices, footnotes and columns. (3)
  • Create databases using programs such as Access to manage data for document and time tracking systems and to store and retrieve testing, production or quality control data. (3)
  • Use programs such as Excel to create scheduling and budgeting spreadsheets and monitor the progress of project activities and tasks. Use spreadsheets to analyse testing data and perform calculations. (3)
  • Use computer and software applications. For example, use modelling software to simulate engineering processes, photo editing software to develop and enlarge photos taken with digital cameras, microscope software to view and analyse pictures and images on microscopes. Use project management software to schedule activities and organize information related to human resources, equipment-use and operational costs. (3)
  • Use graphics software. For example, create slide shows using presentation software such as PowerPoint. In order to develop effective presentations for management or clients and to illustrate project progress, import graphs, scanned images, process drawings, word processing files and spreadsheet tables. (4)
  • Use statistical analysis software. For example, use software like Statistical Process Control, Statistica, KaleidaGraph or SigmaPlot to create statistical designs for experiments, monitor variables in testing procedures, plot linear functions and calculate means, medians, standard deviations and confidence intervals. (4)
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Oral Communication
  • Talk to suppliers about technical specifications, price quotes, service options and delivery times for new materials, equipment and supplies. (1)
  • Interact with employees such as machine operators, toolmakers, technologists, technicians and other engineers and scientists to coordinate testing, production control and development of machinery. Assign new tasks, review completed tasks and enquire about the status of ongoing work. (2)
  • Lead problem solving sessions with small and large groups of employees. For example, a metallurgical engineer may facilitate a group session to find ways of improving the operation of older machinery. The engineer's role is to monitor and support the group and, using a variety of exercises and settings, analyze problems and develop solutions. At the end of each analytical or problem solving session, the engineer facilitates the synthesis of information and guides the group in the development of a series of recommendations which can be presented to clients, plant managers and co-workers. The engineer's team building and management skills may be evaluated on the success of these meetings. (3)
  • Meet engineering managers or clients to discuss project proposals, priorities, schedules and progress, and obtain guidance, recommendations or approvals. Meet to negotiate project deadlines and budgets and present solutions to problems with designs, processes or materials. (3)
  • Participate in meetings with co-workers to discuss equipment, procedures, test results, potential markets for new materials and products and a range of other topics. At these meetings, present information about testing techniques you have designed, machinery or processes you have developed or papers you have written. Discuss applications of new materials for related fields such as mechanical and electrical engineering. (3)
  • Participate in industry-wide meetings with colleagues from manufacturing companies, research institutes, educational institutions, consulting firms, professional associations and government departments. Discuss matters of common interest such as materials research, process and equipment design, and manufacturing of new materials. (3)
  • Testify as expert witnesses in courts to establish the liability of companies with respect to failures. Present test findings and opinions about how and why parts or components have failed through corrosion, fatigue, material defect or overload. Metallurgical engineers may have to answer challenging, complex and unpredictable questions from members of the court. They may have to choose their words carefully because many of those attending court hearings are unfamiliar with the technical concepts at issue. (4)
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Money Math
  • Calculate and verify travel claim amounts. Calculate reimbursements for use of personal vehicles at per kilometre rates, and add amounts for accommodation, meals and other expenses. (2)
  • Prepare or approve invoices. Multiply the number of days worked by daily rates, add amounts for equipment and materials, calculate applicable taxes and total the values on the invoices. (2)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Determine quantities of materials to purchase. For example, an engineer may determine the amount of magnesium, copper, zinc, gold, pellets of polymer, additives or acid solutions needed to run a series of tests. (2)
  • Review various options for the repair or replacement of processing or testing equipment. For example, review quantitative information on various high-powered microscopes. Perform comparative analyses of technical features and of equipment, service and maintenance costs and determine which option offers best value. (3)
  • Prepare and monitor budgets for testing and production projects. Ensure that expenditures incurred for equipment, materials and labour remain within budgeted amounts. Budget line items must be frequently adjusted because of equipment breakdowns, loss of staff or other unexpected events. (4)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Time the duration of processing and testing operations using timers, stopwatches and digital readouts. For example, an engineer may time the process of formulating and injecting a compound to ensure that it can be accomplished within a certain time limit. (1)
  • Calculate amounts of materials required for mixtures, compounds, alloys and composites. For example, a metallurgical engineer may calculate the amounts of several metals needed for a specified amount of zinc alloy. (2)
  • Calculate physical dimensions and scale distances when designing industrial equipment and facilities. Measure scale distances, convert them to actual distances and calculate areas, volumes and perimeters. (3)
  • Use specialized instruments and methods to measure the values of one or more parameters during experiments. For example, measure the atomic absorption rate of the various elements in a compound solution with a spectroscope or X-ray fluorescents. Take precise measurements of particles using micro scales. (4)
  • Use advanced mathematical methods and algorithms to model the behaviour of materials under various conditions. For instance, use mathematical modelling to predict the evolution of temperature during the direct chill casting of magnesium billets. Use modelling to predict the failures of flow-sensing devices or hoisting electric load chains. (5)
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Data Analysis
  • Collect and analyse data on various variables such as time, weight, temperature, volume, density and pressure to identify averages, ranges, rates and trends. For example, collect and analyse data on brass alloys to determine the allowable range of phosphorus that reduces the alloy's melting point without decreasing its strength or affecting other mechanical properties. (3)
  • Choose a number of process variables and identify the relative effect of each variable through analyses of variance. For example, an engineer may determine that parts and components fail due to corrosion, fatigue, material defect or overload and identify the primary causes through an analysis of variance. (4)
  • Identify optimal measurement and testing strategies, potential sources of bias and methodological techniques to study the properties and characteristics of materials. Once test results have been collected, perform statistical significance tests on the results. (5)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the time needed to prepare presentations and training courses. For example, an engineer may estimate the time needed to prepare a course for co-workers on the heat treatment of materials. (1)
  • Estimate life spans of materials such as cast steel. Use formulas which take into account corrosion or material degradation, but these equations do not incorporate all of the variables and engineers' judgement is also required. (2)
  • Estimate the number of additional trials required to obtain a valid statistical correlation between various data. Many factors are involved in the estimate and a fair degree of precision is required to ensure the scientific validity of results. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Metallurgical and materials engineers work in dynamic environments with many conflicting demands on their time. Their work is team-oriented so that they must integrate their own tasks and work schedules with those of many technicians, technologists, other engineers and scientists to develop and monitor processes and procedures used in extraction, concentration, refining, processing, testing, moulding, shaping, forming, characterization or treatment of metals and other materials. Their ability to work on several tasks at the same time and manage priorities is critical to their jobs. Changing corporate priorities, customer complaints, equipment breakdowns and emergencies frequently change their priorities and compel the reordering of job tasks. Metallurgical and materials engineers play a central role in organizing, planning and scheduling day-to-day operations and may contribute to long-term and strategic planning for their organizations. They are responsible for assigning tasks to junior engineers, technicians and technologists. (4)
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Decision Making
  • Select software to simulate engineering processes, identify design problems and test proposed solutions. (2)
  • Decide which types of graphs to use for displaying information relevant to test results. Consider the strengths and limitations of each graph type for displaying particular types of data, the messages that need to be emphasized and the level of technical expertise of the audience. (2)
  • Decide which tasks to assign to technologists, technicians and other engineers on the team. Consider their individual strengths and weaknesses, work experiences and abilities to meet deadlines. (2)
  • Choose the methods, times, locations, durations and resources needed to train employees. Study the cost and feasibility of several different options and consider the need to replace workers during training. Past training decisions provide only limited guidance since machinery or processes are rarely the same. (3)
  • Decide to participate in specific research, formulation, design, manufacturing, failure analysis and operational testing projects. To help decide, review proposals to evaluate projects' technical requirements and determine whether the organization has the time and skill sets needed to bring them to fruition. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Realize there are skill shortages within project teams. Alert management and discuss whether or not funding will be made available to recruit team members with the expertise needed. (2)
  • Discover that some of the employees, such as junior engineers, have deviated from project plans. Work with them to identify where the loss of focus started and then guide them in the proper direction. Monitor work closely to ensure they perform expected project tasks and meet deadlines. (3)
  • Testing objectives cannot be met without major revisions to plans. For example, an engineer may discover near the end of a test sequence that the number of trials left will not be sufficient to create a statistically valid analysis. The engineer may estimate the number of additional trials required to obtain a valid correlation between the data and ask managers or clients to extend the testing phase. If an extension cannot be obtained, the engineer may find ways of extrapolating existing data to increase the validity of test results. (3)
  • Observe practices which constitute hazards to the safety of machine and equipment operators. Meet with the purchasing department to discuss technical specifications for personal protective equipment, identify appropriate suppliers and arrange for the fastest possible delivery. Modify processes or machinery, as appropriate, to make work safer. (3)
  • Receive complaints from clients who have discovered defects with materials or products which have been delivered. Engineers recall the materials or products and test them to identify why the defects are occurring, what modifications are required to prevent the defects and what protocol can be used to test the effectiveness of any changes made. They may have to perform major overhauls or redesign the materials or products to resolve the defects. (4)
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Finding Information
  • Find historical testing, production and quality control data by searching databases and other records. (2)
  • Find information on chemical compositions and material properties by searching textbooks, scientific journals and websites. (3)
  • Find information needed to resolve production and testing problems by reading academic journals and trade publications. Analyse, synthesize and integrate information from a wide range of sources, including the Internet, to develop innovative solutions. (4)
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Critical Thinking
  • Assess the efficiency, safety and environmental friendliness of various processes of extraction, concentration, refining, processing, testing, moulding, shaping, forming, characterization and treatment of metals and non-metallic materials. Determine evaluation criteria which may include material usage and costs, process time, overall performance, noise level, dust, heat and emissions' generation, physical exertion and ergonomic issues resulting from process implementation. For example, assess the efficiency, safety and environmental friendliness of deposition by plasma, electric arc, subsonic and supersonic flames of metal, ceramic and metal-ceramic coatings and polymers. (4)
  • Evaluate the suitability of metals, alloys and metallic systems, ceramics, polymers, semiconducting and other materials for specific applications. Define methodologies to study the properties and characteristics of materials and direct junior engineers, technicians and technologists in the use of techniques such as magnaflux examinations, spectrometric chemical analysis, optical, scanning or, transmission electron, and atomic force microscopy. For example, assess the suitability of new compounds and their variations, and replacement materials for computer screens. Also assess the suitability of materials used in various biomimetic implants for biomedical applications. (4)
  • Evaluate the safety and quality of products before launching them. Conduct extensive tests and failure analyses before certifying that products meet technical specifications of shape, appearance, dimensions, tensile strength and various other mechanical, chemical and electromagnetic properties. For example, before launching new boats, a metallurgical and materials engineer must consider the eventuality of corrosion. (4)
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