Materials technician


Career outlook for materials technician

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would run tests on materials to see how they can be used to improve products people use every day. Your work would mean a higher standard of goods good be produced more quickly, and people could buy them in the shops more cheaply. 

The materials you work on could be used to make anything from computers and mobile phones to cars, clothes and furniture. 

A wide range of different types of companies would use your test results to:

  • Make their products better
  • Remove faults from materials
  • Develop new processes

When studying a material, you would:

  • Test its strength and flexibility
  • Study its chemical makeup
  • Find out about any special features it has
  • Research cost, safety and environmental impact
  • Think about new ways to use the material
  • Write a report on your findings

You would work closely with engineers and scientists from other fields. It would be important to understand engineering drawings and principles.

Working conditions


You would normally work 37 to 40 hours a week, with the possibility of overtime.


Depending on your job, you may be based in an office, laboratory or manufacturing plant.


You may have to travel occasionally between sites and to meet clients.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Written communication
  • Problem solving
  • Working with numbers
  • Researching
  • Implementing ideas

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Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

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You would need a Modern Apprenticeship leading to a relevant Scottish Vocational Qualification in Process Manufacturing or Engineering Operations (SVQ level 3) or a Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) in areas like Chemical Process Engineering.

Employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4 to 6, in particular for entry to a Modern Apprenticeship.

You can enter a Chemical Process Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and tow Highers or equivalent qualifications.

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by many courses and employers)
  • Science subjects, in particular physics and chemistry (required by many courses and employers) 
  • English
  • Technologies subjects such as engineering science

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show understanding and experience of the industry such as Skills for Work Engineering Skills (SCQF level 4) or Laboratory Science (SCQF level 5).