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Occupation Details

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Materials Technician

Job Zone

Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skills, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, several years of full or part-time employment in the area may suffice.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognised apprenticeship or training program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€20k > 37
Materials Technician
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€20 - 37
Related Information:
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Occupational Category

Other Technicians N.E.C.

Also included in this category:

Building and civil engineering technicians; architectural and town planning technicians; science, engineering and production technicians not elsewhere classified; draughtspersons.

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 5%
Aged over 55: 16%
Male / Female: 88 / 12%
Non-Nationals: 7%
With Third Level: 60%
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At a Glance... header image

Materials technicians experiment on materials and products, work in production, and test how materials react to different conditions, including temperature and stress.

Videos & Interviews header image

The Work header image

Materials technicians help materials scientists and technologists. They work with a very wide range of materials, from basic matter like atoms and molecules, to metals, plastics, cement, glass, sand and electronics. They investigate materials characteristics under different conditions and test for strength, safety, reliability, efficiency and environmental impact.  
In primary processing, technicians help to extract and refine materials, including metals. They may recycle materials like ceramics and glass, and metals like steel. In secondary processing, technicians convert materials into products, for example, making plastics from materials produced when petroleum is refined.  
Technicians work to strict standards, including government and European Union legislation. For example, they may work on materials that meet or surpass fire safety regulations, using X-rays to analyse the internal effects of high temperatures on metals. A senior technician often interprets results and may produce a written report for scientists and technologists.  
Technicians operate and maintain sophisticated equipment, including automated testing systems, electron microscopes, X-ray machines and computers. The materials technician works in oil rigs, aviation, medical equipment and in civil engineering.

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Review new product plans and make recommendations for material selection based on design objectives, such as strength, weight, heat resistance, electrical conductivity, and cost.


Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists.


Analyze product failure data and laboratory test results to determine causes of problems and develop solutions.


Conduct or supervise tests on raw materials or finished products to ensure their quality.


Plan and implement laboratory operations for the purpose of developing material and fabrication procedures that meet cost, product specification, and performance standards.


Design and direct the testing or control of processing procedures.


Monitor material performance and evaluate material deterioration.


Perform managerial functions, such as preparing proposals and budgets, analyzing labor costs, and writing reports.


Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and corporate executives as necessary.


Guide technical staff engaged in developing materials for specific uses in projected products or devices.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.


Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


Thinking Creatively: Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings: Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material: Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Engineering and Technology: Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.


Chemistry: Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.


Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


Physics: Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.


Production and Processing: Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.


Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Operations Analysis: Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.


Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.


Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a materials technician, you must be interested in practical science and the potential uses of materials. You will need a patient, methodical and investigative approach to research, development and testing. You should have good analytical and problem solving skills.  
You must be able to express your findings clearly. Senior technicians may write reports of the team's work. You will need good communication skills to express your findings clearly to team members. You should have good computer skills. Teamwork is important in this career.  
You should have normal colour vision.

Entry Routesheader image

To become a materials technician, candidates typically find relevant employment and then complete a course of study.

Relevant courses include Higher Certificate and Bachelor Degree programmes in Materials Science, Metals Technology, Ceramic Science, and Engineering.

A range of courses are available at the Institutes of Technology countrywide.

Last Updated: October, 2014

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

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Go..Materials Technician - from: N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Engineers Ireland
Address: 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 665 1300
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Biological, Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science
Engineering & Manufacturing
Biomedical Technologies & Medtech

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