Metallurgical Laboratory Technician Jobs: Duties and Requirements

Metallurgical laboratory technicians require some formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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A metallurgical laboratory technician has a few different areas to choose from when it comes to work options, including academics, industry or mining. Depending upon what they choose, degree and certificate programs are available to provide the education and experience necessary to be competitive in this field.

Essential Information

Metallurgical laboratory technicians assist metallurgy engineers and materials scientists in day-to-day lab operations involving metallic elements. They perform routine technical tasks, including operating and maintaining equipment, as well as conducting analysis and experimental procedures. Job opportunities exist in various industries, including mining and in academia. A high school diploma may be all that's needed to get a job as a metallurgical laboratory technician, but a certificate or bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as geology, may be recommended.

Required Education High school diploma or GED certificate; bachelor's degree or certificate program in a relevant field may be useful
Other Recommendations Internship or apprenticeship
Median Salary (2016)* $45,493

Source: *PayScale.com.

Metallurgical Laboratory Technician Duties

Metallurgical laboratory technicians (MLTs) perform technical tasks that do not require the direct expertise of an engineer or scientist. Some MLTs work in industrial or academic materials research, testing the properties and stresses of newly created metal alloys. Other metallurgical laboratory technicians work in industries like mining, where they prepare and test samples to ascertain the purity and other attributes of mined metals. They also might chemically convert rocky ores into usable materials. Metallurgical laboratory technicians maintain computerized records of experimental data and operate a variety of specialized equipment, including x-ray machines, spectrometers, electrolytic analyzers, pH meters, and centrifuges.

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Requirements for Metallurgical Laboratory Technicians

MLTs generally must possess at least a high school diploma or the equivalent, and many employers prefer candidates who have an undergraduate degree. Prospective MLTs who hope to work in materials science-oriented labs might choose to pursue a bachelor's degree in chemistry or mechanical engineering technology, while those who want to work for metallurgical laboratories in the mining industry might pursue a geology major. Additionally, technical schools and community colleges often offer one- or two-year certificate programs for MLTs, which include training in chemistry, engineering techniques, technical drafting, and mathematics relevant to metallurgical analysis. Students also learn to use equipment and computer software used in metallurgical laboratories. Many schools offer internship or apprenticeship programs for aspiring MLTs, which can help students build the experience needed for an entry-level position.

Salary for Metallurgical Lab Technicians

According to PayScale.com, most MLTs could expect to make between $36,120 and $74,190 per year in January, 2016. The median hourly salary for this career was $17.00 at that time.

Metallurgical lab technicians perform lab tests on metals, although the type of testing depends upon the industry. Besides testing samples for properties or purity, lab technicians work with a range of specialized equipment. Because of the multiple technical tasks required by these positions, most employers prefer candidates with some kind of specialized training program, whether it is a certificate or degree, usually accompanied by internships and work experience.

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