Chief Metallurgist: Salary & Job Description

May 12, 2019

A chief metallurgist works to ensure the optimal performance of a production plant and guides a team of metallurgists. This article includes information about the job outlook, salary stats, and the required education.

Career Definition of a Chief Metallurgist

Metallurgists are responsible for the extraction and processing of various kinds of metals and alloys in production plants. They also perform research to develop metallurgical processes which are employed in extracting useful metals from their ores. The exhaustive research and analysis help these professionals in selecting the best-suited metals and alloys for different needs of an employer or a client.

A chief metallurgist is an expert in all such practices and usually oversees the operations of a team of metallurgists. He/she is also required to monitor and enhance performance parameters on a production plant site before reporting them to the employer.

Generally, there are three types of metallurgists in a factory, namely chemical metallurgists, physical metallurgists, and process metallurgists. The chief metallurgist should be familiar with the workings of all the different categories of these professionals to be able to lead them.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Technical knowledge and practical experience, attention to detail, innovation and leadership skills, business awareness and result oriented approach
Median Salary (2019)** $102,334 (chief metallurgist)
Job Outlook, 2016-26* 2% (materials engineers)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Required Education

Materials engineers need to have at least a bachelor's degree in a related field like materials science and engineering. Engineering and science degrees like chemical engineering, materials science engineering, metallurgy, and physics are also very relevant for candidates seeking this job. For the role of a chief metallurgist, some employers might seek a professional with significant experience in the field. Hence, a proven track record of managing a team of metallurgists is bound to help one in getting a job in this position.

Required Skills

The work of a chief metallurgist requires the utmost composure and attention to detail as a slight miscalculation could result in a huge discrepancy. Since it is a senior position, the professional also ought to have expert technical knowledge along with significant practical experience in the field. He/she also must have a unique approach to be an innovator and should have leadership skills to lead a group of qualified metallurgists. Employers often like seeing a candidate with business awareness and a result-oriented approach, and preference could be given based on these abilities.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that employment of materials engineers is expected to increase between 2016 and 2026, but at a rate of 2%, which is slower than the average. The number of job positions is not projected to increase drastically as only 400 new jobs are predicted in the US within the decade. However, the median salary for chief metallurgists makes it a coveted position for many. The median salary for the role, as per, was reported to be $102,334 in May 2019 in the US.

Related Careers

A chief metallurgist has a role and duties which are related to several job profiles in the occupational group of materials engineers. Here are some of them listed below.

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