Metallurgy Degrees

Salaries For Degrees in Metallurgy

Graduates with online bachelors metallurgy degrees can be employed in a variety of occupations. While no one can say with certainty what you personally will do with a degree in Metallurgy, our survey panel picked the following occupations as likely options:

  • Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers
  • Materials scientists

The median salary for people with online associate metallurgy degrees is $68,868.52. The lifetime value of this degree is approximately $1,423,744.00.

Salaries are highly dependent on how skilled one is at negotiation, experience, your employer, area, and more besides. The estimates we show on these pages are just that: estimates. Your individual experience will likely vary.

Where does this come from?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a unit of the US government, classifies all workers into some 800-odd occupational categories. We paid a army of freelancers to solicit their opinion on what type of degree a holder of each type of job would likely have majored in. For pairs which had a high degree of consensus, we created a link between the degree and the job.

From this, we calculated the average salary for Metallurgy degrees and converted it into a lifetime value. We then compared it against other degrees at the same level of schooling (such as online masters metallurgy degrees), so that you can make informed educational and employment decisions.

What is Metallurgy?

A degree in metallurgy provides a student with an education in engineering as well as the technical skills that they need in order to perfect the processes of synthesizing industrial metals and manufacturing. In the process they will learn about mechanics, thermal physics, practical thermodynamics, thermo-fluid science, calculus, probability and statistics, proper calibration of instruments, and how to inspect and test metals. Students who graduate with a degree in metallurgy go on to work for industrial laboratories, government research facilities, and are likely to become an engineer for one of many different companies. Some of the newest developments in metallurgy relate to nanotechnology, superconductors, and materials breakthroughs.

Metallurgy is the area of materials science that focuses on metals, compounds formed from metals, and the mixtures of metals which are known as alloys. Metallurgy is usually performed as an applied science, focusing on how the materials science of metals can be used in order to improve existing technologies, or to create new ones that were not feasible until breakthroughs in materials science came through.

While metals have been used in human technology since at least the sixth millennium BC, a science of metallurgy is generally not considered to have existed until the sixteenth century. It was then that Georgius Agricola wrote "De Re Metallica” (On the Nature of Metals), an in depth study of all known methods of extracting metals. Georgius Agricola is often considered to be the father of metallurgy.

What do Metallurgy Students Learn?

Metallurgy can be divided into two basic categories, although an expert in one category is not necessarily ignorant of the other. These two categories are extractive metallurgy and metallurgical engineering. Extractive metallurgy is primarily concerned with the process of removing metal from ore, while metallurgical engineering is concerned with how metals are used in the production of products. Despite the names, extractive metallurgy can certainly be considered a form of engineering.

Extractive metallurgy encompasses the physical and chemical processes required in order to separate purified metals from the minerals with which they are chemically bonded. This process is usually intended to create metals which will be further processed and utilized by metallurgical engineers, although in some cases it may be used to create a finished product all its own.

Mineral Processing

Mineral processing is an important component of extractive metallurgy. By manipulating the size of particles in raw materials, valuable resources can be separated from common ones. By reducing the size of the particles in the raw material, properties indicative of valuable materials can be highlighted. These include density, particle shape and size, response to electricity and magnetism, and qualities of the surface of the material. Water is often used in the process, so filtering is a common component of mineral processing.

After mineral processing, metals or metallic compounds are often immersed in water. From here, water can be used to separate away materials that dissolve. Solvents may be used to remove other impurities, either by causing them to dissolve, or by causing the metals to dissolve. If the metals or metallic compounds are dissolved, they are the brought back to a solid state by reaction with a different solvent. This process will typically involve many steps.

Electricity is often applied to this solution of water, metals, and minerals. This attracts certain materials more than others, particularly metals, and is used to capture or further refine them from the solution. Electricity may also be used to separate metals that are intertwined as salts which have been melted under intense heat.

Heating is used in nearly all, if not all, extractive metallurgical techniques. Since metals and other materials melt at different temperatures, heat can be used to separate them from one another. It is rarely that simple, however, since heat causes chemicals to react with one another, forming gasses and solids which must be further processed.

Metallurgical Engineering

Metallurgical engineering is where refining ends and production begins. This means mixing metals together in order to form alloys which share the appropriate combination of traits such as strength and weight, as well as shaping products and heat treating them. The goal of metallurgical engineering is to find the right balance of properties such as weight, strength, hardness, toughness, and resistance to rust, fatigue, and extreme temperatures. Cost, of course, is another factor. An decent understanding of the purpose of the product and the environment it will operate under are vital to this process.


Part of the metallurgical engineering process is metalworking. This is the process used to reshape metal into the form needed by the customer. This may include pouring the metal into a shaped mold, hammering a red hot piece of metal into shape, rolling it into a sheet, or forcing it through a shaped opening. A powdered metal may also be formed into a shape and melted in an environment were it will not react with oxygen. Metal can then be machined using lathes and drills, or cut using gas cutters or guillotines.

Heat treatment is another important part of metallurgical engineering. In some cases this means heating the metal until the crystals begin to dissolve, then allowing it to cool slowly, softening the material. Metals can also be strengthened by keeping them under heat for an extended period of time, allowing crystals to grow larger. Cooling metals extremely fast has the effect of causing them to become harder.

Metals are sometimes plated as a part of surface treatment. This is done by bonding a secondary metal to the surface of the interior metal. Plating may be done by placing a metal plate over the material and heating it. It can also be deposited as a vapor. The effect of plating is to reduce the effect of corrosion, as well as to improve the overall appearance of the finished product. An alternative to plating is thermal spraying, in which the coating metals are melted, then sprayed over the interior metal. These tend to respond better to high temperatures as finished products.

Online Schools Offering Accredited Metallurgy Degree Programs

For online schooling options, the University of Phoenix and Walden University are considered good options.

Campus-based Colleges & Universities Offering Metallurgy Degrees

For brick and mortar schools, Everest College, Hesser College, and and Anthem Career College are highly recommended.

Career Advice

An advanced degree in metallurgy can help a dedicated worker earn a position high up in the research and development ladder. It may even prove quite advantageous for somebody hoping to achieve a management position in a business which is dedicated to the field. Degree holders can also go on to teach as a professor in college or become a government consultant.

Working conditions for people with a degree in metallurgy can vary. While they are unlikely to spend most of their time working with metals directly, they will often find themselves operating in a factory environment, which can be loud and distracting for some. Most of the work they conduct will be either in an office or in a laboratory. Workers will be expected to work about forty hours a week, but pay is usually made on salary. This means that deadlines are more important than number of hours worked, which can be advantageous or grueling depending on the circumstances.

Pursuing a career in metallurgy is best suited for people who are interested in analytical problem solving, applied science and math, and a high demand work environment. Being able to communicate their ideas clearly to others is an important part of the job as well.