was the last time you were in contact with something made of metal?
Maybe you are wearing a gold chain or earrings right now. Maybe
the water you showered with this morning travelled through copper
pipes. Maybe you used steel cutlery to eat your breakfast or lunch.
Metal is everywhere, and before we are able
to use it, it has to be recovered from minerals in the Earth's crust.
This involves mineral processing, which is one aspect of metallurgy.
Here is how it works. Ores are mined and processed
to recover a certain mineral. Then, through extractive metallurgy
involving high temperatures, aqueous solution chemistry or electrolytic
methods, that mineral concentrate is turned into a pure metal. Metals
are then processed by casting, rolling, forging, extruding, powder
forming and fabricating into useful shapes and products.
Metal and alloy properties can also be modified
at the atomic level by thermal and mechanical processes, such as
case hardening, heat treatment and explosive forming.
As a metallurgical technologist, you might
be involved at any stage of these complex processes - researching,
planning, directing, controlling or managing these operations. You
might work in the areas of corrosion analysis, foundry product quality,
heat treatment methods, assays (assessing purity) or sales.
Some of the activities you might do
as a technologist are:
- Test material samples for microstructure
- Design processes to achieve target results
- Train operators in carrying out processes
¥ Operate and maintain laboratory equipment for metallography
- Determine causes of failure in metal products
- Design methods to prevent corrosion
As a technician, you would assist in
such areas as:
- Analyzing microstructures
- Operating lab equipment
- Running non-destructive tests such as ultrasonic
Where Will You Work?
As a metallurgical technologist or technician,
you work in an office and/or lab environment. Typically, you would
keep a regular Monday to Friday work week, with some extra hours
when there are deadlines to meet.
You could work in a heat treatment facility,
foundry, consulting engineering firm, industrial lab, steel distribution,
metal fabrication or processing company.
Related areas you could branch into include
quality control, technical sales or production management.
How Much Will You Earn?
How Does the Future Look?
Metallurgy is a relatively stable area,
but it is somewhat dependent on the manufacturing economy. There
may be some growth in the industry as government starts to encourage
How Can You Get Started?
In high school, be sure to take courses
in physics, math and chemistry. Practice your analytical skills
and learn to keep accurate records of your observations.
What Will You Need?
To enjoy working as a metallurgical technologist
or technician, you need to enjoy hands-on work in a lab setting.
You need a mechanical aptitude and have a strong commitment to keeping
accurate records. You need to develop your analytical skills, and
enjoy math and science.
Post Secondary Possibilities
Check with your career facilitator or counsellor
for other sources of information applicable to education options
for this technology.
- Salary figures indicated in the 'How Much
Will You Earn?' section are extracted from ASTTBC's Member Compensation
Survey or other Canadian sources applicable to the specific technology
discipline. These figures are representative only; actual figures
will vary depending on academic training, practical experience,
job responsibilities and location of employment.
- The TechWORKS! web site is an important online resource and
provides links to career information that will be of interest
to students pursuing a career in technology.