Laboratory & Medical Technical
Ceramics technologists are involved in the research, development, production and quality control of ceramic materials. Ceramic technologists use their scientific knowledge to anticipate new applications to replace or enhance existing products.
It is possible to split ceramics technologists' role into two parts: research and testing. Research work involves the study and application of the elements that make ceramics. Testing work involves the comprehensive assessment of samples prepared for production.
One would be mistaken in thinking ceramics referred solely to crockery; these materials, which are behind an emerging branch of engineering and technology, are now used in modern technology, including computers, mobile phones and vehicles.
Ceramics technologists, who work as part of team, supported by technicians who assist in routine tasks such as laboratory tests, are also known as materials technologists.
Ceramics technologists' typical work activities include:
- Carrying out research and development
- Devising and creating new materials and processes
- Testing samples
- Analysing products
- Planning and developing processing systems
- Working on projects from inception to trials
- Documenting and writing reports on test work
- Adhering to technical standards
- Ensuring safe working and a high standard of housekeeping
Ceramics technologists usually work full time, during office hours. But some employers may require employees to work outside of these hours or to do shift work. Flexible working, such as part time, may be available.
Technologists tend to be based in a lab, on the factory floor or in an office, with outdoor work being rare. But in some job roles, namely those that involve selling materials, considerable travel to other locations is required.
Stoke-on-Trent has been dubbed the ceramics heartland of the world.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills and attributes for ceramics technologists
- Analytical skills
- Problem solving
- Computer literacy
- An aptitude for science
- Attention to detail and accuracy
- Ability to produce technical documentation
- Coherent written and verbal communication
- Ability to work to and meet deadlines
- Relevant scientific and technical knowledge
- Ability to work independently and on own initiative
- Ability to work as part of a team
- A full driving licence (may be required for roles that involve extensive travel)
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers of ceramics technologists
Ceramics technologists are employed in a number of industries, including the primary production and fabrication of ceramics. Other job openings can be found in:
- consumer goods manufacturing
- industrial engineering
Within these organisations, ceramic technologists tend to work in the following divisions:
- research and development
- production management
- quality control
- sales and marketing
Opportunities for progression
Ceramics technologists can look forward to opportunities for progression, throughout the UK and at times overseas. With sufficient experience these professionals can also explore consultant and research roles.
Qualifications and training
There are typically three routes that lead to employability as a ceramics technologist: academic, apprenticeship and vocational. For all three, you'll need good GCSEs (usually minimum of C grades) in English, maths and science, or equivalent. There may be a Modern Apprenticeship in Scotland.
In addition to the required GCSEs, depending on your chosen the pathway, you will need to attain relevant A levels or a BTEC as well as a higher national certificate, higher national diploma or a degree.
A science or engineering degree, such as materials science, ceramic technology, engineering or physics, will distinguish applicants. In Scotland entry to a relevant degree requires 4-5 Highers (A-C) including Maths, Physics or Engineering Science plus a good range of National 5s including English. For Chemical Engineering Chemistry Higher is required. Experience gained in the industry helps job seekers to stand out too. But most employers offer training.