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Someone who wants to become a corrosion engineer should plan on receiving a college degree in this or a related subject, and pursuing experience in the industry along with membership in a professional organization. A minimum of six years may be required to become fully qualified and start working in fields like oil and gas development or chemical manufacturing. Corrosion engineers study the processes involved in the destruction of components for the purpose of developing better coatings, maintenance schedules, and other support systems.
A Bachelor of Science degree in corrosion engineering is a good start. Students in school may want to see if they can pursue internship opportunities to get field experience and start making connections. This can be useful on the path to become a corrosion engineer, as it may open up more opportunities for applicants. If a chance to participate in research is available, this should also be taken, particularly for people who plan to obtain a Master of Science in engineering.
With a four year degree, it may be possible to start work in the field and develop skills. Specialized positions, however, require a postgraduate degree to become a corrosion engineer. For these jobs, people need the additional training provided by more time in school, and should also participate in research projects to develop a deeper understanding of the subject. Students may find it helpful to pursue postgraduate education even if they are not precisely sure about what they want to do because of the increased opportunities it may provide.
College graduates can apply for positions on product development and servicing teams at companies in their fields of interest. This allows them to acquire experience, initially under the supervision of skilled engineers. As they grow more familiar with the field and any specific needs of the industry, they can undertake more independent and self-directed work. Once someone has become a corrosion engineer with several years of experience, more positions may be available, and it may be possible to negotiate better pay and benefits.
Another option to consider in preparation to become a corrosion engineer is membership in a professional organization. Societies of engineers welcome members who meet their standards. They can provide access to job listings, trade journals, and training opportunities. These are not open to the general public, and can provide an edge for a working engineer. In addition, such memberships can be valuable on employment applications, where they may be viewed favorably by prospective employers who want evidence that an applicant is committed to professional development.
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