Ceramic Technology Career Information
What a Ceramic Technology does
Astronauts, dentists, clumsy dishwashers, and astronomers all depend on ceramic technologists to develop such varied products as protective tiles for space shuttles, ceramic fillings for teeth, unbreakable dinner plates and sophisticated telescope lenses.
Ceramics have applications in virtually any industry, which demands the use of heat-resistant materials. Ceramic technologists are specialists in the study of these materials, their behavior, application and use.
Many industries now depend on ceramic materials: bricks, cement, tiles, pipe and glass industries in the construction sector; the glassware, pottery, spark plugs industries in the consumer goods sector; electrical insulators, cutting tools and bearings manufactured in industries dealing with industrial products; diodes, capacitors, magnetic materials and computer memory packages in the electronics sector and high temperature tile insulation and composite materials in space technology, ceramic spark plugs used in aerospace industry and nuclear fuel rods for nuclear industry.
Ceramic Technologists are mainly engaged in research, product development, and production engineering. The exact nature of the job will depend upon your area of specialisation and place of employment. If you choose research you will spend much of the day evaluating and planning new projects or consulting with other technologists and company executives.
But at the entry level in a firm that manufactures ceramic products, ceramic technologists work primarily in the laboratory where much of the time is spent running physical or chemical tests on raw materials or finished products and analysing the results.
Ceramic technologists can specialise in white wares (porcelain and china dinnerware or high voltage electrical insulators), structural materials (brick, tile, and turbine blades), electronic ceramics (magnetic, memory systems, and microwave devices), protective and refractory coatings for metals, glass products, abrasives, and fuel elements for nuclear energy.
Ceramic Engineers are employed in industries producing glass, cement, porcelain, enamel refractories, iron and steel and in industries manufacturing special ceramics for power and nuclear energy projects, aerospace, R & D laboratories and defence establishments.
Ceramic engineering graduates usually begin as junior or assistant technologists and, as they gain experience, may advance to positions of greater responsibility. Depending on the structure and product line of the firm, a technologist may advance to supervising engineer, chief engineer or plant manager.
The ceramic technologist engaged in research may be given increasingly responsible assignments with corresponding salary increases and may progress to such positions as supervisor, project engineer or director of research. Many ceramic technologists work in the nuclear field, as ceramic fuel materials make nuclear power generation possible.
The electronics industry is a growth area for this technology, as ceramics are used as insulators for transistors and integrated circuits.
Refractory ceramics are required in the refining of iron and aluminum, and this industry is especially in need of this type of worker.
The exciting new field of fiber optics has had a dramatic effect on today's telecommunication and medical industries, and since ceramic components are used, ceramic technologists are playing a vital role in this new science.
There is a shortage of ceramic technologists. To maintain a competitive edge in the market, ceramic companies will often hire ceramic technologists to serve in vital business and management areas. Since Ceramics are a part of almost all industries, one can get into any industry of one's choice and at most places in the country. This is an area where one may find employment abroad too, if one so wishes.
Abilities & Traits Required
Talking of personal attributes you must be able to communicate your ideas to managers, technicians, craft workers, production workers, and customers. The core personal characteristics required are an innovative outlook and problem solving skills.
Gift of the gab will be an added asset when you have to build a rapport and interact with artisans, technicians, managers, production workers and customers. You must also be a good team player and possess an innovative streak. Tension may be a part of the job when difficulty is encountered in meeting production schedules or project deadlines
Success in this field greatly depends on your grounding in subjects like Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry. A background in Physics and Mathematics, along with a degree in Ceramic Technology/ Engineering is the preferred qualification to work in the ceramics industry.
After your 10th standard examination, opt for Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics in Higher secondary. Then appear for the entrance exam for a four-year BTech (Ceramics). You can continue studying and opt for MTech.
You can study Ceramic Technology or Engineering after your BSc with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. It is also possible to do a Diploma in Ceramic Technology after your 10th standard examination.
A Bachelor's degree in ceramic engineering or materials science will only get you an entry-level job. Some firms ask for a degree in materials engineering, physical chemistry, physics, or metallurgy if the under-graduate programme has included ceramics. For a job in R & D you need at least a post graduation i.e. MTech in Ceramics.
If you are aiming high i.e. top executive positions in administration or management a doctoral degree in ceramic technology, materials science or business administration will help.
Technologists with post-graduate or doctoral degrees in material science, technology and business administration can seek top-notch managerial and administrative posts.
Depending on the company, your starting salary may range from Rs.25000 - 35000 a month if you are a degree holder. If you are a diploma holder your starting salary will range from Rs.20000-25000 a month.
Life, health, and accident insurance and retirement benefits are usually offered to ceramic technologists on a contributing or employer-paid basis. Some employers also offer stock options; profit sharing plans or pay annual bonuses.