Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Elaine MacDonald from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:


Elaine MacDonald

Psychologist - Clinical

St. Michael's House

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  Elaine MacDonald

Make sure you are willing to go the full distance in terms of the time needed to train as a Clinical Psychologist – it’s typically at least six years academic study, and invariably this period is interspersed with work in a relevant field.

Do be as confident as you can that you’re happy being a “listener” and “observer”, as you will spend significant amounts of time in your work life as a Clinical Psychologist being in this role, as well as being in the “do-er” role and being in the limelight.

To have a good ‘fit’ with this career you’ll need to be happy working with people – as individuals on a one to one basis, with groups (e.g. families), and as part of a team in the workplace.

You need to have a good attention to detail as the job needs good observation skills, record keeping, and organisation skills.

Be prepared for learning and self-development to be on-going for the whole of your career because, as a Clinical Psychologist, you’ll be learning and using techniques and intervention approaches that are being constantly developed, and be working in accordance with policies and laws that are also constantly evolving.

The last piece of advice I’d give to someone considering this job is to be as sure as you can that you feel comfortable and even excited at the prospect of your career revolving around people and groups with all the varied, diverse, and unpredictable rewards and challenges that this brings!


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Occupation Details

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Job Zone

Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an engineer must complete four years of college and work for several years in engineering to be considered qualified.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, teachers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

€26k > 70 
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€26 - 70 
Related Information:
Entrants: 26
Established: 48 - 70
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2011

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Studies the mining, uses and treatment of metals and alloys.

The Work header image

Metallurgists are experts on the structure, production and use of metals. They may specialise in chemical/extract, physical or process/mechanical metallurgy.  
Chemical/Extractive metallurgists extract metals from ore. They may also recycle scrap metal from obsolete products.  
Physical metallurgists test the reaction of metals to different conditions, including temperature and stress. In many industries, high performance metals are vital; metals used in the aircraft industry must be strong, light and reliable. Metallurgists test metals for corrosion, and signs of weakness caused by the cumulative effects of stress (metal fatigue). A metal may be subjected to very high temperatures, and X-rays used to see if the metal has altered internally.  
Process/Mechanical metallurgists control shaping methods like casting, and joining processes, like welding and soldering.  
The metal industries use sophisticated technology. In manufacturing, computers monitor production, identify faults and produce test results. Metallurgists can use lasers to cut through metals.  
Metallurgists play an important role in research and development, helping metal industries to meet customers' demands. For example, 70% of the steels used in cars did not exist ten years ago. Metallurgists have developed the new steels to provide the car industry with lighter and stronger materials. 

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Review new product plans and make recommendations for material selection based on design objectives, such as strength, weight, heat resistance, electrical conductivity, and cost.


Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists.


Analyze product failure data and laboratory test results to determine causes of problems and develop solutions.


Conduct or supervise tests on raw materials or finished products to ensure their quality.


Plan and implement laboratory operations for the purpose of developing material and fabrication procedures that meet cost, product specification, and performance standards.


Design and direct the testing or control of processing procedures.


Monitor material performance and evaluate material deterioration.


Perform managerial functions, such as preparing proposals and budgets, analyzing labor costs, and writing reports.


Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and corporate executives as necessary.


Guide technical staff engaged in developing materials for specific uses in projected products or devices.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Analyzing Data or Information:  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.


Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


Thinking Creatively:  Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings:  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events:  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems:  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material:  Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work:  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Engineering and Technology:  Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.


Chemistry:  Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.


Mathematics:  Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


Physics:  Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.


Production and Processing:  Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Science:   Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.


Active Learning:   Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Writing:   Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Operations Analysis:   Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.


Mathematics:   Using mathematics to solve problems.


Speaking:   Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Monitoring:   Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Judgment and Decision Making:   Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

You will need an investigative mind, and a methodical approach to experiments. Research metallurgists must be willing to learn and develop new knowledge, and keep up-to-date with technological advances throughout the world. You should have an understanding of chemistry, applied physics and maths  
Metallurgists should be prepared to spend time in hot, noisy conditions, and must understand and keep to health and safety procedures. You must be able to use sophisticated equipment and techniques, including computers and lasers.  
Metallurgists work closely with sales and marketing departments, so you will need good team skills, and an understanding of the market that uses your metal or product. Because aerospace and automobile companies compete globally, metallurgists may travel abroad to advise international clients; language skills may give you an advantage.

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Materials Team Leader - from:  icould [UK] Video
Go..Metallurgist - from:  YouTube Video
Go..Metallurgist - from:  GradIreland

Related Occupationsheader image

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Chemical, Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Mechanical Engineering & Manufacturing

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