Recently there has been increasing interest in high quality ceramic laser gain materials, particularly for high-energy lasers, due to the successful application of high-volume advanced ceramics consolidation techniques to transparent oxide gain materials. In this paper, a brief comparison of manufacturing techniques is presented, including an overview of the co-precipitation process and the solid-state reaction process. Merits and risks of each will be presented from a processing viewpoint. Ceramic Nd:YAG in particular shows promise for high power laser design. The program reported here is also compiling a definitive database to compare ceramic and single crystal Nd:YAG materials. Uniform doping levels of up to 9 at% Nd3+ have been reported by Konoshima Chemical Co. in ceramic Nd:YAG, and studied by the US Army Research Laboratory and the US Air Force Research Laboratory. All ceramic Nd:YAG materials studied to date have exhibited similar, if not identical, spectroscopic parameters to those measured for single crystal samples. Thermal properties, laser damage thresholds and refractive indices for a range of temperatures and wavelengths are reported. Diode-pumped free running laser experiment results with highly concentrated (up to 8 at% Nd3+) ceramics and their comparison with our modeling results are presented. High pulse repetition frequency actively (AO) Q-switched laser experiments are in progress. While there are still challenges in the manufacturing of ceramic laser gain materials, and the benefits of the application of ceramic technology to laser material are yet to be fully realized, ceramic Nd:YAG shows promise and could provide new options to the laser design engineer.