Careers in Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology Careers – Is one in your future?
As nanoscale science and engineering come to have an increasing impact on many aspects of our daily lives, the opportunities for careers are expanding rapidly. A major challenge is the education and training of a new generation of skilled workers. Could you be one of them? Do you want a career in a new and exciting field which is predicted to impact every facet of our lives?
In areas as diverse as designing medical diagnostic devices to building better batteries, from creating cosmetics to enhancing energy efficient windows, from auto and plane manufacturing to researching the nature of matter itself, knowledge of nanoscale science and engineering will be increasingly important during upcoming years and decades.
Where are the career areas?
Video presentations on careers in nanotechnology:
- Dr. Matt Hull of Virginia Tech presented his talk, X/Nano: The Enabling Potential of a Career in Nanoscience, during the Atlanta Public Schools' Gifted Synergy Symposium on November 5, 2020.
- Dr. Jim Marti of the Minnesota Nano Center, University of Minnesota, presented his talk, Careers in Nanotechnology: Opportunities for STEM Students, to high school and community college educators during an information session on the Research Experiences for Teachers across the NNCI program. Slides from Dr. Marti's talk can be found here.
Current applications of nanoscale science and engineering, and thus career opportunities, exist in areas such as:
- Electronics/semiconductor industry
- Materials science including textiles, polymers, packaging, among others
- Auto and aerospace industries
- Sporting goods
- Medical fields and pharmaceuticals
- Environmental monitoring, control, and
- Food science including quality control & packaging
- University and federal lab research
- Military and national security
- Energy capture and storage
- And many more areas
What Education is Needed and in which Fields?
Nanoscale phenomena underlie many of the properties and interactions of matter, and thus the sciences of physics, chemistry, and biology. However, nanoscale science is an interdisciplinary field – one where science and engineering intersect. Studying science or engineering and paying attention to the developments in nanoscience that advance these fields can provide you with a solid foundation for any broad range of careers.
What Type of Education is Needed for a Career in Nanotechnology?
Not everyone working in nanotechnology will require a doctorate degree in science or engineering. A skilled workforce trained at a variety of levels is needed to meet the projected workforce challenge. Education levels include:
- Technical program - high school degree plus additional certificate or vocational training
- Associate’s degree - 2 years of college
- Bachelor’s degree - 4 years of college
- Master’s degree - about 6 years of college total
- Doctorate - about 9 years of college total
You might want to check out these sites for further information on education programs:
- National Nanotechnology Initiative’s Schools and Training Programs:
Associate Degrees, Certificates, and Job Opportunities
College, Graduate School, and Postdoctoral Opportunities
- Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge Network has a section for students to find a two-year nanotech degree program:
What are the Expected Salaries?
- Two Year Associate’s - $35,000 - $52,000
- Four Year Bachelor’s - $40,000 - $65,000
- Six Year Master’s - $60,000 - $80,000
- Eight Year Doctorate - $75,000 - $150,000
U.S. salaries for nanotechnology engineering range from $52,000 to $150,000 with the average $95,000 according to Recruiter.com. This site lets you explore the average salaries by state. SimplyHired shows the range as $36,000 to $120,000 with the average at $66,000. Some additional sites to explore:
The National Nanotechnology Initiative has the US Nano and Emerging Technologies Student Network. The network consists of undergraduate student-run clubs at universities and colleges across the country that is building an interdisciplinary community of students with a focus on future technologies.