Nanotechnology is a fast-moving field revolutionizing major areas such as medicine, engineering, food science (agriculture and consumer products), aerospace, defense, materials science, and energy, to name just a few. The job market in nanotech, as it is also called, is growing to keep up.
Nanotechnologists work in a wide range of fields. For those interested in a nanotechnology job, consider searching terms, such as, nanomedicine, nanoelectronics, biomaterials, nanomaterials. Here are a few sample ideas, but read on for more resources, links, and ideas on a career in nanotechnology.
- Medical scientists – they design new diagnostic devices, develop cancer treatments (see the NanoBio mAB video from an award-winning student project at PCC) and find ways to repair damage at the cellular level.
- As a food scientist, they increase food production, finding methods to detect contaminants and disease, for instance.
- As engineers, they might develop computer hardware (think semiconductors) or super-strong materials (materials scientists is one of the high growth nanotechnology jobs). Of course, the worldwide interest in clean energy demands everything from better batteries to lightweight wind turbines and tiny sensors in all of it (again materials science is a big part of nano).
First stop: Visit the Micro Nano Technology Education Center page on Nanotechnology Jobs and Career Opportunities. Click the plus-sign (+) on the far right of the nanotechnology job titles listed and it will open to show you a range of details to help you decide if it sounds like a job for you.
For example, Materials Scientists, is a growth area in the state of California as you can see in this image below. Similar job titles include: Micro Electrical/Mechanical Systems Device Scientist (MEMS Device Scientist), Polymer Materials Consultant, Research and Development Scientist (R and D Scientist), Research Scientist, Senior Materials Scientist, Staff Research Scientist, Staff Scientist.
Dental Laboratory Technicians is another growth occupation that currently employs 1,510 people in the region (Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division). In the next ten years, employment for this occupation in the United States is expected to increase by 14.40 percent.
Similar job titles include: Crown and Bridge Dental Lab Technician, Dental Ceramist, Dental Laboratory Technician (Dental Lab Technician), Dental Technician (Dental Tech), Denture Technician, Metal Finisher, Model and Dye Person, Orthodontic Laboratory Technician (Orthodontic Lab Technician), Porcelain Technician, Waxer.
To search out specific details around educational requirements and skills needed for nanotechnology jobs, the well-known O*NET OnLine jobs site offers useful summary reports on almost every Nano job (and almost every other job under the sun). Sample of nano job titles: Engineering Technician, Laboratory Technician (Lab Technician), Nanofabrication Specialist, Process Engineering Technician, Research Associate, Research Scientist, Research Specialist, Research Technician, Scientific Research Associate, Technical Research Scientist.
Start with this O*NET Report: Nanotechnology Engineering Technologists and Technicians – 17-3026.01
The Summary Report for 17-2199.09 – Nanosystems Engineers is packed with industry info, job requirements, education paths, and the skills you will need to become a nanosystems expert. It will also allow you to grab a quick summary called MyNextMove, in this example, Jobs for U.S. Veterans interested in Nanosystems Engineer jobs. There’s also the Microsystems Engineer Jobs for Veterans page, too.
Jumping back to the Micro Nano Tech site, it has dozens of videos on nanotechnology and microtechnology topics on its YouTube Channel for both students and educators.
Two helpful and popular videos are found on the MNT-EC Students and Parents page, scroll down and you will find:
- 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.
If you are looking to get an on-the-ground level perspective from a working technician, Dr. Peter Kazarinoff’s Talking Technicians Podcast is a must-listen. The podcast interviews micro and nano technicians and their stories of how they chose the field and what they do on a daily basis.
According to CareerExplorer.com, “there are currently an estimated 132,500 nanotechnology engineers in the United States. The nanotechnology engineer job market is expected to grow by 6.4% between 2016 and 2026.” The top states for Nanotechnology Engineer jobs include:
Considering the enormous nanotechnology opportunity at the national level, it is important to point out that MNT-EC is a national center based at Pasadena City College in California, but its partners and affiliates in micro- and nanotechnology span the entire USA. There are many nanotech programs that can prepare you for a job in nanotechnology, here are a few partner details that can help you explore:
Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center (NEATEC)
Housed at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica, NY: the Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center (NEATEC) mission is to attract and train a technician workforce for the semiconductor/advanced manufacturing industries. Read more about Associate Director Kate Williams Alcott’s work to recruit veterans and transitioning military members who are interested in nanotechnology training and jobs. If you are a veteran or active duty military member in transition, check out this upcoming program that still has seats available (at publication) – the flyer has all the info for the January workshop including info on the companies that are interested to hire.
Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne, Indiana
If you search for 2-year nanotechnology job programs, Ivy Tech is often on page one of the results. Cait Cramer is the Assistant Program Chair of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Ivy Tech Community College and a partner here at MNT. Her focus is on microtechnology and enhancing MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) education. Her full bio and LinkedIn profile is here on the MNT Partner page.
Support Center for Microsystems Education (SCME)
Dr. Matthias Pleil is well known in the Micro Nano world as the Principal Investigator for two NSF funded centers, the Southwest Center for Microsystems Education (2004-2018) and the Support Center for Microsystems Education (2017) housed at the University of New Mexico. Read his full bio here.
The SCME is packed with microsystems education resources including a popular YouTube channel filled with micro and nano videos. To go even deeper in the opportunities in microtechnology and nanotechnology for jobs, internships, and general networking, consider joining the MNT Special Interest Group and be part of the Micro Nano Education community.
Two additional resources that list out nanotechnology job info and salaries are also affiliates or partners here at MNT-EC. One of our National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program partners is the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI is an NSF-supported initiative). It provides researchers from academia, small and large companies, and government with access to university user facilities with leading-edge fabrication and characterization tools, instrumentation, and expertise within all disciplines of nanoscale science, engineering and technology. NNCI has a terrific overview of careers in nanotechnology.
NNCI cites Recruiter.com data that can give you an idea of what a nano future holds in regards to expected nanotechnology 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.
The National Nanotechnology Initiative, better known as Nano.gov, has a dedicated page to Associate Degrees, Certificates, & Job Opportunities in Nanotechnology for technician level work (good paying, too) requiring a 2-year degree, including links to many of the top schools that can help you get a certificate or degree on your path to a nano job. If you are after a 4-year or graduate opportunity, then check this page.
As you can see, the growth in nanotechnology jobs is on an upward trend. Keep up with the news and resources by bookmarking this page as we will continue to update it to help you find that dream nanotechnology job.
Update 21OCT from Paul Webster, one of our partners from Oak Crest Institute of Science: Since many nano and micro jobs rely on microscopy skills, check out the Jobs page on the Microscopy Society of America.