How Do I Become a Nanotechnologist?

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  • Written By: Synthia L. Rose
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 12 July 2017
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Become a nanotechnologist by enrolling in an undergraduate program at a university which offers a bachelor’s degree in nanotechnology, nanoscale engineering, or nanoscience. In the absence of such degree offerings, consider majoring in any molecular level science or engineering discipline, possibly with a minor concentration in nanotechnology. Without a nanotechnology major or minor in the undergraduate years, a person with a strong science and engineering foundation can still become a nanotechnologist by earning a graduate-level degree or certificate in nanotechnology. Across the globe, many academic institutions are increasing nanotechnology preparatory offerings, with some schools in Asia and the United Kingdom offering dual-degree programs that blend undergraduate and graduate studies into an expedited five-year plan.

A person wanting to become a nanotechnologist essentially wants to be an engineer who solves problems and constructs things using technology and machinery at the nano level, which focuses on manipulating the most microscopic bits of matter that are so minute they must be measured in nanometers. Working with matter at this molecular level is possible in nearly every field, ranging from medicine to electronics to agriculture. Therefore, sometimes it is more beneficial to choose a major linked to your prospective career field instead of going for a general nanotechnology degree. For example, if someone is attracted to food sciences and anticipates working to modify and investigate nutrition at the genetic level, that person might choose an undergraduate major in agricultural sciences with a minor concentration or double major in nanotechnology.

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Someone who anticipates working in the field of medicine, where the molecular manipulation of matter can help treat mystery ailments and diseases long thought to be incurable, might decide to major in any of the biological sciences, such as bacteriology or parasitology. Similarly, a person interested in using nanotechnology for energy resources, such as for solar energy, might first seek an undergraduate foundation in the physical sciences. A person attempting to become a nanotechnologist after working or specializing in another field can typically segue into nanoscience through a certificate program offered at the doctoral or master’s level.

Nanotechnology coursework typically combines studies on nanoelectrical engineering and nanomechanical engineering with extensive and continual studies in physics and analytical science. The analytical aspect of study is crucial since nanotechnology relies on the constant gathering and dissecting of microscopic data. Throughout the coursework, students will learn how to gather such data through regular laboratory experimentation at the molecular level.

After academic studies are complete, a person aspiring to become a nanotechnologist can hunt for jobs related to nanoelectronics, nanomedicine, or other branches of nanotechnology. Generally, no additional testing or endorsement is needed. These jobs may or may not be explicitly labeled as nanotechnology jobs. For example, across various career fields, nanotechnology jobs might be advertised as chemical technicians, food science technicians, laboratory researchers, or engineering technicians. Joining a national or international group for professional nanotechnologists can help with finding all the job opportunities available.

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