Microfabrication Engineers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

You’ll need a strong background in science, mathematics, and computer science to be a successful microfabrication engineer or technician. Take courses in mathematics (geometry, trigonometry, and calculus), computer science (especially computer-aided design), and chemistry, biology, physics, and other science courses. English and speech classes will help you learn how to write reports and develop your public speaking and presentation skills.

Postsecondary Education

A bachelor’s degree, plus several years of experience in lower-level microfabrication positions, is the minimum educational requirement to become a microfabrication engineer. Many companies require job applicants to have a master’s degree in electrical, mechanical, chemical, materials, or computer engineering, or in biology, microbiology, chemistry, physics, nanotechnology/nanoscience, or other science majors. Some engineers also earn master’s degrees in business administration in order to prepare for managerial- and executive-level positions.


The American Association for Clinical Chemistry offers 12 certificate programs in laboratory testing, technology, and management. Each program consists of four to eight courses. To learn more, visit https://www.aacc.org/education/online-certificate-programs.

Other Education or Training

Microfabrication engineers continue learning throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date. Many professional associations offer webinars, seminars, conferences, workshops, and other continuing education opportunities. For example, MEMS & Sensors Industry Group offers webinars and conference sessions on computer-aided design, standards and testing, new and emerging technologies, manufacturing trends, intellectual property, and other topics. SPIE, which describes itself as an “international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light,” offers courses such as “Laser Microfabrication Techniques,” “Optimization Methods for Lithographers,” and “Modeling and Computational Lithography Fundamentals.” General engineering associations also provide good resources. The Society of Women Engineers offers conference sessions, webinars, and other education resources on topics such as career development, leadership, and special issues for women in engineering. Other opportunities are provided by the American Institute of Physics, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, SME, American Society for Engineering Education, Association for Computing Machinery, IEEE Computer Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Microfabrication engineers who do work that may affect the lives, health, or safety of the public must be registered according to regulations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Licensing requirements vary by state. In general, however, they involve graduating from an accredited college, having four years of work experience, and passing the eight-hour Fundamentals of Engineering exam and the eight-hour Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. Depending on your state, you can take the Fundamentals exam shortly before your graduation from college or after you have received your bachelor’s degree. At that point you will be an engineer-in-training. Once you have fulfilled all the licensure requirements, you receive the designation of professional engineer. Visit the NCEES Web site, https://ncees.org, for more information on licensure.

Other Requirements

Microfabrication engineers who are seeking jobs with government agencies may be required to be U.S. citizens and undergo background investigations.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

A solid background in mathematics, physics, and science will be helpful for aspiring microfabrication engineers. Any microfabrication-related experience you can obtain via an internship, co-op, or part-time job while you’re in college will improve your chances of landing a job in the field.

Successful microfabrication engineers have excellent analytical, organizational, problem-solving, and communication and interpersonal skills; detail-oriented personalities; science, engineering, and technical skills; creativity and imagination; and the ability to work both independently and as a member of a team. Additionally, technicians should be able to follow instructions and perform sometimes-repetitive tasks.

Microfabrication engineers must know how to use (or be willing to learn):

  • Analytical or scientific software (e.g., MathWorks MATLAB, FLOOPS, etc.)
  • Computer-aided design software (e.g., Autodesk AutoCAD, Dassault Systemes SolidWorks, MEMSCAP MEMS Pro)
  • Development environment software (e.g., National Instruments LabVIEW)
  • Object- or component-oriented development software (e.g., C++, PERL)
  • Spreadsheet software (e.g., Microsoft Excel)