Nanotechnologists work for local, state, and federal agencies that conduct research in nanotechnology and nanoengineering, including the following federal agencies:
- Agricultural Research Service
- Departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, and Transportation
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Food and Drug Administration
- National Cancer Institute
- National Institutes of Health
- National Science Foundation
Additionally, nanotechnologists are employed in many industries, including:
- materials science (including packaging, textiles, and polymers)
- sporting goods
- medicine and pharmaceuticals
- food science
- renewable energy (and energy capture and storage)
- retail and consumer goods
- agriculture production/food processing
- environmental monitoring, control, and remediation
Finally, some nanotechnologists are employed as professors and researchers at colleges and universities. Others serve in the U.S. military.
A good way to break into the field is to work as a lab assistant or participate in an internship while you’re still in college. This will give you a chance to learn about different career paths and to network with coworkers, fellow interns, your internship coordinator, and managers. If you impress your bosses, you may even be offered a job.
Be sure to use the resources of your college’s career service office during your job hunt. Career counselors can help you improve your cover letter and resume, practice for interviews, and prepare for career fairs and meetings with recruiters.
Become active on LinkedIn. Follow companies; become “friends” with classmates, professors, workers and recruiters at your target employers; and keep your page up to date. Join nanotechnology-related groups to learn about the industry and make networking connections.
You can also learn more about job opportunities in nanoscience and nanotechnology by checking out job listings on employment Web sites and job listings in professional journals and at association Web sites. Additionally, visit https://www.nanowerk.com/nanotechnology/research/nanotechnology_links.php for a list of nanotechnology companies and laboratories.
Nanotechnicians are entry-level workers, so there are plenty of opportunities for talented and ambitious technicians to advance—especially if they pursue additional education. Nanotechnicians with several years of experience and some advanced education (via college or through professional-development opportunities provided by industry associations) can advance to the position of nanotechnologist. These professionals are more focused on research and spend less time on rudimentary duties such as record-keeping and laboratory cleanup. Nanotechnicians who earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering can become nanosystems engineers, and those who complete master’s degree and Ph.D. programs can advance to the position of nanomaterials scientist or become college professors.
Tips for Entry
Visit https://www.nsti.org/directory/companies for a list of nanotechnology companies in the United States and around the world.
Search for job listings in nanotechnology on these Web sites:
Attend conferences such as the Nanotechnology Conference and Expo-Nanotech (https://www.nsti.org/about/events.html) to network, participate in continuing education opportunities, and to interview for jobs.
Read publications and other resources such as:
- IEEE Explorer Magazine (https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/home.jsp)
- nanoHUB (https://nanohub.org)
- American Journal of Nanomaterials (http://www.sciepub.com/journal/AJN)
- Nature Nanotechnology (https://www.nature.com/nnano)
A strong background in math and science is helpful in this field; take classes in this area.