Education and Training Requirements

High School

High school classes in science (biology, chemistry, and physics) and mathematics (geometry, trigonometry, and calculus) are good preparation for a career in nanotechnology. Most nanotechnicians manage data and keep records so it’s helpful to take computer science courses and learn how to use databases and word-processing programs. Shop classes can develop your technical skills and hand-eye coordination. Other recommended courses include English, speech, and typing.

Postsecondary Education

An associate’s degree in nanoscience, nanotechnology, laboratory science, engineering technology, materials science, biotechnology, chemistry, biology, or a related field is generally required. More than 30 community colleges offer associate degrees and certificates in nanotechnology-related fields. Typical classes in a nanotechnology associate-degree program include:

  • introduction to nanotechnology
  • nanotechnology safety
  • general chemistry
  • chemistry laboratory
  • nanotechnology materials
  • nanostructures
  • nanofabrication
  • nanocharacterization
  • statistics
  • general physics
  • general physics laboratory

Visit https://www.nano.gov/education-training-workforce for a list of colleges and universities that offer associate degrees and certificates in nanotechnology, nanoscience, and nanoengineering.


The American Association for Clinical Chemistry offers certificate programs in laboratory testing, technology, and management. To learn more, visit https://www.aacc.org/education-and-career/online-certificate-programs.

Other Education or Training

Nanoscience is a competitive field, and it’s important to continue to learn throughout your career. Many professional associations provide continuing education webinars, conferences, seminars, and workshops that will help you keep your skills current. For example, the Nano Science and Technology Institute offers symposia on the following topics at its annual Nanotechnology Conference and Expo:

  • graphene nanoparticle synthesis & applications
  • nanomaterials for catalysis
  • nanocomposite materials
  • polymer nanotechnology
  • biomaterials
  • biomedical devices
  • materials for drug & gene delivery
  • sensors, diagnostics & imaging
  • cancer nanotechnology
  • nanoscale materials characterization
  • nanonuclear materials
  • photonic materials & devices
  • micro, nano & bio fluidics
  • modeling, simulation and informatics
  • key elements for successful commercialization: safety and sustainability
  • nanoelectronics for 2020 and beyond
  • nanofab: manufacturing & instrumentation
  • sustainable nanomanufacturing

Other organizations that provide continuing education opportunities include the American Chemical Society, American Institute of Physics, ASME, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Association for Clinical Chemistry, Society of Cosmetic Chemists, and The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for nanotechnicians.

Other Requirements

Some government agencies may require applicants to be U.S. citizens and participate in background investigations.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Employers prefer candidates with some prior experience. An internship, co-op, or part-time job can help in obtaining work in a laboratory or other research facility.

Nanotechnicians must have strong scientific and technical skills; good hand-eye coordination; the ability to follow instructions; excellent communication, interpersonal, and time-management skills; an organized and detail-oriented personality; the ability to perform sometimes-repetitive tasks; and a willingness to continue to learn throughout one’s career.

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

  • analytical or scientific software (e.g., image analysis software, simulation software)
  • computer-aided design software (e.g., Autodesk AutoCAD, LinkCAD, Synopsys Optical Solutions Group LightTools, and PTC Creo Parametric)
  • development environment software (e.g., National Instruments LabVIEW)
  • spreadsheet software (e.g., Microsoft Excel)
  • office software (e.g., Microsoft Office, Word, Access, and PowerPoint)