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Nanotechnologist

Nanotechnologists design and build devices and materials on a tiny scale. 

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £13,000 to £60,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need a degree or a master’s qualification in nanotechnology or a related course, and experience of working in a laboratory. Some employers may also expect you to have a PhD. 

Courses related to nanotechnology include:

  • nanoscience
  • maths
  • physics
  • chemistry
  • electronics engineering
  • materials science
  • computer science

Nanowerk has a list of relevant undergraduate and postgraduate courses. It also has a database of nanotechnology companies and research laboratories, which will be useful if you’re applying for work experience. 

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • attention to detail
  • practical skills in science 
  • problem-solving skills
  • excellent written and spoken communication skills

IT skills and the ability to work with scientific technology.

3. What you'll do

You could be working in:

  • electronics
  • energy production and storage
  • automotive and aerospace industries
  • biotechnology
  • medicine and pharmaceuticals
  • food science and production

Your day-to day duties may include:

  • creating devices and materials on the nanoscale - 0.1 to 100nm in size
  • operating scientific instruments to separate and analyse your products
  • performing experiments to test the nanotechnology you have produced
  • maintaining production and experimental equipment
  • using computers to interpret data
  • preparing learning materials and planning lectures
  • giving lectures to students and leading workshops
  • planning research schedules and overseeing staff in a laboratory
  • writing reports and articles
  • ordering materials, chemicals and stock for your laboratory

4. Salary

Starter: £13,000 to £14,000 (PhD student)

Experienced: £36,000 (university lecturer)

Highly Experienced: £60,000 (professor, senior staff)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. You may need to work occasional evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. In industry, you may work on shifts, which can include evening and weekend work.

You’ll work in a laboratory, where you’ll use specialist scientific equipment, like microscopes. 
You’ll be expected to wear protective clothing like a lab coat and safety glasses.

You may work on projects with scientists in other countries, so may need to travel overseas.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could work your way up to a management role. 

You could also move into a teaching or lecturing role.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016