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Engineering design


Nanotechnologists design, create and manipulate materials on a tiny scale.

Annual Salary

£15,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; occasionally

Future employment

There will be 2.4% more Nanotechnologist jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

The tasks you'll do will depend on the industry that you work in. Nanotechnologists can be found in fields like medicine, engineering and manufacturing.

Typically you will:

  • create devices and materials on the nanoscale - 0.1 to 100nm in size
  • operate scientific instruments to separate and analyse your products
  • perform experiments to test the nanotechnology you have produced
  • maintain production and experimental equipment
  • use computers to interpret data
  • prepare learning materials and plan lectures
  • give lectures to students and lead workshops
  • plan research schedules and oversee staff in a laboratory
  • write reports, funding bids and articles
  • order materials, chemicals and stock for your laboratory

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work in a laboratory.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role

You'll usually need a degree or a postgraduate master's qualification in nanotechnology, or a related course which includes nanotechnology.

Relevant courses include:

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

Some employers may expect you to have, or be working towards, a PhD. This is particularly so in the field of medicine and healthcare nanotechnology. You'll usually also need experience of working in a laboratory environment.

Employers value experience. It may help to study for a degree that includes experience in the industry you want to work in. You could look for work placements with nanotechnology companies.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and a science for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information

You may be able to move into nanotechnology if you're already working in research science or engineering, for example, as a chemist, physicist or electronics engineer.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about careers in nanotechnology through Nanowerk.

You can find short introductory courses on the ways that nanotechnologies are applied in fields like healthcare through FutureLearn.

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With experience you could lead project teams in a management role.

You could also move into a teaching in higher education.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • science skills
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of physics
  • analytical thinking skills
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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