Nanotechnology careers are widely varied and skilled workers are in demand.

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Nanotechnology applies the science of manipulating extremely small things to achieve some big results. This growing field can be used in many science fields, including chemistry, biology, physics, engineering and electronics. Nanotechnology careers are widely varied and skilled workers are in demand.

Current applications of nanoscale science and technology include:

  • Energy industry
  • Aerospace
  • Electronics
  • Sporting goods
  • Biotechnology
  • Medical fields and pharmaceuticals
  • Food science, including quality control and packaging
  • Military and national security

SHINE (Seattle’s Hub for Industry-driven Nanotechnology Education), a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Regional Center, is located at North Seattle College. SHINE enables people from across the region to pursue a career in nanotechnology by providing an educational pathway that exists nowhere else in the Pacific Northwest.

SHINE’s nanotechnology program offers two possible paths to students: a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree and a one-year certificate for post-baccalaureate students. The nanotechnology program is cross-disciplinary, combining elements of material science, chemistry, biology, physics, engineering and electronics.

Core nanotechnology classes teach students how to synthesize nanoparticles, fabricate devices and use advanced equipment that allows you to “see” at the micro and nano scale. With an emphasis on hands-on skills, this program provides graduates with the skills to enter a wide range of industries.

Graduates of the program are well prepared to enter the workforce and go on to earn competitive salaries of up to $75,000. Many graduates are employed as technicians – conducting research in a cleanroom, fabricating tools and parts in a manufacturing facility, or investigating new technologies in a lab. Careers in nanotechnology are diverse and include energy, biotechnology, semiconductors and materials manufacturing. SHINE students and graduates can be found working out of the Washington Nanofabrication Facility at The University of Washington and for companies throughout the region, including EnerG2, KEON Research, Lab/Cor Materials, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, LiloTree, PolyDrop, RJC Enterprises and Silicon Designs.

Learning on high-tech equipment

Nanotechnology careers rely on sophisticated equipment, making hands-on learning a key to success. Internships in of nanotechnology fields provide valuable assistance to industry and academic researchers as well as real-world experience for students. Duties may include making progress on a core research focus, conducting analysis of a prototype, or finishing auxiliary projects.

SHINE has a state-of-the-art user facility at NSC – the Nano Lab – a core resource to students and local industry. With an investment of nearly $1 million in equipment, the Nano Lab houses an atomic force microscope, laser scanning confocal microscope, scanning electron microscope, laser cutter, 3-D printer and more. Students have the opportunity to work in the Nano Lab and assist with industry projects, gaining industry-applicable hands-on training and serving as a valuable resource to local small businesses.

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