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

Salary range: £13,000 to £60,000

How to become a nanotechnologist

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

Some employers may expect you to have, or be working towards, a PhD. 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

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.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

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
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

You could work in a laboratory.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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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