What Degree Should I Earn to Work in the Microelectronics Field?

Microelectronics is an electronics specialty area that deals with small-scale components that are just a few micrometers in size. A degree is needed in order to work in the field of microelectronics. The exact degree that one ultimately earns depends on the desired career. Learn more about possible preparatory degrees here. Schools offering Electrical Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Microelectronics Overview

Microelectronics requires intensive technical knowledge and experience, and aspiring students will absolutely need a degree before starting a career in the field. Depending on a student's budget and time constraints, programs are available from the associate's level all the way to the master's or doctorate stage.

Important Facts About Microelectonics Degrees

Prerequisites High school education or GED equivalent for undergraduate programs, bachelor's degree for graduate programs
Common Courses Applied mechanics, computer systems and programming, circuit analysis
Online Availability Fully online programs are offered by well-known universities
Possible Careers Microelectronics Engineer, Industrial Machinery Mechanic, Welder
Median Salary (2018)$32,820 (Assemblers and Fabricators) // $92,390 (Materials Engineers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)-14% decline (Assemblers and Fabricators) // 2% (Materials Engineers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Potential Degrees for Aspiring Microelectronics Professionals

Entry-level jobs for microelectronics technicians require either 1-year certificates or 2-year associate's degrees from community colleges. More advanced jobs in microelectronics require relevant bachelor's degrees and, depending on a student's level of ambition, master's or Ph.D. degrees.

Associate's Degree

An associate's degree in electronics or engineering is sufficient for an entry-level microelectronics job such as a semiconductor fabricator or an engineering technician. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) warned in 2014 that many fabrication jobs were being mechanized or off-shored, so job growth was expected to decline. Appropriate associate's-level educational programs are most often found at community colleges near major microelectronics facilities so as to prepare students for jobs at those facilities.

Participants have opportunities to learn about the process of making ICs (integrated circuits), quality control, testing and metrology (using tools of high-resolution to measure extremely small chips). Graduates of the program may go on to become technicians who assume jobs with semiconductor makers in their laboratories or clean rooms. Topics covered may include:

  • Electronic Components
  • PLC Installation
  • Electronic Equipment Performance
  • Equipment Maintenance

Bachelor's Degree

Those who are pursuing this level of undergraduate work in a microelectronics-related discipline may acquire a broad range of engineering skills and build a solid background in the sciences. Positions might exist in field applications, testing or circuit processing. In addition to qualifying for the positions above, graduates of programs such as the Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology may also be eligible to take positions that concentrate on component design rather than fabrication.

Master's or Doctorate Degree

For those who want to obtain positions related to microelectronics research and development, graduate work will be necessary. Project managers generally have graduate degrees such as the Master of Science in Electronics Engineering (MSEE) with a specialty in microelectronics. The ability to conduct advanced research and development into new components and technologies or to teach at the university level requires a Ph.D. degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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