Nanotechnology will affect a range of professions in the coming decade, including food science, sports equipment development, textiles, and forensics, according to a report conducted by the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN).
Nanotechnology salaries range widely, depending on how many years of training a student receives before entering the field.
A student with a two-year associate’s degree can expect to make from $30,000 to $50,000 annually, and students who earn a four-year bachelor’s degree will make from $35,000 to $65,000, according to the NNIN report. A student with a doctorate degree in nanotechnology can earn up to $100,000 a year.
Newberry said bringing nanotechnology lessons to high school students could be the most effective way to increase the number of college students majoring in the field. Hart said there are three high schools interested in using the NanoProfessor curriculum next year, and the company has advisors from prestigious secondary schools who offer advice on how the subject can best be taught to teenagers.
Recruiting high school students to nanotechnology has become a focus for some research universities in recent years. The University of California, Berkeley, partnered with the Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems (COINS) in 2007 to create a week-long summertime nanotechnology camp for high school students. Students learn to manipulate nanoparticles, synthesize fluids, and take on other tasks critical to understanding matter at the atomic level.
About 200 high school students studied nanotechnology projects and everyday applications at the University of California, San Diego, in April. Virtual models of molecules showed students how atomic manipulation can improve pharmaceuticals, among other examples.
“It’s absolutely critical to get these concepts into the education system. We never ask students to think about the very, very small. … We always ask them to think about the big, broad picture,” said Newberry, who has 32 students in DCTC’s nanotechnology program.
But “the momentum is growing,” Newberry added, referring to the study of nanotechnology in schools and colleges. “More and more people are understanding exactly what it is … and why it is important.”
UC Berkeley-COINS partnership