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Emerging Occupations


In general, nanoengineers apply the principles of nanoscale physics and electrical, chemical and biological engineering to design and develop materials, devices and systems of unique molecular or macromolecular composition.

This is an emerging occupation. It may have evolved from an existing occupation or emerged in response to consumer needs or technological advances.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Nanoengineers study and manipulate atoms, molecules, proteins and cells. They use specialized equipment to focus on features that range in size from 1 to 100 nanometres (nm). A nanometre is 1 billionth of a metre (or 0.000000001 m). Nanoengineers can significantly change the physical properties of the materials on which they are working at this size scale.

Nanotechnology has applications across many industries, products and processes. Nanotechnology is used in the production of energy, pharmaceuticals, textiles, cosmetics, foods and automobiles. Due to the wide range of applications, duties vary greatly from 1 industry to another, but in general, nanoengineers:

  • conduct research in a wide range of fields (for example, heat transfer, fluorescence detection, nanoparticle dispersion, hybrid systems, liquid systems, nanocomposites, nanofabrication, optoelectronics, nanolithography)
  • create designs or prototypes for nanosystem applications (for example, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), biomedical diagnostic and delivery or lab-on-a-chip, integrated circuits)
  • design or engineer nanomaterials, nanodevices, nano-enabled products or nanosystems, using three-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • co-ordinate or supervise the work of suppliers or vendors in the designing, building or testing of nanosystem devices
  • design or conduct tests of new nanotechnology products, processes or systems
  • engineer production processes for specific nanotechnology applications (for example, nanofabrication)
  • develop processes or identify equipment needed for pilot or commercial nanoscale scale production
  • provide scientific or technical guidance and expertise to scientists, engineers, technologists, technicians or others applying chemical, physical or biological processes to micro and nanoscale systems
  • prepare nanotechnology-related invention disclosures or patent applications
  • prepare reports, deliver presentations or participate in program review activities to communicate engineering results and recommendations.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Nanoengineers may work in offices, plants, laboratories or a combination of these settings. Senior nanoengineers may spend more time in an office environment performing managerial functions.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Nanoengineers need the following characteristics:

  • a natural sense of scientific curiosity
  • an aptitude for physics, mathematics and chemistry
  • the ability to visualize complex processes and equipment
  • the ability to analyze and solve problems
  • the ability to work independently or on a team
  • effective communication skills
  • the ability to work effectively with people from various disciplines and educational backgrounds.

They should enjoy being innovative, doing work that requires precision and being an expert in their field.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Most emerging occupations develop from more than 1 occupation, so nanoengineers may come from a variety of education and training backgrounds. Prior to enrolling in an education program, prospective students should contact associations and employers in this field to investigate education options and employment possibilities.

The minimum education requirement to work as a nanoengineer is a bachelor's degree in engineering with a specialization in nanotechnology. Research positions generally require graduate (master's, doctoral) degrees.

In Alberta, the University of Alberta in Edmonton offers a 4-year bachelor of science (B.Sc.) degree in engineering with the following nanotechnology specializations:

  • Computer Engineering: Nanoscale System Design Option
  • Electrical Engineering: Nanoengineering Option
  • Engineering Physics: Nanoengineering Option (only available in Traditional Program)
  • Materials Engineering: Nano and Functional Materials Option.

The admission requirement for the faculty of engineering is a competitive average in English Language Arts 30-1, Math 30-1, Math 31, Chemistry 30 and Physics 30.

Both the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary offer graduate degree programs in nanoengineering, and many faculty members in various other departments in engineering, science and medicine conduct related research. Graduate students come from various backgrounds, including traditional engineering disciplines, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and computer science.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 20, 2016


Professional engineers design, construct, evaluate, advise, monitor and report on the performance of materials, equipment, systems, works, processes and structures.


Under Alberta’s Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act [pdf], you must be a registered member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a Professional Engineer or engage in the practice of engineering. You do not have to register if you work under the direct supervision of a professional engineer and do not call yourself a Professional Engineer or use the word “engineer” in your job title.

What You Need

Registration as a Professional Engineer in Alberta requires successful completion of:

  • a 4-year bachelor’s degree in a recognized engineering program and at least 4 years of acceptable work experience under the supervision of a Professional Engineer, or an equivalent combination of education and experience
  • a minimum of 3 acceptable references
  • successful completion of an approved examination in law, ethics and professionalism.

A new Provisional Member category has been introduced. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, contact APEGA.

Working in Alberta

Engineers who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada are eligible for registration in Alberta if the 2 jurisdictions require similar responsibilities and competencies.

For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and APEGA.

To learn about certification for internationally educated engineers, see Professional Engineer Registration Process.

Contact Details

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA)
1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4A2

Call: 780-426-3990
Toll-free in North America: 1-800-661-7020

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Emerging occupations typically are the result of:

  • an increased human need (for example, alternate sources of energy)
  • technological advances
  • greater specialization within an occupation.

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, it can be difficult to define advancement opportunities or employment outlook. Some Albertans already are working in this emerging occupation, but future demand for nanoengineers is unknown.

Nanoengineers are employed by:

  • universities and other research and development organizations
  • manufacturing and other private sector firms
  • engineering consulting firms
  • government departments and agencies.

Nanoengineers often work in a multidisciplinary environment and acquire knowledge and skills through work experience that may allow them to move into associated areas of science, engineering, sales, marketing or management.

In Alberta, most people employed as nanoengineers work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.
Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, no current salary data is available for this occupation.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
  • Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) website:

National Institute for Nanotechnology website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 23, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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