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Emerging Occupations


Nanoengineers design and develop materials, devices, and systems of unique molecular, atomic, or macromolecular composition. They do this by combining principles of nanoscale physics with those of electrical, chemical, and biological engineering.

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 Mar 31, 2020

Nanomaterials such as atoms, molecules, proteins, and cells exhibit properties not observed at the macroscopic scale. Nanoengineers apply these properties in a variety of fields. They use specialized equipment to focus on properties ranging from 1 to 100 nanometres or (nm). A nanometre is 1 billionth of a metre, or 0.000000001 m. At this small scale, nanoengineers can create large changes in the physical properties of materials. This triggers behaviour not often observed at a larger scale.

Nanotechnology has applications across a range of industries, products, and processes. It is used in producing power, pharmaceuticals, textiles, cosmetics, foods, coatings, and automobiles. Duties vary greatly from one industry to another. But in general nanoengineers:

  • Conduct research in fields such as nanoparticle dispersion, nanocomposites, nanofabrication, optoelectronics, and nanolithography
  • Create designs or prototypes for applying nanosystems, such as microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), and integrated biomedical diagnostic-and-delivery (lab-on-a-chip) circuits
  • Design or engineer nanomaterials, nanodevices, nano-enabled products, or nanosystems using software such as 3-D computer-aided design (CAD) and quantum mechanical simulation
  • Coordinate or supervise the work of suppliers or vendors who design, build, or test nanosystem devices
  • Design or conduct tests of new nanotechnology products, processes, or systems
  • Develop processes for applications such as nanofabrication
  • Identify equipment needed for pilot or commercial nanoscale production
  • Provide scientific or technical guidance and expertise to scientists, engineers, technologists, technicians, or others who apply chemical, physical, or biological processes to micro and nanoscale systems
  • Prepare nanotechnology-related invention disclosures or patent applications
  • Prepare reports, make presentations, or participate in program reviews to share engineering results and recommendations
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Nanoengineers often work in offices, plants, and laboratories. In a management or senior position, they may spend more time working in an office.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Nanoengineers need:

  • Scientific curiosity
  • An aptitude for physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, or engineering
  • Analytical thinking
  • Communication and problem-solving skills
  • The ability to work independently or as part of a team
  • The ability to visualize complex processes and equipment

They should enjoy being innovative and doing precision work.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Most emerging occupations develop from more than one occupation. People working in this occupation may come from a variety of education and training backgrounds. Before 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 for nanoengineering is a bachelor’s degree in engineering. This must include a specialization in nanotechnology or a related field. Research positions generally require graduate (master’s, doctoral) degrees.

The University of Alberta in Edmonton offers a 4-year bachelor of science (B.Sc.) degree in engineering. The following nanotechnology specializations are available:

  • Computer Engineering: Nanoscale System Design Option
  • Electrical Engineering: Nanoengineering Option
  • Engineering Physics: Nanoengineering Option

Both the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary offer graduate degree programs in nanoengineering. Many faculty members in engineering, science, and medicine do related research. Graduate students may come from traditional engineering disciplines, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, or computer science.

Nanoengineering is still a new field and is developing quickly. To stay successful, people in this field must continually upgrade their knowledge and skills.

Related Education

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

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.


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 the APEGA website.

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 Mar 31, 2020

Emerging occupations typically are the result of:

  • An increased human need
  • 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 it is unknown.

Nanoengineers are employed by:

  • Universities and other organizations that do research and development
  • Manufacturing and other private sector firms
  • Engineering consulting firms
  • Government departments and agencies

Nanoengineers often work in a multidisciplinary environment. They gain knowledge and skills through work experience. This provides an opening into associated areas of science, engineering, sales, marketing, or management.

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

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
  • Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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 31, 2020. 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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