semiconductor processors is projected to decline by 32 percent between
2008 and 2018. This reflects a changing manufacturing environment in
which technological advances have reduced the need for workers.
Most of the microchips
produced in the United States are highly complex. The success of these
chips depends chiefly on their speed and flexibility. Meeting both of
these goals requires smaller individual components, which are now
measured in nanometers (one millionth of a millimeter). Because the
components are so small, it is now impossible for humans to handle chips
in production, since these chips are so sensitive to dust and other
particles. As a result, there has been a decline in semiconductor
processor employment for many years, despite a strong domestic industry.
As technology advances, the decline in employment is expected to
can expect competition for these positions, in response to the rapid
decline in employment. Nonetheless, some jobs will open up due to the
need to replace workers who leave the occupation. Prospects will be best
for applicants with associate degrees and experience in high-tech
manufacturing. Like most manufacturing industries, the semiconductor
industry is highly sensitive to economic downturns.
for these jobs, however, people who are interested in this type of work
should be aware that the duties of semiconductor processors closely
resemble those of other high-tech manufacturing jobs. Many of the skills
learned in an associate degree or technical school program -- as well as
on the job -- are transferable to other occupations.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.