processor jobs, employers prefer applicants who have completed an
associate degree, often in semiconductor manufacturing technology. However, experience plus completion of a 1-year
certificate program in semiconductor technology, offered by some
community colleges, may also be sufficient. Some semiconductor
technology programs at community colleges include internships at
semiconductor fabricating plants. Other applicants may qualify by
completing a degree in high-tech manufacturing. Hands-on training is an
important part of degree and certificate programs.
To ensure that operators and
technicians keep their skills current, employers provide regular
on-the-job training. Some employers also provide financial assistance to
employees who want to earn an associate or bachelor's degree, especially
if the employee is working toward becoming a technician.
Workers advance as
they become more comfortable with the equipment and better understand
the manufacturing process. Employees train workers for several months,
after which they become entry-level operators or technicians. After a
few years, as they become more knowledgeable about the operations of the
plant, they generally advance to the intermediate level. This entails
greater responsibilities. Over time, usually 7 to 10 years, workers may
become senior technicians, who lead teams of technicians and work
directly with engineers to develop processes in the plant.
interested in becoming semiconductor processors -- either operators or
technicians -- need strong technical skills, an ability to solve
problems intuitively, and an ability to work in teams. Mathematics,
including statistics, and physical science knowledge are also very
useful. Communication skills and an understanding of manufacturing
principles are also very important.
In the United States,
the Maricopa Advanced Technology
Education Center (MATEC) is an organization that has partnered with
the Semiconductor Industry Association to provide curriculum as well as
faculty training and development for semiconductor manufacturing
programs at nearly 100 two- and four-year institutions nationwide. MATEC
has developed more than 50 curriculum modules addressing all aspects of
semiconductor manufacturing. If you are seeking an associate
degree, check with local 2- or 4-year colleges and universities to see
if they offer programs in "Semiconductor Processing Technology."
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.