Semiconductor processors oversee the manufacturing of electronic semiconductors, which are commonly known as integrated circuits or microchips. These microchips are found in all electronic devices—including cell phones, cars, and laptops—and are an important part of modern life.
Semiconductor processors typically do the following:
Semiconductor processors, also known as process technicians, are largely responsible for quality control in the manufacturing process. They check equipment regularly for problems and test completed chips to make sure they work properly. If a problem with a chip does arise, they determine if it is due to contamination of that particular wafer or if it was caused by a flaw in the manufacturing process.
Education and training:
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Many semiconductor processors have an associate’s degree in a field such as microelectronics. These programs are usually offered at community colleges. Students should take science and engineering courses, such as chemistry, physics, and classes in electronic circuits.
There is an emerging trend of employers preferring semiconductor processors to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a physical science because of the increasing complexity of the manufacturing plants.
New semiconductor processors need on-the-job training from 1 month to 1 year. During this training, a processor learns how to operate equipment and test new chips. Manufacturing microchips is a complex process, and it takes months of supervised work to become fully proficient.
Workers with more education may have learned some techniques in school and need less on-the-job training. Because the technology used in manufacturing microchips is always evolving, processors must continue to be trained on new techniques and methods throughout their careers.
Projected employment change, 2014–24: