Semiconductor Processors Overview
Though there will be an increase in semiconductor products, jobs for semiconductor processors are expected to decline. Work experience in high-tech manufacturing as well as those with an associate’s degree will have the best job opportunities. Many of the skills learned on the job are transferable to other high-tech manufacturing jobs.
Nature of the Work for Semiconductor Processors
The work of a semiconductor processor involves turning semiconductor substances, such as silicon, intro microchips. The job of a semiconductor processor is to then oversee the manufacturing process of these microchips. Cylinders of silicon, known as wafers, are manufactured and sliced to create semiconductors. The work is done in clean areas; hence semiconductor processors usually work in clean rooms wearing garments known as bunny suits to prevent lint and particles from contaminating the room. Putting on the bunny suit can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 40 minutes.
Semiconductor processors will make adjustments and repairs as well as troubleshoot any production problems. Their work might also involve testing chips to ensure they work properly as well as performing diagnostic analysis and running computations.
Semiconductor processors work with limited movement to keep the air free of dust which can hurt the microchips during production. They work at a relaxed pace but are generally on their feet most of the day. Entering and exiting the clean room is limited to keep the room as clean as possible.
Semiconductor processors working in semiconductor fabricating plants may be required to work nights and weekends. For some plants, semiconductor processors may work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Other plants may require their workers to work 12 hour shifts.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Semiconductor Processors
Most semiconductor processors have a technical school certificate or associates degree in highly automated systems, electromechanical technology, electronics, semiconductor technology or high-tech manufacturing. Skills in math and science are also important for semiconductor processors.
Many employers also provide their employees with on-the-job training regularly to make sure they keep up their skills. Some employers may even offer their semiconductor processors financial assistance so they can earn an associates or bachelor’s degree.
Strong technical skills, being able to problem solve, willingness to work in teams, mathematic skills, physical science knowledge and communication skills are important qualifications for semiconductor processors.
Advancement for semiconductor processors can occur after workers become more comfortable with the equipment and have a better knowledge and understanding of manufacturing.
Semiconductor employees will train for a few months to become entry-level operators or technicians. After a few years, semiconductor processors can advance to an intermediate-level by becoming more knowledgeable about the operations of the plant. With this advancement, semiconductor processors can take on greater responsibilities.
After about 7 to 10 years, semiconductor processors can advance to senior technicians and are able to lead teams of technicians and work directly with engineers to help develop processes in the plant.
Top 10 Most Popular Electromechanical Technology/Electromechanical Engineering Technology Schools
1. Excelsior College (Albany, New York)
2. Mech-Tech College, Caguas (Caguas, Puerto Rico)
3. The Refrigeration School (Phoenix, Arizona)
4. Automeca Technical College, Aguadilla (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico)
5. Mayland Community College (Spruce Pine, North Carolina)
6. Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, New York)
7. The University of Toledo, Health Science Campus (Toledo, Ohio)
8. Hopkinsville Community College (Hopkinsville, Kentucky)
9. Western Dakota Technical Institute (Rapid City, South Dakota)
10. CUNY New York City College of Technology (Brooklyn, New York)
Employment and Job Outlook for Semiconductor Processors
Number of People in Profession
Changing Employment (2008-2018)
Employment is projected to decline rapidly (decrease 10% or more).
Out of 25,750 jobs held by semiconductor processors, nearly all of them worked in computer and electronic product manufacturing industries.
Job opportunities will be best for semiconductor processors with an associate’s degree or those experienced in high-tech manufacturing, even the percentage of jobs is expected to decline 32 percent.
Employment has gone down for semiconductor processors due to the fact that microchips have become too small for humans to handle. These microchips are extremely complex and the success of these chips is dependent on their flexibility and their speed. Smaller components, measured in nanometers (one millionth of a millimeter), are needed for microchip speed and flexibility to be accomplished.
Technological advances have also decreased the need for semiconductor processors to work and repair equipment. As technology continues to advance, semiconductor processor employment is expected to decline.
Jobs will be available for semiconductor processors to replace workers who leave the occupation. The work of a semiconductor processor is similar to other high-tech manufacturing jobs, which means most of the skills can be transferred from one job to another.
Earnings and Salary for Semiconductor Processors
Median annual wages for semiconductor processors are $31,570. The middle 50 percent earn between $26,310 and $38,620. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $21,960, and the top 10 percent earn more than $47,230.
Healthcare, disability plans, life insurance, retirement and stock options are usually given to semiconductor processors in their benefits packages.
Semiconductor processors who hold atleast an associate’s degree will generally receive higher wages than those with lower levels of education.
Hourly Wage for Semiconductor Processors
On average, Semiconductor Processors earn $15.18 per hour.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook