Best-Paying Semiconductor Jobs

The semiconductor industry includes a host of well-paying roles, from engineers to software developers to supply chain managers.
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Updated on April 1, 2024
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  • Semiconductor manufacturing jobs are on the rise following recent federal investments like the CHIPS Act.
  • Many of these jobs, in roles like engineering and supply chain management, are in high demand and have median salaries of more than $100,000.
  • The U.S. chip industry workforce is set for major growth, but experts warn of a shortage of skilled workers.

Semiconductor jobs are poised to explode over the next decade — but with a skilled worker shortage, many companies are scrambling to find professionals to fill these high-paying roles.

Spurred by federal efforts like the CHIPS Act, the U.S. chip industry workforce is projected to grow by nearly 115,000 jobs by 2030, according to a 2023 report from the Semiconductor Industry Association.

However, that job growth could also lead to a skills gap: The same Semiconductor Industry Association report estimates almost 67,000 jobs could remain unfilled based on current degree completion numbers. Projected labor gaps include 26,400 technician and 27,300 engineer positions.

These workforce shortages mean that many high-paying semiconductor jobs will be available to workers with the necessary skills.

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Here are some of the highest-paying semiconductor jobs available to graduates.

Highest-Paying Semiconductor Jobs

Computer Hardware Engineer

  • 2022 Median Salary: $132,260
  • Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree

Computer hardware engineers — another role the BLS projects to grow faster than average from 2022-2032 — will also be vital to helping expand the U.S. semiconductor industry. Computer hardware engineers build devices, components of computers, and instruments across other tech sectors.

Their skill set applies directly to the semiconductor industry, whether it's in designing new products that use semiconductors or helping the burgeoning manufacturing industry incorporate new technologies into its process.

Source: BLS

Software Developer

  • 2022 Median Salary: $124,200
  • Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree

Demand for software developers is expected to increase rapidly, with the BLS projecting 25% growth between 2022 and 2032. Software developers are in high demand thanks to their skills in writing and testing various systems and applications, and they should be critical players in the software-reliant semiconductor manufacturing industry.

The highly technical and computer-assisted process of manufacturing semiconductors requires specialized software, and developers both help design that functionality and keep the process running smoothly through testing, debugging, and quality assurance.

In addition to software developers, software engineers are also in high demand. These professionals handle large-scale activities in creating software, like systems design and quality assurance.

Source: BLS

Electrical Engineer

  • 2022 Median Salary: $104,610
  • Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree

Electrical engineering jobs are projected to grow faster than average from 2022-2032, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Electrical engineering has applications across industries, and with the electrical systems needs of new semiconductor plants comes a host of opportunities for electrical engineers.

With CHIPS Act funding going to regional technology hubs across the country, multiple new semiconductor plants are planned to open in the coming years. For example, Intel plans to build a $20 billion semiconductor manufacturing plant in central Ohio.

These advanced, high-tech plants will require electrical engineers for construction and operation. Earning an electrical engineering degree builds much more than just technical skills in students: Curriculum often covers areas like project management, communication, and other relevant skills to help students land lucrative jobs and lead across industries.

Source: BLS

Industrial Engineer

  • 2022 Median Salary: $96,350
  • Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree

Industrial engineers are productivity-focused industry experts, and they will also play an important role in the U.S. semiconductor industry. These professionals can apply their skills across various industries — and when it comes to manufacturing chips, their critical thinking and manufacturing knowledge will help ensure efficient and smooth-running processes.

The BLS projects fast-paced growth for industrial engineers over the next decade. Industrial engineering programs at colleges include a wide variety of specializations, from analytics and data science to operations research and supply chain engineering.

Source: BLS

Mechanical Engineer

  • 2022 Median Salary: $96,310
  • Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree

Opportunities also abound for mechanical engineers as new semiconductor plants go up across the country. These professionals are needed to design mechanical systems and facilities for chip production and help to ensure the smooth operation of semiconductor plants.

The BLS projects that mechanical engineering jobs will grow much faster than average in the coming years, owing to the number of industries — even beyond semiconductor manufacturing — that need their expertise. Emerging industries like electric vehicles and longstanding areas like heating and cooling design continue to need skilled engineers who can design and synthesize systems.

Source: BLS

Supply Chain Manager

  • 2022 Median Salary: $77,520 (Logisticians)
  • Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree

Supply chain management is a crucial part of the semiconductor industry, with logisticians and other experts working to get materials to manufacturing facilities and chips to their destinations. Supply chain managers will also be key partners in building these billion-dollar manufacturing plants and securing the materials needed to get these high-tech facilities running.

Supply chain issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the importance of supply chain managers and the growing need for these professionals as shortages persist.

Employment of logisticians alone is set for explosive growth over the next decade, and colleges are incorporating supply chain management coursework into their degree programs from business to engineering. A growing number of master of business administration programs offer specializations in supply chain management. Additionally, more specialized programs, like Purdue's interdisciplinary master of science in engineering with a semiconductor focus, also include instruction in supply chain management.

Source: BLS

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How to Land a High-Paying Job in the Semiconductor Industry

Companies are investing billions of dollars in new semiconductor plants across the country following federal investments, including the CHIPS Act, and many of the best-paying jobs in the semiconductor industry require highly technical skills in fields like engineering and supply chain management.

Most engineering and software development roles require at least a bachelor's degree. However, a master's can lead to increased salaries and more responsibilities, helping set candidates apart from their peers.

Some colleges offer engineering degrees with a specialized semiconductor focus, which includes instruction in circuit design, devices and manufacturing, system design, and supply chain management. This curriculum sets the stage for students to land high-paying roles thanks to their relevant technical skills.

Careers & Degrees Earned by Percentage
Career High School/GED Diploma Associate Bachelor's Master's Ph.D. No Education Listed
Industrial Engineering Technologists and Technicians 45.13% 14.18% 7.24% 0.97% 0.28% 44.91%
Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technologists and Technicians 37.22% 31.39% 10.32% 2.01% 0.55% 37.36%
Electro-Mechanical and Mechatronics Technologists and Technicians 40.63% 30.62% 11.15% 1.67% 0.67% 34.96%
Industrial Engineer 4.09% 4.29% 73.75% 17.80% 4.34% 22.35%
Mechanical Engineer 4.79% 3.93% 70.84% 25.48% 9.86% 21.27%
Electrical Engineer 3.32% 4.30% 72.81% 23.40% 8.27% 21.48%
Software Developer 2.81% 2.98% 59.92% 17.28% 3.80% 36.46%
Industrial Machinery Mechanics 47.87% 8.08% 4.16% 0.86% 0.15% 47.21%
Engineering Technologists and Technicians, Except Drafters, All Other 25.02% 20.90% 35.03% 8.39% 2.49% 32.04%
Computer Hardware Engineers 2.32% 2.38% 64.44% 35.85% 14.69% 27.20%
Source: Burning Glass Institute
*Percentages may not add to 100% as postings may list more than one acceptable level of education.

Do I Need a Degree to Work in the Semiconductor Industry?

If you want to qualify for the most lucrative jobs in the industry – including roles like engineer, supply chain manager, or management professional – you'll need at least a bachelor's degree (typically in materials science, electrical and computer engineering, or chemical engineering).

Many semiconductor engineers have advanced engineering degrees – especially those in research and development careers.

But you don't have to have a four-year degree to break into this field. Burning Glass Institute data shows that most industrial and electrical technician job openings only require a high school/GED diploma or an associate degree. If you're interested in becoming a technician, opportunities abound.

Intel's planned Ohio location, for instance, is set to bring 12,000 new semiconductor jobs to the state — and roughly 70% of these will be technician jobs that only require a two-year degree. Workers in these roles will focus primarily on maintaining manufacturing equipment. Community colleges in the state are collaborating with the tech giant to train workers for these positions.

Employment of engineers and technicians alike is high and growing, with thousands of unique job postings in 2022 alone.

Page last reviewed March 18, 2024.