Skip Global Navigation Apply  |  Register  |  Check Email  |  Use Online Tools   Ask the Mustang
San Joaquin Delta College
San Joaquin Delta College Logo links to home page
Electron Microscopy 
What Is Electron Microscopy?

There are a few fundamental and important questions everyone asks themselves when presented with this program. This page is dedicated to answering some of them.

What On Earth Is Electron Microscopy?

That is the single most asked question we get. The simplest answer is that an electron microscopist works with electron microscopes, but that doesn't tell people much. So, what is an electron microscope? An electron microscope is a special type of microscope used to look at things regular light microscopes cannot. Light has certain wavelengths it travels at... BIG wavelengths. This means you can only see things that are as big as the wavelength of the light. Light microscopes are only able to magnify things around 2,000 times but the wavelength of an electron is much, much smaller. This means you can see extremely small things with it. Some electron microscopes can magnify an object several million times.

Put very simply, an electron microscopist prepares samples to be looked at in an electron microscope and then uses the microscope to view the sample. Graduates often work with research scientists in laboratories, manufacturer's application labs, or in sales and marketing.

Who Is Eligible For This Program?

This is a two year certificate program that is accessible to anyone with with a high school diploma or GED and the ability to learn. If you're just out of high school or an adult looking for a career change, this program deserves your consideration.

If I Decide To Go Into The Program, What Will I Be Learning?

This program is very "hands-on" and deals with very practical elements of electron microscopy. There are three main areas of study that are encompassed by this program.

Use of Equipment: The two main types of microscopes that you are trained on are the Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) and the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Both types of microscopes are currently in wide use in both research and industry. We also provide training on the Focused Io Beam (FIB) and Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). Use of these microscopes also involves digital imaging photography. Students are trained to use vaccum systems, vacuum evaporators, critical point driers, microtomes, ion polishers and many other types of microscopy related equipment. In addition, the ability to diagnose and fix an equipment failure is also taught to all students.

Sample Preparation: The TEM, SEM,  FIB and AFM require specialized methods of preparing a sample so they can be properly viewed. Students are taught how to use the many different types of equipment and techniques that are being used in the microscopy world today. Sample prep is very important and a lot of time is spent on this area.

Practical Theory of the Electron Microscope: This last area is what makes the program special and set our graduates apart. The demand for electron microscopists is high and employers take graduates from our program seriously.

What Do I Get Once I Graduate?

Students can graduate within two years with an Electron Microscopy certificate specialized in Biological, Materials or both. The job market for trained microscopists is very good. Employment Opportunities are found in industry, research laboratories, medical schools, hospitals, colleges and universities.

When Can I Start?

Students can enter the program in either Fall or Spring. The two beginning EM classes are offered during both the Fall and Spring semesters. All other advanced courses are only offered in either the Fall or Spring. To learn more, check out the Course Information page.

Where Have Some Of Our Graduates Gone?

Our graduates have been employed all over the United States and some have been known to travel for their work to Europe, Asia, Australia and elsewhere. Listed below are some of the places our graduates have been employed.

Large Corporations:

Xerox Corp, General Electric, General Chemical, Intersil, TriQuint, Seal Corp, Signetics, Weyerhaeser Corp, Raychem, Chevron, Northrup Aircraft, Lockheed, Dow Chemical, Aerospace Corp, Boeing, DuPont, Pittsburgh Paint and Glass (PPG), United Defense.

Computer Related:

IBM, Intel Corp, Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Texas Instruments, Micron, AMD, Data General, Tektronics, National Semiconductor, Electro-Delta Corp, Apple Computers, KOMAG Inc., Aradigm, Integrated Device Technology (IDT).

National Labs:

Lawrence Livermore Labs, Sandia Labs, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, NASA, National Center for Microscopy (Berkeley, Californa and Madison, Wisconsin), National Institute of Health (NIH), Argonne National Labs.

Universities / Medical Schools / Hospitals / Research Institutes:

UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC San Francisco, UC Irvine, UC LaJolla, several California State University (CSU) campuses, Stanford University, Baylor School of Medicine, University of Denver, University of Pennsylvania, City of Hope Medical Center, UOP Dental School and School of Pharmacy, Sutter Memorial Hospital, Sharps Cabrillo Hospital, Medical College of Wisconsin, St. Louis Univeristy Medical School, Universiy of Florida, University of South Carolina Medical School.


Stanford Research Institute, Genentech Inc., Roche Pharmaceutical, Gladstone Institute (SF), Barnham Cancer Institute (LaJolla), Bethesda Eye Institute (St. Louis).

Smaller Corporations and Service Labs:

Charles Evans Labs, Indy Electronics, Smith Tool Irvine, Cedar Products, Xicor, a number of Asbestos analysis labs.

Microscope and Related Companies:

Philips, Hitachi, JEOL, Zeiss, FEI Inc., CAMSCAN, RJ Lee Group Inc., Oxford Instruments, PGT, EDAX, Thermonoran, Gatan Instruments, EM Sciences, EMSL, Ted Pella Inc., Ladd Research, Nikon Instruments.


Connect With Us

San Joaquin Delta College
5151 Pacific Ave
Stockton, California 95207
(209) 954-5151