A microfabricated vacuum switch is disclosed which includes a substrate upon which an anode, cathode and trigger electrode are located. A cover is sealed over the substrate under vacuum to complete the vacuum switch. In some embodiments of the present invention, a metal cover can be used in place of the trigger electrode on the substrate. Materials used for the vacuum switch are compatible with high vacuum, relatively high temperature processing. These materials include molybdenum, niobium, copper, tungsten, aluminum and alloys thereof for the anode and cathode. Carbon in the form of graphitic carbon, a diamond-like material, or carbon nanotubes can be used in the trigger electrode. Channels can be optionally formed in the substrate to mitigate against surface breakdown.