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Laser Technician: Career Profile and Educational Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a laser technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about job duties, certification and salary prospects to find out if this is the career for you.

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If you're interested in becoming a laser technician, you will need to train at a technical or community college in laser technology and phototonics or a similar discipline. Advanced studies are available at four-year colleges, and voluntary certification is available in this field.

Essential Information

Laser technicians create, test and repair lasers in a variety of mechanical and electrical systems. In general, an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline is necessary to enter the field, and voluntary certification is available. Laser technology continues to play a crucial role in the medical field, and more scientists are using lasers in different types of research. Read on to learn how to start a career as a laser technician.

Required Education Variable; An associate's or a bachelor's degree in laser technology and phototonics or a similar discipline
Projected Job Growth less than 1% from 2014-2024 (all engineering technicians)*
Mean Annual Salary (May 2015) $58,490 (all engineering technicians)*

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Summary for Laser Technicians

Laser technicians operate equipment and systems that utilize lasers. These professionals build, repair and maintain lasers and fibers using electrical and mechanical technology. They may work in various fields, including design and manufacturing, laser research and development, consumer electronics, telecommunications and medical applications. Laser technicians also troubleshoot laser and optic systems.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the number of job opportunities for engineering technicians in general - a group that includes laser or photonics technicians - was only expected to grow less than 1% between 2014 and 2024, which is slower than average. According to the BLS, the mean salary among all engineering technicians was $58,490 as of 2015.

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Educational Requirements for Laser Technicians

Becoming a laser technician typically entails at least two years of training in a technical school or community college. In addition to in-class coursework, students spend a lot of time in the laboratory learning about photonics, AC and DC circuit analysis, optical devices and laser technologies. Proficiency in mathematics, physics and electronics is necessary for this career. Upon completion, graduates may choose to transfer to 4-year colleges to advance their studies in the field.

Certification

Florida and Texas are the only states that require laser certification as of 2011, although laser technicians may choose to obtain certification as a professional credential. The National Council on Laser Excellence, the International Laser & Aesthetic Association and the Board of Laser Safety are organizations that offer certification in several areas of healthcare laser use. Depending on the organization, certification may entail meeting educational and experience requirements as well as passage of a certification exam.

Laser technicians operate, create, test and repair lasers in mechanical and electrical systems, and they can work in fields ranging from medical applications to design and manufacturing, consumer electronics, and laser research and development. An associate's degree is required, although further study is available in bachelor's degree programs. Voluntary certification is available in this field, and job opportunities for engineering technicians, including those that work with lasers, are expected to increase by less than 1% between 2014 and 2024.

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