Photonics Technician: Job Description, Outlook & Salary

Camera equipment, lasers, microscopes and other types of equipment that have things like lenses in them are developed and maintained by photonics technicians. The duties of photonics technicians are explored further here.

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Career Definition of a Photonics Technician

Photonics technicians work with fiber optic equipment and optical equipment, including lasers, pulse generators, lenses and microscopes. They may be responsible for building this equipment and then installing it. Photonics technicians may also perform tests on the equipment to ensure that it works properly. Once they've completed the tests, they document their findings and produce records of the data from the tests. They are also responsible for maintaining fiber optic and optical equipment.

When equipment isn't working as expected, photonics technicians may need to meet with clients so that they can explain the issues they're having. They review test data and monitor readings on equipment indicators to help determine the source of the issue. They then repair the equipment so that it works correctly.

Educational Requirements Many have associate's degrees, but some jobs can be found with a high school diploma or GED and on-the-job training
Job Skills Computer skills, mechanical skills, Microsoft Office software knowledge, familiarity with software used for data acquisition and statistical analysis, analytical skills, mathematical skills, customer service skills, observational skills, knowledge of clean room standards
Mean Salary (2017)* $37,739
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 5% (for engineering technicians, except drafters, all others)

Sources: *Glassdoor.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

It is possible to become a photonics technician without postsecondary training, though some college is common. A high school diploma or GED and on-the-job training are required to learn the skills for this profession. Many employers may favor applicants who have relevant training or experience. O*Net OnLine reported that 32% of those who work as photonics technicians have an associate's degree, while an additional 16% have completed some college studies. Only 12% of reporting photonics technicians had only earned a GED or high school diploma.

Required Skills

Photonics technicians need to have customer service skills because their work may involve discussing technical issues with clients for whom they've installed equipment. They need computer skills in order to be able to record testing data. They also need analytical skills to review testing data and identify anomalies. Since their work involves installing and repairing equipment, it is also important for photonics technicians to have mechanical skills. In order to monitor gauges and test data effectively, photonics technicians also need strong observational skills. Due to the precision of the equipment that they work with, photonics technicians must keep their work areas up to clean room standards.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) projects that professionals categorized as 'engineering technicians, except drafters, all other', a group that includes photonics technicians, will see a 5% increase in jobs in their field from 2016 to 2026. In 2017, Glassdoor.com reported that photonics technicians took home an annual average salary of $37,739.

Related Careers

Photonics technicians are primarily focused on high-tech installations and repairs, and those interested in this type of work may also want to consider working with computers, aircraft, medical devices or transformers. The links listed here connect to information about other repair technician career options with similarities to the work that photonics technicians do.

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