Laser technicians work with lasers, either operating and maintaining them or making sure they are used safely. Pay and responsibilities can vary depending on training and education. Laser technicians can begin work after completing postsecondary training, but there are some associate's and bachelor's degree programs available as well.
Laser technicians are photonics technicians who work with lasers in a variety of industries. They might be responsible for assembling, calibrating, testing, troubleshooting and maintaining devices with lasers or actual lasers. Jobs in this career field are attainable with a range of education and experience, from workforce training programs to bachelor's degree programs.
|Required Education||Ranges from postsecondary training to bachelor's degree programs, depending on the job and desire for advancement|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||-0.2% for various types of engineering technicians (except drafters)|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$61,260 annually for various types of engineering technicians (except drafters)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Duties of a Laser Technician
Laser technicians work for a variety of employers, including hospitals and the government, as well as in industry, manufacturing and research. Their job duties vary depending on where they work. A laser technician may be responsible for assembling, dismantling, installing, calibrating, testing, operating and repairing lasers. They also may perform alignment procedures, clean optics, integrate lasers with opto-mechanics parts, work on laser documentation and troubleshoot. They may also assist staff in the operation of the laser and function as the laser safety officer.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that laser technicians, counted in a broad group of various types of engineering technicians, earned median annual pay of $61,260 in 2015. This rate breaks down to a median hourly rate of $29.45 hourly.
Laser technicians may work in the laser development and research, industrial lasers, consumer electronics, biotechnology, medicine or telecommunication fields. Career options depend upon the level of education. Workforce training programs, which may consist of courses in lasers, prepare graduates for entry-level positions. Workers with an associate's degree in electronics, electronic engineering, electro-optics or laser technology may be able to acquire more technical positions than technicians who have completed a workforce program. Laser technicians who want to advance may enroll in a 4-year degree program in engineering technology, concentrating in electronics manufacturing, physics or engineering physics.
Regardless of what industry laser technicians choose to work in, they must receive the minimum of postsecondary training, though certain career paths may require an associate's or bachelor's degree. Laser technicians might be directly involved with the operation and maintenance of lasers across multiple industries, or they may be responsible for safe practices where laser use is concerned.