Laser Technician School and College Program Overviews
Courses in laser technology train students for careers in many fields, including medicine, and telecommunications. Several vocational/technical schools offer associate's degrees and certificates in laser technology, while many others incorporate the subject into other programs within their science departments.
Laser technology programs give students the skills needed to work with laser, fiber-optic, and electro-optical technology. Certificate programs, open to high school graduates, require about a year to complete. Associate degree programs may ask that applicants have completed some advanced mathematics courses. These programs call for a few general education courses and take about two years of study.
- Program Levels in Laser Technology: Certification program; associate's degree program.
- Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED.
- Program Length: One year (certification); two years (associate's degree).
- Online Availability: Online courses and programs are not generally available.
Certificate Program in Laser Technology
Certificate programs in laser technology give students a fundamental background in laser technology and prepare students with the necessary skills to install, operate and maintain laser, fiber-optic, and electro-optical for a range of applications. Most schools offer one-year programs that will provide enough training for graduates to seek entry-level positions as laser technicians. Some courses may include:
- Introduction to computer systems
- Electronics for technicians
- Geometric optics
- Fiber optic communications
- Instrumentation and measurement
Associate in Science in Laser Technology
The associate in science program offers students instruction into the practical application of light, optics, and electronics, which are the three fundamental aspects of laser technology. Students acquire a foundation of knowledge in such areas as laser systems, electronics, photonics, fiber optics, and electro optics. An associate in science degree typically leads to careers in fields as diverse as medical laser technology, alternative energy development and implementation, military applications, and aerospace technology. Courses may include:
- Electric circuits
- Introduction to lasers
- Wave optics
- Sensors and data acquisition
- Industrial laser applications
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The demand for knowledgeable laser technicians will increase over the course of the next decade, especially as telecommunication technology advances and widespread use of laser technology and fiber optics increases. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), laser and fiber optics technicians will see the most expansion in their fields, and there will be a need for more technicians who are able to install, maintain, and repair fiber optic and electro optics equipment.
There are several laser-based professions in a variety of fields, and these various positions have a large salary range. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2014, the median salary for a fiber optics technician working in telecommunications was $54,450 per year. Industrial machinists who operate laser cutters or laser beam machines earned a median of $39,980 per year. Aerospace engineers, who work on a variety of laser applications for the military, earned a median salary of $105,380.