Medical laser technicians include both professionals who operate lasers for aesthetic procedures in dermatologist office, spas, and other locations, and those that build, repair and maintain laser equipment. The job description differs for each of these careers, as do training and salary rates. Both need to pursue necessary education and certification to work with this kind of technology.
Medical laser technicians may operate laser systems during aesthetic procedures (aesthetic medical laser technicians) or repair laser systems to ensure proper use and maintenance (medical laser repair technicians). Interested candidates should attend a vocational school and obtain state-regulated certification.
|Careers||Medical Laser Technician||Laser Repair Technician|
|Required Education||Completion of an accredited laser technician program||Some formal training required|
|Available Certifications||Certified Laser Operator||Certified Laser Repair Technician|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||12% for skincare specialists||6% for medical equipment repairers|
|Average Annual Salary (2015)*||$35,300 for skincare specialists||$49,400 for medical equipment repairers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Descriptions for Medical Laser Technicians
While medical technicians may work with lasers to assist with a variety of procedures, such as LASIK and endoscopic surgeries, the job title medical laser technician usually refers to one of two positions: an aesthetic medical laser technician or a medical laser repair technician.
Aesthetic Medical Laser Technician
Aesthetic medical laser technicians operate lasers in clinics, medical spas and dermatologist offices. They perform anti-aging or skincare procedures that may help patients feel more self-confident. Common cosmetic procedures include hair, cellulite or tattoo removal, as well as making age spots or veins appear less noticeable.
To become an aesthetic laser technician, a person should attend vocational school to learn how to use laser systems safely and effectively. Once a student completes an accredited laser technician program he or she can obtain certification from the National Council on Laser Excellence (NCLE). The requirements for becoming a Certified Laser Operator include hands-on clinical experience and passing an exam.
Medical Laser Repair Technician
Medical laser repair technicians build, install and maintain laser systems. Some technicians may transport laser systems to spas and doctor's offices to assemble them, ensure proper alignment and train specialists on their safe and proper use, adhering to Food and Drug Administration requirements. They may be sent to troubleshoot or repair laser systems that have malfunctioned.
In some cases the role also involves sales. Medical laser technicians may be asked to help sell their company's products. But even the sales component requires extensive knowledge of the equipment. A technician must know how a laser system works to demonstrate its functionality to doctors and other buyers.
Interested candidates can attend vocational schools to learn about optics, mechanics and electrical parts. The NCLE also certifies laser repair technicians. The requirements for becoming a Certified Laser Repair Technician include hands-on clinical experience and passing an exam.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In 2015, aestheticians, or skincare specialists, earned an average annual salary of $35,300, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and medical equipment repairers earned $49,400 at that same time. The BLS predicted 12% employment growth for skincare specialists from 2014-2024, and a 6% increase for medical equipment repairers, during that same decade.
Medical laser technicians may operate lasers for cosmetic procedures, such as hair removal and anti-aging procedures. On the other hand, medical laser repair technicians are trained to build, repair and maintain this equipment. Both positions require knowledge of specialized laser equipment, and specialized certification is available for each role.