Laser Technician School and College Program Overviews
Laser technology plays an enormous role in our daily lives and is expected to become even more important as the 21st century progresses. Several schools offer associate's degrees and certificates in laser technology while many others incorporate the subject into other programs within their science departments.
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.
Most certificate programs do not require any standardized test scores or previous college experience. However, many programs do require a high school degree or a GED. This type of program is perfect for students looking for a quick entry into the professional world or for working professionals unable to commit to a full degree program.
- Introduction to computer systems
- Electronics for technicians
- Geometric optics
- Fiber optic communications
- Instrumentation and measurement
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.
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.
Unlike a certificate program, an associate in science program requires a bit more educational experience from its applicants. Many schools look for students who have a background in trigonometry, algebra and physics. For students with less experience in these subjects, many schools offer prerequisite courses that must be taken in advance of any coursework in laser technology.
- Electric circuits
- Introduction to lasers
- Wave optics
- Sensors and data acquisition
- Industrial laser applications
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 2012, the median salary for a fiber optics technician working in telecommunications was $51,410 per year. Industrial machinists who operate laser cutters or laser beam machines earned an average of $39,500 per year. Aerospace engineers, who work on a variety of laser applications for the military, earned a median salary of $103,720.
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