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Laser and Optical Technology/Technician

Program Description

Just the Facts

Laser and Optical Technology/Technician. A program that prepares individuals to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of engineers and other professionals engaged in developing and using lasers and other optical for commercial or research purposes. Includes instruction in laser and optical principles, testing and maintenance procedures, safety precautions, specific applications to various tasks, and report preparation.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Master's degree

High School Courses

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See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

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Related Programs

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Additional Information

Laser technology students are learning to master some of the coolest gadgets of the high-tech age. These students learn to operate and service lasers in medical or industrial settings.

Most institutions offer two-year associate of science (AS) or associate of advanced science (AAS) degrees. A few offer shorter certificate programs.

Mari-Lyn Hunt works in patient education at an eye institute. "Most training is done on the job by a senior technician," she says. Hunt also says that most people working with lasers in the medical field have an RNA (registered nursing assistant) or dental assisting background.

Do your research to make sure a program matches your interest. Program content varies widely from place to place.

For example, a school near many large medical centers may choose to focus entirely on medical laser technology. But a school near a large manufacturing or industrial center may opt for the industrial side of laser technology.

Medical and industrial are the two basic tracks. However, some institutions make other distinctions. Camden County College in New Jersey, for example, offers a fiber-optics track.

Fred Seeber is an instructor at Camden. He says a laser technology program should have certain basic courses. These include introduction to lasers, laser safety, laser materials, laser measurements and laser devices.

Daniel Sczygelski is a former laser technology instructor at Northcentral Technical College in Wisconsin. He says a medical laser track includes courses in medical terminology, introduction to surgery and surgical equipment in addition to the basic laser courses.

And an industrial laser track, he says, should include courses in AutoCAD (computer-aided design), computer numerical control (CNC) programming, machine shop and automation systems.

"It's quite scientific, quite involved. They have to have a scientific mind and obviously they have to enjoy the lab side of it," says Seeber.

He adds that homework comes in a variety of forms. "It's book work, it's projects, it's labs and it's also research on the Internet." Most programs also offer students the opportunity to gain practical laser experience.

In high school, take as much math and science as possible. Focus on algebra, chemistry, physics and geometry. "Those going into an industrial job might consider taking additional shop classes," says Sczygelski.

Explore extracurricular activities dealing with astronomy, science, math or debating, he suggests.

Besides tuition and books, you might have to buy things like safety glasses, a calculator and a computer.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Engineering Technicians

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