Photonics Technicians
SOC: 17-3029.08


Build, install, test, or maintain optical or fiber optic equipment, such as lasers, lenses, or mirrors, using spectrometers, interferometers, or related equipment.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
70,100 employed

Projected (2024):
69,900 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Coating Manager
  • Engineering Technician (Engineering Tech)
  • Engineering Technologist
  • Fiber Optic Assembler
  • Fiber Optic Technician
  • Fiber Optics Supervisor
  • Fiber Optics Technician
  • Laser Specialist
  • Laser Technician
  • Laser/Electro-Optics Technician (LEOT)
  • Lead Technician
  • Optical Engineering Technician
  • Optical Fabrication Technician
  • Optical Manufacturing Technician
  • Optics Manufacturing Technician
  • Optics Test Technician
  • Optoelectronic Technician
  • Optomechanical Technician
  • Photonic Laboratory Technician (Photonic Lab Tech)
  • Photonics Engineering Technician
  • Photonics Engineering Technologist
  • Photonics Technician
  • Precision Optics Technician
  • Ruling Technician
  • Service Technician
  • Strain Technician
  • Test Technician
  • Thin-film Technician

  • Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed


    Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.


    Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Equipment Selection
  • Installation
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Troubleshooting
  • Repairing
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Geography
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Monitor inventory levels and order supplies as necessary.
  • Maintain clean working environments, according to clean room standards.
  • Test or perform failure analysis for optomechanical or optoelectrical products, according to test plans.
  • Assist scientists or engineers in the conduct of photonic experiments.
  • Perform diagnostic analyses of processing steps, using analytical or metrological tools, such as microscopy, profilometry, or ellipsometry devices.
  • Mix, pour, or use processing chemicals or gases according to safety standards or established operating procedures.
  • Design, build, or modify fixtures used to assemble parts.
  • Lay out cutting lines for machining, using drafting tools.
  • Assist engineers in the development of new products, fixtures, tools, or processes.
  • Assemble or adjust parts or related electrical units of prototypes to prepare for testing.
  • Splice fibers, using fusion splicing or other techniques.
  • Terminate, cure, polish, or test fiber cables with mechanical connectors.
  • Set up or operate prototype or test apparatus, such as control consoles, collimators, recording equipment, or cables.
  • Set up or operate assembly or processing equipment, such as lasers, cameras, die bonders, wire bonders, dispensers, reflow ovens, soldering irons, die shears, wire pull testers, temperature or humidity chambers, or optical spectrum analyzers.
  • Repair or calibrate products, such as surgical lasers.
  • Perform laser seam welding, heat treatment, or hard facing operations.
  • Fabricate devices, such as optoelectronic or semiconductor devices.
  • Build prototype optomechanical devices for use in equipment such as aerial cameras, gun sights, or telescopes.
  • Assemble fiber optical, optoelectronic, or free-space optics components, subcomponents, assemblies, or subassemblies.
  • Adjust or maintain equipment, such as lasers, laser systems, microscopes, oscilloscopes, pulse generators, power meters, beam analyzers, or energy measurement devices.
  • Assemble components of energy-efficient optical communications systems involving photonic switches, optical backplanes, or optoelectronic interfaces.
  • Assemble devices or equipment to be used in green technology applications, including solar energy, high efficiency solid state lighting, energy management, smart buildings, or green processes.
  • Build photonics tools to be applied to electrical grids to detect hot spots, such as failing insulators or conductors.
  • Develop solar power sources for lasers used in fiber optics.
  • Fabricate sensors to be used to control wind turbines.
  • Monitor mechanical factors, such as turbine load or strain information.
  • Compute or record photonic test data.
  • Document procedures, such as calibration of optical or fiber optic equipment.
  • Recommend optical or optic equipment design or material changes to reduce costs or processing times.
  • Optimize photonic process parameters by making prototype or production devices.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Abrasive grinding machines
  • Analog oscilloscopes
  • Atomic force microscopes AFM
  • Autocollimators
  • Bench refractometers
  • Binocular light compound microscopes
  • Biosafety cabinets
  • Bit error rate testers BERT
  • Calipers
  • Chemical protective face shields
  • Chemical vapor deposition CVD systems
  • Collimators
  • Common path interferometers
  • Computerized numerical control CNC band saws
  • Computerized numerical control CNC drill presses
  • Computerized numerical control CNC lathes
  • Computerized numerical control CNC machining centers
  • Contact profilometers
  • Coordinate measuring machines CMM
  • Cutoff saws
  • Dataloggers
  • Depth gauges
  • Die bonders
  • Die saws
  • Die shears
  • Diffractometers
  • Digital logic analyzers
  • Digital logic probes
  • Digital oscilloscopes
  • Diode lasers
  • Electron beam evaporators
  • Electron cyclotron resonance ECR reactive ion etchers RIE
  • Ellipsometers
  • Excimer lasers
  • Fabry-Perot interferometers
  • Fiber cleavers
  • Fiber optic fault locators
  • Fiber polishers
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fusion splicers
  • Gas lasers
  • Hand calculators
  • Hardness testers
  • Humidity chambers
  • Ion lasers
  • Isolators
  • Lab jacks
  • Laboratory forceps
  • Laser cutting machines
  • Laser drills
  • Laser heat treatment equipment
  • Laser marking machines
  • Laser welders
  • Liquid dye lasers
  • Logic pulsers
  • Loupes
  • Mach-Zehnder interferometers
  • Magnifiers
  • Mechanical steppers
  • Michelson interferometers
  • Micrometers
  • Micropositioners
  • Monochromators
  • Multifunction digital multimeters
  • Non contact profilometers
  • Optical alignment scopes
  • Optical comparators
  • Optical mounts
  • Optical power meters
  • Optical rails
  • Optical spectrum analyzers
  • Oscilloscopes
  • Personal computers
  • Phase-shifting interferometers
  • Photoelectric power meters
  • Plasma strippers
  • Positioning stages
  • Protective gloves
  • Protective gowns
  • Rapid thermal annealers RTA
  • Reflow ovens
  • Safety glasses
  • Scanning electron microscopes SEM
  • Semiconductor detectors
  • Semiconductor parameter analyzers
  • Shearing interferometers
  • Signal generators
  • Soldering irons
  • Solid state lasers
  • Spectrometers
  • Spectrophotometers
  • Spherometers
  • Sputter deposition systems
  • Temperature chambers
  • Twyman-Green interferometers
  • Vacuum deposition systems
  • Vernier micrometers
  • Wafer bonding systems
  • Wavelength meters
  • Wire bonders
  • Wire pull testers
  • Wire saws
  • Computer aided design CAD software
  • Computer aided manufacturing CAM software
  • Data acquisition software
  • Database software
  • Image processing software
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Presentation software
  • SAP software
  • Statistical analysis software
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • Web browser software
  • Word processing software
  • ZEMAX Optical Design Program

  • architecture and engineering

    industry stats

    SOC: 17-0000

    Total Employed: 2,475,390

    Average Annual Salary: $82,980