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Studies & Degrees in Laser Technology

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From cell phones to smart bombs, lasers play a prominent role in a variety of modern technologies. Designing, maintaining, repairing, and improving laser-driven technology is a complex task for engineers and technicians, and is a great way to leave your mark on cutting-edge technology. Applied optics and laser technology, like most fields in engineering technology, typically leads to jobs as a technician. These individuals assist engineers in industry, academia, or private laboratories.
Personal Qualities
  • Methodical, systematic way of thinking
  • Problem-solving skills and strong mathematical ability
  • Patience and diligence, ability to work on a single project for an extended period of time
  • Fascination with high-tech gadgets and devices
  • Steady hand and ability to work with extremely delicate technology
Study Options
Studying applied optics and laser technology generally leads to an Associates Degree. At the Bachelor’s level or beyond, most students in this field will be in programs with names like “optical engineering” or simply “optics” rather than laser technology. An Associates Degree program in laser technology is an excellent, and usually fairly quick, way to get into the field, and involves focused coursework that emphasizes real-world applications. For those who want to continue their studies at four-year colleges or in grad school, it’s important to gain a solid base in physics and math, as advanced degrees in optics are usually more theoretical and less applied.
Studying applied optics and laser technology is a great way to get your degree quickly and get out into the workforce. While engineers and those with more advanced degrees typically have more lucrative jobs, they also have to commit considerably more time and money up front. If several years of advanced schooling is unappealing or unfeasible for you, then an Associates Degree in applied optics and laser technology is a good bet.
Career Options
Due to the large number and variety of technologies that rely on lasers, there are numerous industries where optical and laser technicians can find employment. Consumer electronics and entertainment, for example, is an industry that has a rapidly-growing need for laser technicians and optics experts. Similarly, retail businesses are finding numerous uses for lasers, including product scanners and innovative store displays. Of course, defense and physics research are also possibilities for the most well-qualified technicians.
Regardless of the industry, the job of a laser technician is usually fairly uniform: they assist engineers and research scientists in building and testing experimental laser systems, and using the findings to design more efficient or effective products. They work closely with top experts in the field, and their innovations can create major changes in the ever-evolving world of advanced technology.