What they do:
systems technologists can make or use tools to mill, grind and polish
optics systems. They also might work with engineers in research,
development, design, production, quality control, test and evaluation
of optical components and systems, or in sales and service. Jobs exist
in optics manufacturing, optical testing, fiber optics, digital
imaging, medical optics, printing, robotics, laser fusion and many
From someone who knows:
J. Ientilucci is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Rochester
Institute of Technology. He got his start with an associate’s degree in
optical engineering from Monroe Community College. Ientilucci was drawn to optics because of its practical applications.
labs were very hands-on. We even fabricated and tested a precision lens
from a flat, ‘blank’ piece of glass,” he says. “The field of optics
offers many things that, at the surface, the layman can get excited
about. For example, everyone loves lasers. Whether it’s a laser pointer
or a laser show, people are fascinated by them. However, not many
people know how they actually work. I love explaining that to them.
Here are other examples: the human eye or a pair of glasses. How about
your digital camera, which contains an optical system? These all fall
under the umbrella of optics.”
Your next step:
a career in optics, study optical engineering, physics, math, computer
science, mechanics and/or electronics in college. Class topics can
include electro-optical devices, lasers, technical math and fiber
optics. Math skills are key—take as much math in high school as
possible, as well as physics. Successful optical systems technologists
also work well with their hands.
Associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree and work experience depending on job.
$35,000; varies based on education, experience and location.
technology is used in everyday applications, such as grocery store
scanners, computer display monitors and car headlights.
Monroe Community College (MCC)