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The field of optics offers many things that, at the surface, the layman can get excited about.

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How to become an optical system technologist
Find out the skills needed for a career as an optical system technologist—sponsored by Monroe Community College (MCC).
By the Next Step staff

How to become an optical technologist, Monroe community collegeWhat they do:
Optical 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 other fields.

From someone who knows:
Emmett 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.

“The 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:
For 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.

Vital Stats

Associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree and work experience depending on job.

Average salary:
$35,000; varies based on education, experience and location.

Random fact:
Optical technology is used in everyday applications, such as grocery store scanners, computer display monitors and car headlights.

Sponsored by:
Monroe Community College (MCC)

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