Optics Technicians


Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you are considering a career as an optics technician, you should take courses that provide a strong general background and prepare you for further study in technical fields, including mathematics, science, technical reading and writing, and shop. Courses in photography, particularly those involving darkroom work, are also valuable, since photography plays an important role in many fields where optics technicians work.

Postsecondary Training

There are only a few schools that offer specific training for optics technicians. A good alternate way to obtain advanced education is to attend a technical institute or community college where two- or three-year engineering or science programs are available and to pick out those courses best suited for a career as an optics technician.

During your first year of a two-year program, you should take courses in geometrical optics, trigonometry, lens polishing, technical writing, optical instruments, analytical geometry, and specifications writing. During your second year, you may take courses in physics, optical shop practices, manual preparation, mechanical drawing, and report preparation.

Some large corporations have training programs for beginning technicians. These programs are not always publicized and may take some searching to find. There are also some commercially run technical schools that provide training; however, they are often costly and should be investigated carefully, preferably by talking to former students, before undertaking such a program.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Except for those optics technicians who not only make but also dispense eyeglasses, there are no licensing requirements. However, in a few cases, optics technicians must be certified to manufacture and inspect instruments to be used in a government application or for medical or clinical purposes. In these instances, technicians should discuss any licensing or certification requirements with their employer or supervisor.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

No postsecondary degree is necessary to become an optics technician, but optics technician often acquire practice experience through a two-year program at a technical institute or community college. Training may also be acquired through some large corporations. To become an optics technician, one must have skills in deductive reasoning in order to solve problems; reading and following of instructions; mathematics to analyze, design, and troubleshoot one's work; and writing skills to report on testing results or problems encountered in their work. Helpful personality traits include dependability, attention to detail, initiative, and independence.

To be an optics technician, you should have a strong interest in and a good aptitude for mathematics and physics. Patience, care, and good manual skills are important to design precision telescopic lenses, grind and polish the glass elements, and assemble and align the instrument.