Career Profile: Optics Technician
Every day, people put on their glasses or contact lenses so that they can see better. Scientists use microscopes, and astronomers use telescopes. What do all of them have in common? All of them need optics technicians to help make and install lenses to help them see better.
People have been using lenses for about the last thousand years. One of the most common uses is to help shortsighted people see distances and farsighted people see close up. Making lenses like that involves very precise work, especially when people need their glasses for tasks like surgery or driving a vehicle.
A very small difference in how a lens is cut or ground can make it difficult for the person to see. When scientists are searching through lenses for stars in the sky or tiny bacteria, they need to be able to see exactly what is there.
This is where optics technicians can help. Most people in this area learn the work on the job from others with more experience, but taking courses at community colleges or trade schools can help. Optics technicians learn to design, make, assemble, or install lenses in all kinds of places, like aerial cameras, besides eyeglasses, telescopes, and microscopes. Some of the tasks they learn are grinding, polishing, and inspecting lenses. Working with contact lenses is also a possibility.
Optics technicians can work in any place where lenses are important. Stores where people buy glasses often have labs where they make the lenses, and optics technicians can often find work in these kinds of places. Salaries usually range from $13 to $17 per hour, and the minimum education is a high school diploma. For some jobs, a year or two of manufacturing experience might be necessary, and courses can be helpful. Apprenticeships are always useful in trades like this.
In some cases, optics technicians might be able to work in universities or other research facilities. These jobs are likely to pay more than the ones in opticians’ shops, but they can be very difficult to find. Working with scientific equipment can involve a lot of collaboration with other people who know what they want their equipment to do. Still, much of the work that optics technicians do is quite solitary as they work with making the lenses according to the requirements.
Working as an optics technician is not physically strenuous, but it can be tiring. People have to sit for many hours, working with instruments to make lenses as precisely as possible. Most of the work is indoors, although people who work on telescope lenses might occasionally be able to install them in outdoor locations. Otherwise, optics technicians normally work fairly regular hours.
Depending on the job, optics technicians might not have much contact with the public. They might work on their own in labs or rooms in the basements of shopping malls. In small shops, however, optics technicians might do many of the tasks that other people would normally do. Whether they work in commercial or research-based jobs, optics technicians can help many different people.
Career Research. “Optics Technician Career. http://career.iresearchnet.com/career-information/optics-technician-career/.
Glassdoor.com. “Optical Technician Salaries.” https://www.glassdoor.ca/Salaries/optical-technician-salary-SRCH_KO0,18.htm.
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Indeed.com. “Optical Technician Salaries in Canada.” https://ca.indeed.com/salaries/Optical-Technician-Salaries.
Study.com. “Optical Lab Technician: Job Description, Duties and Requirements.” https://study.com/articles/Optical_Lab_Technician_Job_Description_Duties_and_Requirements.html