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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Preparing technicians for photonics industries and organizations
Author(s): John Souders; Dan Hull

Paper Abstract

U.S. photonics organizations need about 800 new photonics technicians each year. Thirty-one community and technical colleges have approximately 700 students enrolled in photonics related programs; about 275 of them complete their coursework and enter the workforce each year. A disparity exists between the demand and supply of qualified photonics technicians in the U.S. OP-TEC, the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education is a consortium of seven colleges, under the leadership of the University of Central Florida, and sponsored by NSF. OP-TEC’s mission is to increase the quantity and quality of photonics technicians prepared at two-year colleges. OP-TEC maintains the National Photonics Skill Standards for Technicians, provides curriculum models, teaching materials, faculty training/professional development and planning services to strengthen existing college photonics programs and to attract and support new ones. OP-TEC is converting its text materials to E-Books to support students in technical programs. Through OP-TEC’s recruitment efforts 84 additional colleges are interested in initiating new photonics programs. The OP-TEC Photonics College Network (OPCN) consists of 28 colleges that are currently providing photonics education. This fall OPCN will lead an additional national effort to further educate employed photonics technicians through on-line courses, complemented by lab experiences at nearby colleges. OP-TEC is expanding its outreach to photonics employers and colleges by regionalizing its approach to offering its services. OP-TEC is also planning to develop new curricula and instructional materials for AAS programs to prepare Precision Optics Technicians. This paper will detail OP-TEC’s work with particular emphases on its materials and services.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 October 2012
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 8481, Optics Education and Outreach II, 848104 (15 October 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.928882
Show Author Affiliations
John Souders, National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (United States)
Dan Hull, National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8481:
Optics Education and Outreach II
G. Groot Gregory, Editor(s)

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