More than 2,100 jobs for photonics technicians need to be filled this year, according to a survey conducted by the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC).
The survey, conducted among 3,989 U.S. employers in early 2009, also noted that the need will increase by 5,900 more new jobs over the next five years. Across the photonics industry, the greatest needs are in R&D and production and manufacturing.
Photonics technicians are proficient in the scientific principles of optics, fiber optics, and lasers, and the processes and equipment incorporating these devices in electronic and electro-optics systems used for manufacturing, defense, homeland security, medical equipment, telecommunications, environmental monitoring, lighting, displays, and entertainment.
OP-TEC has identified 28 colleges in the U.S. with two-year programs in photonics programs. These programs currently graduate fewer than 250 techs per year, less than 15% of the demand. OP-TEC Executive Director Dan Hull said the organization's goal is to help colleges meet employment demands by starting new programs and increasing the enrollments at colleges where photonics education is currently offered.
For more information about OP-TEC or the full survey report, see op-tec.org/2009survey.