Career

Engineering

 
Engineering Careers | Optical / Laser Engineer

Optical / Laser Engineer

What Does a Professional in this Career Do?

Researches and develops technology that uses the science of light (optics). Optical technology includes fiber optic cables, which enable high-speed internet connections across long distances, and lasers, which can be used to make very small incisions and measurements. Works closely with scientists and engineers from other fields on advances in technology.

Job Outlook

There were 66 Optical / Laser Engineer job postings in North Carolina in the past year and 3144 in the United States.

In combination with other careers in the Optical / Laser Engineer industry, which includes the Optical / Laser Engineer career, the following graph shows the number of people employed for each year since 2012:

Salary

Many new Optical / Laser Engineer jobs have salaries estimated to be in the following ranges, based on the requirements and responsibilities listed in job postings from the past year.

National

The average estimated salary in the United States for this career, based on job postings in the past year, is $79,785.

State

The average estimated salary in North Carolina for this career, based on job postings in the past year, is $57,737.

Percentiles represent the percentage that is lower than the value. For example, 25% of estimated salaries for Optical / Laser Engineer postings in the United States in the past year were lower than $49,775.

Education and Experience

Posted Optical / Laser Engineer jobs typically require the following level of education. The numbers below are based on job postings in the United States from the past year. Not all job postings list education requirements.

Education LevelPercentage
Associate's Degree2%
Bachelor's Degree36%
Master's Degree45%
Doctoral Degree4%
Other12%

Posted Optical / Laser Engineer jobs typically require the following number of years of experience. The numbers below are based on job postings in the United States from the past year. Not all job postings list experience requirements.

Years of ExperiencePercentage
0 to 2 years27%
3 to 5 years44%
6 to 8 years13%
9+ years16%

Skills

Below are listings of the most common general and specialized skills Optical / Laser Engineer positions expect applicants to have as well as the most common skills that distinguish individuals from their peers. The percentage of job postings that specifically mention each skill is also listed.

Baseline Skills

A skill that is required across a broad range of occupations, including this one.

  • Communication Skills (31%)
  • Troubleshooting (21%)
  • Research (20%)
  • Teamwork / Collaboration (20%)
  • Problem Solving (16%)

Defining Skills

A core skill for this occupation, it occurs frequently in job postings.

  • Physics (36%)
  • MATLAB (25%)
  • Zemax (21%)
  • Optical design (19%)
  • Fiber Optics (9%)

Necessary Skills

A skill that is requested frequently in this occupation but isn’t specific to it.

  • Python (17%)
  • Simulation (15%)
  • Systems Engineering (14%)
  • Data Analysis (12%)
  • Product Development (12%)

Distinguishing Skills

A skill that may distinguish a subset of the occupation.

  • Hardware Experience (6%)
  • Optical System Design and Analysis (4%)
  • Image Processing (4%)
  • Tolerance Analysis (4%)
  • Digital Signal Processing (DSP) (3%)

Alternative Job Titles

Sometimes employers post jobs with Optical / Laser Engineer skills but a different job title. Some common alternative job titles include:

  • Optical Engineer
  • Optical Technician
  • Senior Optical Engineer
  • Optical Staff
  • Optical Systems Engineer

Similar Occupations

If you are interested in exploring occupations with similar skills, you may want to research the following job titles. Note that we only list occupations that have at least one corresponding NC State Online and Distance Education program.

Common Employers

Here are the employers that have posted the most Optical / Laser Engineer jobs in the past year along with how many they have posted.

United States

  • Raytheon (185)
  • L3Harris (96)
  • Facebook (90)
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation (80)
  • The Boeing Company (50)

North Carolina

  • Ifb Solutions (11)
  • Winston Salem Industries For The Bl (8)
  • Cisco Systems Incorporated (2)
  • Cushman & Wakefield (2)
  • Kci Telecommunications (2)

NC State Programs Relevant to this Career

If you are interested in preparing for a career in this field, the following NC State Online and Distance Education programs offer a great place to start!