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Photonics Engineer

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What Does it Take to Be a Photonics Engineer?

Occupation Description Design technologies specializing in light information or light energy, such as laser or fiber optics technology.

A Day in the Life of a Photonics Engineer

  • Conduct research on new photonics technologies.
  • Analyze, fabricate, or test fiber-optic links.
  • Determine commercial, industrial, scientific, or other uses for electro-optical applications or devices.
  • Design gas lasers, solid state lasers, infrared, or other light emitting or light sensitive devices.
  • Determine applications of photonics appropriate to meet product objectives or features.
  • Design, integrate, or test photonics systems or components.

Skills Needed to be a Photonics Engineer

Photonics Engineers state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

Types of Photonics Engineer

  • Optomechanical Engineer
  • Optoelectronics Engineer
  • Electro-optics Engineer
  • Electro-optical Engineer
  • Optical Systems Engineer

Is There Job Demand for Photonics Engineers?

There were about 132,500 jobs for Photonics Engineer in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6.4% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 8,500 new jobs for Photonics Engineer by 2026. The BLS estimates 9,500 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Photonics Engineers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Photonics Engineer are Nevada, Utah, and North Dakota. Watch out if you plan on working in Alaska, Minnesota, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Photonics Engineer Salary

Photonics Engineers make between $50,750 and $155,650 a year.

Salary Ranges for Photonics Engineers

Photonics Engineers who work in District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Photonics Engineers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $115,710
Alaska $114,040
Arizona $94,450
Arkansas $71,510
California $107,700
Colorado $111,610
Connecticut $100,230
District of Columbia $132,530
Florida $82,970
Georgia $93,580
Hawaii $96,940
Idaho $110,270
Illinois $87,220
Indiana $73,340
Iowa $78,230
Kansas $82,060
Kentucky $79,690
Louisiana $90,580
Maine $85,800
Maryland $118,420
Massachusetts $109,220
Michigan $90,420
Minnesota $101,620
Mississippi $79,630
Missouri $86,850
Montana $79,590
Nebraska $82,760
Nevada $94,950
New Hampshire $99,070
New Jersey $114,990
New Mexico $114,790
New York $95,270
North Carolina $83,900
North Dakota $83,270
Ohio $93,370
Oklahoma $83,080
Oregon $90,720
Pennsylvania $96,550
Rhode Island $95,790
South Carolina $100,750
South Dakota $84,320
Tennessee $82,030
Texas $113,370
Utah $89,810
Vermont $81,960
Virginia $118,390
Washington $104,890
West Virginia $91,420
Wisconsin $86,600
Wyoming $97,040

What Tools & Technology do Photonics Engineers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Photonics Engineers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Python
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Microsoft Visio
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • Microsoft Visual Basic
  • National Instruments LabVIEW
  • C
  • Dassault Systemes CATIA
  • Wolfram Research Mathematica
  • Microsoft .NET Framework
  • Mathsoft Mathcad
  • C#
  • C++
  • Pattern recognition software
  • Spectroscopy software

How to Become a Photonics Engineer

Education needed to be a Photonics Engineer:

Photonics Engineer Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Photonics Engineer Work Experience

Where do Photonics Engineers Work?

Photonics Engineer Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Photonics Engineers work:

Photonics Engineer Industries

Similar Careers

Career changers with experience as a Photonics Engineer sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


Image Credit: NASA via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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