Industry Demand Report

Industry Demand for Two-Year College Graduates in Optics and Photonics Technology

A 2012 Industry Survey of Current and Future Demand for Two-Year Degreed Photonics Technicians

A national survey of U.S. employers, conducted at the University of North Texas Survey Research Center, has identified more than 1,500 current jobs for photonics techs that need to be filled this year. This need will increase by 4,100 more new jobs over the next five years. Employers polled for this study in early 2012 said that jobs for photonics techs were available and not being filled. The average starting salary exceeds $41,000.

The 2012 study, commissioned by OP-TEC, the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education, targeted 4,217 U.S. employers.

Photonics technicians, educated and trained at U.S. community colleges, 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.

Key findings of the study included the following estimates:

  • 19,128 photonics technicians with two-year degrees are currently employed in the U.S.
  • 1,592 additional photonics technicians with two-year degrees are needed next year; 4,115 will be needed over the next five years.
  • Employer demand for photonics technicians with two-year degrees has increased since 2009, whereas the national unemployement rate has remained above 8%.
  • A large gap exists between the demand and the supply of completers from two-year colleges.
  • The average entry level salary for photonics technicians with two-year degrees is $41,137; a 5% increase from 2009.
  • Over 1,000 U.S. employers are interested in further education for their employed photonics technicians.

The thirty, two-year colleges with photonics programs in the U.S. currently graduate 250-300 technicians per year (approximately 15% of the demand). OP-TEC’s goal is to help colleges meet this employment demand by starting new programs and increasing the enrollments at colleges where photonics education is currently offered.

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Survey conducted by: University of North Texas Survey Research Center
Prepared by:
Darrell M. Hull, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of North Texas
Paul Ruggiere, PhD, Director, Survey Research Center, University of North Texas
Paul Illich, PhD, Vice President, Research, Planning, and Technology, McLennan Community College

Midwest Photonics Education Center

Indian Hills Community College
626 Indian Hills Drive
Ottumwa, Iowa 52501
Mr. Greg Kepner
Director
Office: 641-683-5284
E-mail: greg.kepner@indianhills.edu
Website: http://www.midwestphotonics.org
Specialization: Photonics in Manufacturing

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Laser and Fiber Optics Regional Education Center

Indian River State College
3209 Virginia Avenue
Fort Pierce, FL 34981
Dr. Chrys Panayiotou
Director
Office: 772-462-7621
E-mail: cpanayio@irsc.edu
Website: http://www.laser-tec.org
Specialization: Fiber Optics

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Texas State Technical College

3801 Campus Drive
Waco, Texas 76705
Mr. John O. Pedrotti
Department Chair, Lasers & Nanotechnology
Office: 254-867-3173
E-mail: john.pedrotti@tstc.edu
Website:http://www.tstc.edu/programs/LaserElectroOpticsTechnology
Specialization: Photonics in Opto-Electronics / Nano-Technology

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Irvine Valley College / Advanced Technology and Education Park (IVC / ATEP)

15445 Lansdowne Road
Tustin, California 92782
Brian Monacelli
Office: 949-282-2706
E-mail: IVCphotonics@IVC.edu
Website: http://academics.ivc.edu/physci/photonics
Specialization: Photonics in Education/Training for Employed Technicians

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Camden County College

200 College Drive
Blackwood, New Jersey 08012
Dr. Fred Seeber
Professor Emeritus, Physics and Photonics
Office: 856-227-7200 (ext. 4475)
E-mail: fseeber@camdencc.edu
Website:http://www.camdencc.edu/academics/departments/photonics-laser-electro-optic-tech/

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New York Photonics

Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster
Thomas Battley, Executive Director
1565 Jefferson Rd, #420
Rochester, New York 14623
Phone: 585-329-4029
E-mail: tbattley@newyorkphotonics.org
Website – New York Photonics: www.newyorkphotonics.org

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New Mexico Optics Industry Association

Jim McNalley, Chairman
851 University Blvd., SE
Suite 203
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106
Phone: 505-767-1200
E-mail: info@nmoia.org
Website: www.nmoptics.com

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Florida Photonics Cluster

Florida Photonics Cluster
James E. Pearson, Executive Director
12424 Research Parkway, Ste. 100
Orlando, Florida 32826
E-mail: jpearson@creol.ucf.edu
Website: www.floridaphotonicscluster.org

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Colorado Photonics Industry Association

Garry Gorsuch, Director
5733 Central Ave.
Boulder, Colorado 80301
Phone: 303-834-1022
E-mail: exec@coloradophotonics.org
Website: www.coloradophotonics.org

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Carolinas Photonics Consortium

Jeff Conley, Director
1754 Woodruff Rd., Ste. 101
Greenville, South Carolina 29607
Phone: 864-325-4700
E-mail: jcon@charter.net
Website: www.carolinasphotonics.com

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Arizona Optics Industry Association

Bob Breault
P.O. Box 30205
Tucson, Arizona 85751
E-mail: bbreault@breault.com
Website: www.aoia.org

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Indian Hills Community College

626 Indian Hills Drive
Ottumwa, Iowa 52501
Mr. Greg Kepner
Department Chair, Industrial Technology
Office: 641-683-5284
E-mail: gkepner@indianhills.edu
Website: http://www.indianhills.edu/courses/tech/laser.html
Specialization: Photonics in Manufacturing

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