Laser technicians construct, test and repair laser devices, applying both
the theory and principles of laser engineering and electronic circuits. The
best way to describe laser devices is that they amplify and concentrate light
waves and send them out in a narrow, very intense beam. The word laser is
actually an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission
There are three types of lasers: solid state, which are high-powered lasers
such as those used in the military, semiconductor lasers like in CD players,
and gas lasers used in medical equipment.
Technicians install and align mirrors in laser units and operate vacuum
pumps and gas transfer equipment to clear out tubes and fill laser bodies
with gases. Laser technicians may also operate precision equipment used in
manufacturing, testing and measurement or inspection.
Most technicians work under supervision in workshops or laboratories. They
might also work in factories or other facilities where lasers are used and
Most laser technicians are men, but that's beginning to change, says Kara
Putnam, who works as a laser technician at an eye clinic. "When I was in school
a couple of years ago, I was the only girl in my class. There were a couple
of women in the years ahead of me, but there were more behind me."
Putnam believes one reason for the male domination of the profession is
that service area technicians are sometimes required to move the equipment.
With machines that can be as large as a Volkswagen Beetle, that's quite a
Tracy Kubo works for a laser manufacturing company in California. The big
boom is in manufacturing, where technicians are needed to rebuild lasers.
Within that area, semiconductors are the big target market.
"Industry is looking for bigger lasers to be used in research," says Kubo.
"All the laser technicians I've ever known worked in the manufacturing area
doing things like rebuilding lasers."
Construct, test and repair laser devices