“The first laser company in the world, Spectra-Physics, was founded in 1960 here in Silicon Valley,” said Dr. Sydney Sukuta, professor of physics and laser technology at SJCC.
It’s partially due to this long history that the Bay Area is a great place to pursue a career in laser tech. Not only that, the laser industry’s growth shows no signs of slowing down. Whether you’re looking to make a complete professional shift or you want to move up at your current job, SJCC’s Laser Technology Program has the potential to drastically improve your tech career.
At San José City College we know that laser tech is the future. Today, we’re going to explore why that’s true and tell you all about our excellent programs. Watch out — you just might be inspired to make laser tech your future.
Laser Technology is Critical to Modern Manufacturing
If you’re not already a tech professional, you might be surprised to learn that laser is actually an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” And since its discovery, laser technology has been a crucial part of many manufacturing processes.
Common Applications of Laser Technology
Lasers are extremely versatile. Laser technology is often used for things like imprinting, drilling, cutting, wire stripping, welding, ablation, and so much more (ASME).
It is an irreplaceable technology with tons of critical applications, especially for micro and nano materials. Ever noticed that most technologies keep shrinking in size? This, among many other factors, makes lasers essential in modern manufacturing.
Laser Technology Powers Essential Industries
According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), “lasers are one of the most widely used tools in manufacturing and can create fine features that are difficult or impossible to make using traditional machining equipment.”
More importantly, lots of these tiny processes are the most essential in our everyday lives. Use of lasers is extremely common in a variety of indispensable areas — like microelectronics, medicine, nuclear energy, telecommunication, biotechnology, and data storage (to name a few).
Now, let’s explore how SJCC can help you break into this prosperous industry.
SJCC’s Laser Technology Program Perfectly Blends Theory and Practice
According to SJCC Laser Technology, “emphasis is placed on both theory and hands-on skills, so you learn the vital link between engineers’ ‘blueprints’ and their real-world implementations.”
We offer the perfect blend — education that teaches you how to do a real job, while also giving you the fundamentals of the science behind it, so that you can confidently navigate your workplace.
Of course, there are few others who enjoy the benefits of a Silicon Valley address and network. But it is passionate faculty and a dynamic curriculum that make the biggest impact on our students.
Here’s what makes our program unique, and why all our students will tell you that SJCC’s Laser Technology Program won’t disappoint.
Personalize Your Laser Tech Education
SJCC is the only bay area community college that offers two certificates (levels 1 and 3) as well as an AS Degree in Laser Technology. So you can customize your education to meet highly specific career goals.
Imagine you already work at a laser company as an assembler, but you’d like to advance to a laser technician. You could take a course designed specifically for that role, or take a few more and get your certificate.
“Each lab is designed to meet a specific job function and each course a specific job title, such as laser test tech, additive manufacturing tech, laser alignment/manufacturing tech, and CNC laser tech,” said Dr. Sukuta, who has collaborated with laser company giants like Coherent, Spectra-Physics, and Lumentum over the years.
All courses are designed with employment in mind. But if you’re just diving into the field, or you already know you’ll want to continue your education beyond SJCC, the 2 year associate’s degree might be the choice for you. Everyone’s educational journey is unique.
Learn the Practical Skills to Work in the Laser Tech Industry Fast
Laser tech might seem intimidating, but since classes are intentionally designed to prepare you for the workplace, you’ll be able to walk into the room confidently on your first day at a laser company.
“Dr. Sukuta helped me understand lasers in almost a ‘math-free’ way. So if math is a problem, worry not, for he mostly focuses on the practical skills needed by employers,” said former SJCC student, Anh Trinh.
“My teaching philosophy is to teach what they will find useful at work,” said Dr. Sukuta. “The equipment used in our labs is identical to that used in companies.”
Our classes are also tailored to local employers, some of the most advanced laser companies in the world, and they are always evolving. “Our program is vital and relevant because it is continuously updated based on industry standards and in cooperation with our Advisory and Curriculum Committee chaired by Dr. Norman Hodgson of Coherent Inc.,” says the SJCC Laser Tech website.
We make an effort to stay involved so that you can get connected.
Connect with Bay Area Laser Companies
SJCC laser tech faculty are experienced professionals, so they also have strong links to Silicon Valley laser companies.
In addition to our adaptive curriculum, classes regularly offer technical presentations from industry personnel, allowing students to make direct connections with potential employers. Dr. Sukuta also organizes a Meet and Greet Job Fair, to further support students who are looking for employment.
“It is our strategy to always keep industry engaged rather than teach ‘in a vacuum,’” Dr. Sukuta said.
Pursue Laser Technician Jobs & Salary Potential
Now let’s explore the types of jobs you can get after studying laser technology at SJCC. Here are just a few.
- Manufacturing Technician/Engineer
- Laser Systems Test Technician/Engineer
- Laser Application Technician/Engineer
- New Product Introduction (NPI) Engineer
- Opto-Mechanical Technician
- Sales and Marketing
- Customer Support
If you’re working in the laser industry, salary potential is quite high, especially considering that most of these jobs don’t require a 4 year degree. According to salary.com, Laser Systems Engineers and NPI Engineers both make an annual salary close to or above $100,000.
With this sort of career potential, SJCC laser tech students consistently agree that this program is life-changing.
“The laser technology program at SJCC gave me the skills and confidence to work alongside renowned scientists and engineers at a job I could only dream of having before starting the program,” said, David Dutra, a former SJCC student. “The amount of effort and energy that you put into this program (i.e. work ethic, studying, projects), I guarantee you will get back tenfold in your career in photonics and the laser industry.”
Discover Your Future as a Laser Technician Today!
The laser technology industry offers incredible professional opportunities in the Bay Area, but you need the proper education and experience to tap into this growing field. That’s where SJCC comes in.
San José City College has an incredible track record for supporting students on this new career path. Innovative teaching, strong Silicon Valley links, and brilliant faculty — SJCC has everything you need to unleash your brilliance as a laser technician. So check out our Laser Technology Program today!