man using optics equipment

As you’ve probably heard us mention before, Colorado’s manufacturing industry is booming unlike ever before.

To respond to the needs of industry—and help our students train for these good jobs—FRCC opened the Center for Integrated Manufacturing in Longmont, which greatly expands local training options in manufacturing.

There are four programs within the center, one of which focuses on Optics Technology.

A Two-Semester Certificate

Optics technology is all around you—and it’s used in a wide variety of industries. Optics involves the behavior and properties of light. Our classes delve into topics such as light and lasers, lab operations, electronic instrumentation, manufacturing technology, precision options, photonics and more.

FRCC’s Optics Technology certificate teaches students about optical engineering drawings/prints, lean manufacturing, statistical process control, and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing for optics. You can complete the program in just two semesters, gaining the skills you need for entry-level positions in optics manufacturing.  These plentiful jobs involve production of the precision optics used in cameras, projectors, eye wear, microscopes, appliances, binoculars and more.

Perfect for Thinkers and Tinkerers

Have you always wondered how telescopes and microscopes work? Does it sound interesting to assemble a laser? Or would you like to fabricate the optics that are used in a variety of industries—including military, space, manufacturing and more? More broadly, are you someone who likes to fiddle with things and figure out how they work? If so, optics might be a great field for you.

If you like working with your hands, are a self-starter, and can work well with others, this certificate is definitely worth exploring further.

Demand is Rising

The Colorado Photonics Industry Association (CPIA) brings together industrial, educational and governmental entities that are involved in the research, development and sale of products and services that involve photonics technologies. CPIA reports that the Colorado photonics cluster has been growing steadily for several decades.

Colorado is one of the few optics/photonics clusters in the country, defined by the International Society for Optics and Photonics as a concentration of optics-related firms and universities that maintain strong research and workforce ties, create quality jobs, and work with stakeholders to strengthen the industry. Our state’s optics hub is one of just a few in the country—and it’s located right in Boulder County.

What do jobs in Optics Manufacturing look like?

Here are a few sample job descriptions, based on recent postings on the CPIA website,, and

Optics Fabrication Technician – Junior and senior levels are available. This role is responsible for producing products to laser quality finish standards, working from schematics, processing glass/crystalline materials, cleaning and assembly of optical components, laser crystals and optoelectronics components, and more.

Junior Mechanical Engineer – This entry-level position provides mechanical engineering support to diverse R&D programs and small-volume high-tech production contracts at a company that delivers space, airborne and ground-based systems to customers for applications  such as imaging, high-energy lasers, internal navigation and laser communications.

Optical EngineerThis role works on a team of engineers who have expertise in light sources, beam delivery, light collection, photodetector, embedded systems, and software to create market-leading Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) systems.

Obviously, this is a small sample of the types of jobs in the industry, and you will also find other entry-level positions out there that support precision optics manufacturing—titles like Quality Assurance Technician, Laser Technician and Optics Technician.

Learn More

Two semesters is all it takes to earn FRCC’s Optics Technology certificate. In less than a year, you can be on your way to a new career—or a new career path in your current job. Learn more about FRCC’s program in Optics Technology and start planning your future.

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