How to Become a Laser Technician: Certification & Training

Medical esthetics is a field that is growing rapidly and often requires the use of lasers. If you're considering a career as a laser technician and would like to improve people's appearance or test and develop lasers, learn about the certification and training required to see if this career could be the perfect fit for you. Schools offering Electrical Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career at a Glance

Laser technicians are important in the beauty and medical industries, because laser devices are used for a variety of cosmetic and corrective procedures. A laser technician can work in a hospital, spa, dermatology center, dentist's office or hair removal clinic. Additionally, a laser technician can be employed to produce, install and maintain lasers and would also be known as a photonics technician. The table below shows the required certification and training, salary and job outlook for a career as a laser technician.

Skincare Specialist Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians
Education and Training Required Certification program Associate's degree or certification program
Certification and Licensure Certification required Certification sometimes necessary
Key Skills Critical thinking, coordination skills, consultation skills, communication skills Critical thinking, equipment maintenance skills, problem-solving skills, analytical, detail-orientated
Median Salary (2017) $30,080 (Skincare specialist)* $63,660 (Electrical and electronics engineering technicians)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 14% (Skincare specialist)* 2% (Electrical and electronics engineering technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Do Laser Technicians Do?

A cosmetic laser technician performs a range of procedures to improve a person's physical appearance and a medical laser technician improves a patient's health. Depending on their area of employment and expertise, a laser technician will evaluate a patient's condition, discuss treatment options, educate and advise patients on treatment options and refer patients to other specialists if necessary. A cosmetic laser technician will be expected to have good knowledge of and the ability to perform laser treatments such as removing tattoos, tightening skin, removing hair and performing facial treatments, among other procedures. As well as cosmetic and medical treatments, a laser technician may be employed by an ophthalmic clinic to perform optical measurements. Laser technicians or photonics technicians working in the electrical engineering field design, test and develop lasers, as well as other optical and fibre optical equipment, that can be used for a variety of applications.

How Do I Become a Laser Technician?

In order to become a laser technician, you will need to have earned a high school diploma or GED and must attend an accredited laser technician training program. Cosmetic laser technician training is usually closely related to esthetician programs. The program will depend on your specialty but typically you should learn the safe use of laser equipment, contraindications of laser treatment, machine maintenance, the different types of lasers and their applicability. In most cases you will gain hands on experience using lasers during the course. If you would like to build, install and test lasers as a photonics technician, you will need to earn an associate's degree in optics, electric technology or laser technology or attend a technical college.

Is Certification and Licensure Required to Be Employed as a Laser Technician?

In order to operate as a cosmetic laser technician, certification is often required. Certification in laser treatment demonstrates the ability to use aesthetic laser devices in a safe manner and knowledge of relevant cosmetic procedures. Cosmetic laser technicians can often be licensed estheticians, but licensure is dependent on individual states and some states require laser technicians to work under the supervision of a physician. However, some states allow only medical professionals such as doctors, nurses and physician assistants to perform cosmetic laser procedures, so it is important to check your state requirements before pursuing a career as a cosmetic laser technician. Photonics technicians are required by some states to be certified when operating machinery that use lasers.

What Is the Salary and Career Outlook for Laser Technicians?

According to Payscale.com, in 2019 a laser technician could expect a median salary of $49,910 annually. In comparison the BLS reports that skincare specialists, which include cosmetic laser technicians, earned a median annual salary of $30,080 in 2017. According to the BLS, electrical and electronics engineering technicians, including laser technicians in the electrical engineering field, can expect a median annual salary of $63,660. The BLS anticipates that skin specialists will realize a 14% increase in jobs between 2016 and 2026, which is far higher than the national average for all occupations at 7%. However, electrical and electronics engineering technicians are projected to have a growth of only 2%, which is below the national average.

What Skills and Attributes Do I Need to Be a Laser Technician?

A successful laser technician in the medical and cosmetic industry will need to have good interpersonal skills in order to interact with clients. You will need to have good listening skills in order to problem-solve and make effective decisions. A photonics technician will need to have good problem-solving skills, decision-making skills and the ability to maintain equipment.

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