Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992


The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted legislation and services. Information on this website may not reflect the current situation in Alberta. Please visit for up-to-date information about these impacts.

Photonics Engineer

Photonics engineers research, design, develop, test, manufacture and maintain systems and products that use photonics technology such as lasers and fiber optics.

  • Avg. Salary $112,155.00
  • Avg. Wage $55.72
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 2,800
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Optical Engineer, Photonics Specialist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Other Professional Engineers, n.e.c. (2148) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Professional Engineers, n.e.c. (C048) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. (2148) 
  • 2016 NOC: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. (2148) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Photonics is the science of generating, transmitting, amplifying and detecting light. Photonics technology includes lasers, fiber optics, macroscopic and microscopic imaging and a wide variety of other applications. This technology is used in telecommunications, medicine, manufacturing, robotics, solar power and more.

Photonics engineers:

  • Work with clients to determine requirements for photonics technology and products
  • Design and develop products based on photonics technologies
  • Install photonics equipment
  • Test and monitor photonics equipment
  • Maintain and repair photonics equipment
  • Operate photonics equipment
  • Keep records and prepare reports
  • Stay up to date with the latest photonics technology
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Photonics engineers usually work a standard 40-hour week in an office environment or a laboratory. Some travel may be required when developing, installing or maintaining equipment for clients in their factories or laboratories. Photonics engineers may be required to lift or move objects or equipment that weigh up to 20 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Photonics engineers need the following characteristics:

  • Strong mathematics and science skills
  • Strong computer skills
  • To follow instructions and plans and work to exact specifications
  • Very strong attention to detail
  • To think creatively
  • To work well both alone and as part of a team
  • Strong communication skills

Photonics engineers should enjoy working with cutting-edge technology and designing, developing and testing new products and equipment.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Photonics engineers must have a four-year degree in science or engineering. Specialized courses in photonics are a benefit, but are not a necessity. Photonics engineers may enter the field of photonics with an educational background in such disciplines as physics, chemistry, biology, optical engineering, electrical engineering or other related areas. A doctoral degree in science or engineering is generally required for a career in university teaching or research.

Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

Ambrose University

Grant MacEwan University

Mount Royal University

St. Mary's University

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

University of Lethbridge

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 05, 2021


Professional engineers design, construct, evaluate, advise, monitor and report on the performance of materials, equipment, systems, works, processes and structures.


Under Alberta’s Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act [pdf], you must be a registered member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a Professional Engineer or engage in the practice of engineering. You do not have to register if you work under the direct supervision of a professional engineer and do not call yourself a Professional Engineer or use the word “engineer” in your job title.

What You Need

Registration as a Professional Engineer in Alberta requires successful completion of:

  • A 4-year bachelor’s degree in a recognized engineering program and at least 4 years of acceptable work experience under the supervision of a Professional Engineer, or an equivalent combination of education and experience
  • A minimum of 3 acceptable references
  • Successful completion of an approved examination in law, ethics and professionalism

A new Provisional Member category has been introduced. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, contact APEGA.

Working in Alberta

Engineers who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada are eligible for registration in Alberta if the 2 jurisdictions require similar responsibilities and competencies.

For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the APEGA website.

To learn about certification for internationally educated engineers, see Professional Engineer Registration Process.

Contact Details

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA)
1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4A2

Call: 780-426-3990
Toll-free in North America: 1-800-661-7020

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Photonics engineers may be employed by:

  • Engineering and consulting firms
  • Telecommunications firms
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Energy production and distribution companies
  • Universities

Because photonics engineers often work in a multidisciplinary environment, they acquire knowledge and skills through work experience that may allow them to move into associated areas of science, engineering, sales, marketing or management.

Most photonics engineers begin as assistants to experienced engineers. As they gain experience, they may become supervisors or specialize in a particular aspect of laser or fiber optics technology. Some engineers advance to management positions. A few engineers with the necessary education can become research directors or principal engineers. Engineers may also advance by starting their own consulting or manufacturing companies.

Photonics engineers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2148: Other professional engineers. In Alberta, 86% of people employed in this classification work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 2148: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.6% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 05, 2021
Other professional engineers, n.e.c.

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $32.16 $60.75 $47.14 $47.11
Overall $40.50 $71.16 $55.72 $54.79
Top $51.49 $93.32 $72.17 $70.56

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 05, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

Was this page useful?