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Occupational Profile

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 $88,938.00
  • Avg. Wage $43.60
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook Up
  • Employed 5,300
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Optical Engineer, Photonics Specialist

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

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Average Wage
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  • Certification Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Duties
Updated Dec 14, 2016

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 Dec 14, 2016

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 maintaing 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 Dec 14, 2016

Photonics engineers need the following characteristics:

  • strong mathematics and science skills
  • strong computer skills
  • the ability to follow instructions and plans and work to exact specifications
  • very strong attention to detail
  • the ability to think creatively
  • the ability to work well both independently 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 Dec 14, 2016

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

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

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Engineer

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

Legislation

Under Alberta's Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act, you must be a registered member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a professional engineer. You do not have to be registered 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.

Education

Registration as a Professional Engineer requires: (1) 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, (2) a minimum of 3 acceptable references and (3) 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, visit APEGA's website or contact APEGA.

Working in Alberta

Engineers who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered engineers in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated engineers, see Professional Engineer Licensing Process on AlbertaCanada.com.

Contact Details

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta
1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 4A2
Phone number: 780-426-3990
Toll-free phone number (within North America): 1-800-661-7020
Fax: 780-426-1877
Email: email@apega.ca
Website: www.apega.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

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 industry.

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

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Professiona, Scientific and Technical Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 5,300 Albertans are employed in the Other professional engineers, n.e.c. occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 95 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As photonics engineers form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for photonics engineers.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 14, 2016
Other professional engineers, n.e.c.
NOC code: 2148

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
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $28.85 $47.92 $34.27 $28.85
Overall $33.65 $62.23 $43.60 $35.91
Top $36.06 $89.83 $48.49 $40.32

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.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

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Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

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Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

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2015 Vacancy Rate

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Related High School Subjects
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) website: www.apega.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 18, 2015. 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.

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