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How to Become a Laser Technician

What Does a Laser Technician Do?

woman getting facial laser treatment

Laser technology has made medical procedures once only the province of the elite available to the masses. Laser technicians are trained to use laser devices in a wide array of medical practices. Ophthalmic laser technicians assist doctors in optical measurements, diagnostics and LASIK eye corrective surgery. Cosmetic laser technicians use laser devices to remove hair, tattoos, varicose veins and skin irregularities. Laser is even used at dental offices to diagnose and treat periodontitis.

New uses for laser are currently under development – to treat infection, pain and inflammation – and its applications will only increase over time. Laser technicians will be the specialists poised at the forefront of these exciting new discoveries, ready to implement laser’s new applications as they develop.

Workplace Details

Laser technicians work for medical spas, laser centers and doctors’ offices, especially for doctors who practice dermatology, ophthalmology or plastic surgery. They usually work 40-hour weeks, although they may also work part time with more flexible hours. Laser technicians who provide elective medical and cosmetic treatments may need to adapt their schedules to their clients, providing treatments during hours when their clients typically have free time, such as evenings and weekends. Most laser technicians require supervision by a medical professional such as a doctor or registered nurse.

Salary and Job Outlook

State
Average Wage
California
$33830
Texas
$29840
New York
$39440
Florida
$33500
Illinois
$34520

Hover over any state to explore local income and job growth data.

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ALABAMA

Median Salary: 
$34,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $53,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Birmingham$27,280$33,680$38,970

ALASKA

Median Salary: 
$28,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $53,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: Fewer than 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Anchorage$25,140$27,940$33,340

ARIZONA

Median Salary: 
$29,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $64,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Phoenix$17,680$27,070$67,790
Tuscon$19,430$50,410$61,050

ARKANSAS

Median Salary: 
$42,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $71,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: Fewer than 10

CALIFORNIA

Median Salary: 
$31,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 180

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Los Angeles$19,360$32,890$55,630
San Francisco Bay$21,030$31,700$46,340
San Diego$19,300$23,790$48,960
Sacramento$19,040$22,830$71,960

COLORADO

Median Salary: 
$27,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $57,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 55%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 90

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Denver$17,830$26,670$49,570
Colorado Springs$18,830$22,760$41,830

CONNECTICUT

Median Salary: 
$34,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $72,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Hartford$20,650$29,500$68,310
Bridgeport$25,470$43,390$75,580
New Haven$32,620$41,410$64,920

DELAWARE

Median Salary: 
$29,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,700

Job Growth Data Not Available

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Wilmington$20,640$31,110$43,910

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Median Salary: 
$33,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $62,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: Fewer than 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Washington DC$19,830$47,200$91,790

FLORIDA

Median Salary: 
$29,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $57,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 20%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 110

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Miami$19,090$28,610$57,240
Orlando$18,120$33,180$69,690
Tampa$18,460$25,560$52,290
Jacksonville$19,520$33,580$72,010

GEORGIA

Median Salary: 
$32,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $45,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Atlanta$16,750$33,360$45,210

HAWAII

Median Salary: 
$21,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $62,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Honolulu$16,830$19,760$39,680

IDAHO

Median Salary: 
$30,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $70,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 46%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 80

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Boise$19,070$42,100$71,470

ILLINOIS

Median Salary: 
$27,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $68,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Chicago$19,800$26,980$69,090
Rockford$21,420$28,040$40,050

INDIANA

Median Salary: 
$18,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Indianapolis$16,120$18,330$24,150
South Bend$17,300$24,080$39,700
Fort Wayne$17,680$23,990$36,470

IOWA

Median Salary: 
$28,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $43,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: Fewer than 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Des Moines$18,280$29,620$44,250

KANSAS

Median Salary: 
$27,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $51,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 36%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Wichita$20,140$23,960$38,400
Kansas City$17,420$32,430$60,920

KENTUCKY

Median Salary: 
$32,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $60,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Louisville$16,900$33,670$57,750
Lexington$16,460$20,730$55,030

LOUISIANA

Median Salary: 
$19,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $36,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Baton Rouge$16,600$27,430$39,150

MAINE

Median Salary: 
$30,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 3%
Projected Annual Job Openings: Fewer than 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Portland$21,440$33,640$48,180

MARYLAND

Median Salary: 
$37,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $59,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 46%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Baltimore$21,110$38,330$53,170
Frederick$19,880$32,970$109,850

MASSACHUSETTS

Median Salary: 
$45,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $61,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 6%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Boston$26,440$49,580$62,350
Worcester$24,720$45,130$55,130
Springfield$19,610$46,710$65,320

MICHIGAN

Median Salary: 
$27,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $45,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Detroit$18,690$27,820$40,410
Grand Rapids$17,630$21,500$43,330

MINNESOTA

Median Salary: 
$31,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $50,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 7%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Minneapolis - St. Paul$18,550$30,730$50,930

MISSISSIPPI

Median Salary: 
$25,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $33,500

Job Growth Data Not Available

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Jackson$17,870$27,120$30,500
Gulfport$17,910$23,600$37,080

MISSOURI

Median Salary: 
$29,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $61,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
St. Louis$17,550$27,040$62,430
Kansas City$17,420$32,430$60,920

MONTANA

Median Salary: 
$28,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $54,500

Job Growth Data Not Available

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Billings$25,430$28,500$35,230

NEBRASKA

Median Salary: 
$29,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $44,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Omaha$18,780$33,390$47,500

NEVADA

Median Salary: 
$23,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $58,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 25%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Las Vegas$16,760$24,020$59,080
Reno$17,140$22,340$43,060

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Median Salary: 
$25,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $47,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 14%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Manchester$23,280$30,150$40,500
Nashua$19,370$23,760$44,650

NEW JERSEY

Median Salary: 
$37,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $60,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Newark$20,340$35,670$53,830
Trenton$33,070$45,140$67,870

NEW MEXICO

Median Salary: 
$42,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $87,100

Job Growth Data Not Available

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Albuquerque$17,750$43,930$88,030

NEW YORK

Median Salary: 
$33,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $65,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 22%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 110

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
New York City$23,700$35,700$62,490
Buffalo$18,610$29,040$43,030
Rochester$20,900$36,050$76,410
Albany$18,750$31,140$46,090

NORTH CAROLINA

Median Salary: 
$31,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $50,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Charlotte$18,480$31,300$46,200
Raleigh$17,180$31,260$63,210
Greensboro$20,040$29,060$39,770

NORTH DAKOTA

Median Salary: 
$33,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $44,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: Fewer than 10

OHIO

Median Salary: 
$30,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $74,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 14%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Cleveland$20,700$39,150$63,240
Cincinnati$18,460$38,590$77,980
Dayton$18,290$33,150$46,300

OKLAHOMA

Median Salary: 
$19,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $53,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Oklahoma City$16,400$19,330$37,210
Tulsa$16,270$18,640$29,530

OREGON

Median Salary: 
$56,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $86,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Portland$19,570$64,360$96,540

PENNSYLVANIA

Median Salary: 
$27,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $59,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Philadelphia$17,540$28,110$61,240
Pittsburgh$18,230$23,890$30,730
Harrisburg$23,590$46,600$61,400
Allentown$21,820$32,250$51,290

RHODE ISLAND

Median Salary: 
$33,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $48,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: Fewer than 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Providence$20,360$36,660$48,700

SOUTH CAROLINA

Median Salary: 
$27,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $44,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Greenville$16,370$26,860$46,880
Columbia$17,540$26,040$30,470
Charleston$17,430$28,800$37,490

SOUTH DAKOTA

Salary and Job Growth Data Not Available

TENNESSEE

Median Salary: 
$34,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $56,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 38%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Nashville$17,090$30,350$48,000
Memphis$21,540$34,140$57,790
Knoxville$19,230$34,560$40,040
Chattanooga$25,680$34,500$45,090

TEXAS

Median Salary: 
$26,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $61,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 23%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 190

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Dallas - Ft. Worth$17,320$24,470$80,240
Houston$16,370$28,440$55,310
San Antonio$16,480$26,090$59,510
Austin$16,960$31,430$50,790

UTAH

Median Salary: 
$27,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 35%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Salt Lake City$16,640$22,140$33,510
Ogden$19,610$32,630$39,250

VERMONT

Median Salary: 
$55,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $78,100

Job Growth Data Not Available

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Burlington$34,510$69,040$79,480

VIRGINIA

Median Salary: 
$34,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $76,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 19%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Virginia Beach$17,000$42,670$69,650
Richmond$18,150$27,420$37,440

WASHINGTON

Median Salary: 
$28,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $59,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 25%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Seattle$20,640$27,410$49,720
Spokane$20,760$28,330$73,030

WEST VIRGINIA

Median Salary: 
$40,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $79,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 22%
Projected Annual Job Openings: Fewer than 10

WISCONSIN

Median Salary: 
$28,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $48,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 4%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Milwaukee$20,020$31,070$50,900
Madison$20,570$33,480$64,850

WYOMING

Median Salary: 
$60,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $77,900

Job Growth Data Not Available

The salary range for laser technicians is as broad as laser’s many applications. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that skincare specialists, including laser technicians, make a median annual income of $30,270, with a general range of $18,640 to $59,780. Salary depends on experience, the number of hours worked, area of the country, and number of clients.

There are several factors contributing to a positive growth outlook for laser technicians. The movement toward less invasive medical procedures is increasing reliance upon laser technicians. As comfort and familiarity with laser increases, its use is becoming more widespread. Finally, as applications for laser technology increase, so will demand. All of these developments bode well for laser technicians. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, skincare specialists can expect a job growth of 12% between 2014 and 2024, which is considered faster than average. Laser technicians who provide skincare services can expect a similar job growth outlook.

Compare Salaries by City

New York City NY Median Pay

$35700 Per Year

$17.16 Per Hour

Chicago IL Median Pay

$26980 Per Year

$12.97 Per Hour

Steps to Become a Laser Technician

1

Enroll in a laser technician program.

Laser technicians need to attend a school that offers a laser technician program. These programs vary greatly in duration depending on the specific application of laser technology. For instance, a program tailored for laser skincare technicians might be found in a vocational school and last a matter of several days or weeks, while the preparation for a role in other applications of laser technology may take several years to complete.

Show Me Schools »

Associate degrees in laser technology are available. This course of study provides training in laser technology, math, physics and basic engineering. A bachelor’s degree in optical engineering is another degree appropriate to this profession; it takes four years to complete and covers most areas of optics (the study of light). Those wishing to do laser research can progress to master’s degree or PhD levels after earning their bachelor’s degree.

Subjects naturally vary among all of these programs, which isn’t surprising given the variety of applications of laser and duration of the programs. Any educational program will include the study of laser physics and important safety precautions, but some delve into engineering, fiber optics, photonics (the study of light particles) and a host of other subjects. Another common feature of any of these programs will be a healthy amount of hands-on training.

Applicants to laser technology degree programs should have an aptitude for mathematics, physics and electronics. If you have a degree in another field, such as medicine or nursing, you can complete a post-graduate training program in laser technology.

In most states, laser technicians with vocational training are allowed to operate laser devices, but laws regulate the types of treatments they are authorized to perform. Some states require laser technicians to have nursing (or more advanced) degrees in order to perform certain procedures.

2

Become certified.

Though many states do not require laser technicians to be certified in order to operate lasers, many employers prefer to hire certified laser technicians. Laser technicians can be certified through the National Council on Laser Certification (NCLC), International Laser and Aesthetic Organization, and the Board of Laser Safety.

Certification requirements generally include completion of an accredited laser technician training program, clinical experience and passing the NCLC (or equivalent) test.

3

Look into advancement opportunities.

Laser technicians with vocational diplomas sometimes go on to complete associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees in laser technology, where they can specialize in fields like photonics (the study of light particles) and electromechanical engineering. Earning a more advanced degree also improves job prospects and earning potential.

Keys to Success as a Laser Technician

Necessary Skills and Qualities

Coordination and dexterity

Laser technicians need to have excellent manual dexterity and good eye-hand coordination.

Attention to detail

Laser technicians must have a keen eye for detail when performing diagnostic exams.

Knowledge of equipment

Some mechanical aptitude is required, as laser technicians must work with, understand and repair complex electronic and computer-based equipment.

Good judgment

Laser technicians must exhibit good judgment, as they need to distinguish between conditions they can treat and those that require the services of a medical professional.

Communication and interpersonal skills

Laser technicians who perform medical and aesthetic treatments also need good verbal and interpersonal skills when interacting with clients who may sometimes be nervous about laser treatment.

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