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					       The purpose of Kodak’s Precision Optics Youth Forum 1 is to bring junior & senior high
school students an understanding of Optics & Photonics Technologies as superb career choices.
The Youth Forum brings Optical Careers out of the shadows and into focus as students are
presented with interesting facts, photographs, and videos of how important the field of Optics is
in today’s “High Tech” world. During our 90 minute in-school presentation students learn about
the need for a solid high school education in order to prepare themselves for the college
education that will lead them into a fascinating and well paying Optical career. We expose the
truth, that without Optical Technology today’s computer, CD-ROM, cellphone, and internet
driven world would cease to exist. Students learn how Optics allows other technologies to
extend their capabilities and apply new advances that would have been impossible without the
enablement of Optics. They’ll discover that Astronomy, Medicine, National Defense,
Manufacturing, and Home Life are all dependent on and enabled by Optics.
       Optics & Photonics Careers are abundant and diverse in today’s workplace. It is estimated
by the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD), that currently there is a
demand for between 350,000 and 740,000 Optical/Photonic Technicians 2 nationally; far
outpacing the Optical Technology Student population. This makes Optics an alluring career
choice as we enter the 21st century. Many Optical Companies have jobs that are going unfilled
because of the lack of skilled workers. The need is now, and salaries are higher than ever due to
the intense competition by companies for a skilled labor force!
       Although there are pockets of Optical Industries throughout the United States, the
Rochester, New York area (where Eastman Kodak’s Precision Optics Manufacturing is located)
has the 5th largest concentration of Optical Industries in the world! Some 60 companies design,
manufacture, test and/or sell Optical Products in that area and they are constantly looking for
skilled Opticians, Optical Technicians, and Optical Engineers.
       Not only does Rochester have an active Optics job market, but also, three of the world’s
finest Optical Educational Institutions. Monroe Community College (MCC), the 1st school in the
nation to offer a 2-year Optical Degree, has an Associate in Applied Science Degree (AAS) in
Optical Systems Technology. Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the University of
Rochester (U of R) offer BS, MS, & Ph.D. degrees in Imaging and Optical Sciences respectively.
Typically, students enrolled in these curricula receive multiple job offers prior to matriculation.
MCC has 2+2 options with both, RIT and U of R. This enables a great 4 year college education at
a much lower overall cost.
        Prospective starting yearly salaries for Opticians, Technicians, and Engineers can run from
around $28,000 to $55,000. After a few years on the job, yearly salaries move upward toward
$37,000 for Opticians and Technicians, to $65,000 for Engineers. Top Senior Opticians can expect
$55,000 a year; top Senior Technicians can approach $65,000 a year; and Senior Engineers can
command $120,000 and more a year.3 These salaries are equal to or better than salaries in the
fields of Agriculture, Automotive, Chemical, Computer, Health, Law, or Education. Optics is an
integral part of the Aerospace, Audio-Visual, Computer, Eye Care, Medical, and Internet
industries, to name a few. Clearly, choosing the field of Optics offers the opportunity for a well-

1 Call or E-mail Jim Crittenden at (716) 477-2577 or to find out how to present the
 Precision Optics Youth Forum to students in your school.
2 Optics & Photonics News pp. 23-29 / Sept. 1998.
3 Source of some of the salary information: Photonics Spectra Magazine 4/1998 and 4/2000 issues.
paid and intriguing career.
                                  Web Sites & Phone Numbers
Colleges:     Monroe Community College (AAS in Optical Systems Technology)
              Optics Department
              Admissions Phone: (716) 292-2200
              Rochester Institute of Technology (BS, MS, Ph.D. in Imaging Science)
              Imaging Science Admissions Phone: (716) 475-6631
              University of Rochester (BS, MS, Ph.D. in Optical Science)
              Optical Science Admissions Phone: (716) 275-3221
              University of Arizona (BS, MS, Ph.D. in Optical Science)
              Optical Sciences Center -
              University of California at Santa Cruz
              Lick Observatory and other great site links -

Organizations: Optical Society of America (OSA) …
                  International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) …
                “Harnessing Light”…
                  Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD) …
                  U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) …

                  NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) …
Businesses:          Eastman Kodak Company
            Precision Optics –
                     Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)
                     Space Imaging Inc. (IKONOS Satellite - Kodak Built Optics & Imaging)
                     Links to Optical Companies worldwide
Cool Sites:          Optical Illusions, Puzzles, and other paradox.
                     Chandra Xray Observatory
                     Hobby-Eberly Telescope University of Texas, McDonald Observatory

Magazines:           Photonics Spectra Magazine (free subscription)
                     Laser Focus World Magazine (free subscription)

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