There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a senior optical engineer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $47.36 an hour? That's $98,518 a year! Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 2% and produce 8,000 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Senior Optical Engineer Do

There are certain skills that many senior optical engineers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed concentration, initiative and speaking skills.

Learn more about what a Senior Optical Engineer does

How To Become a Senior Optical Engineer

If you're interested in becoming a senior optical engineer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 54.5% of senior optical engineers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 18.9% of senior optical engineers have master's degrees. Even though most senior optical engineers have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Senior Optical Engineer

Senior Optical Engineer Career Paths

Average Salary for a Senior Optical Engineer

Senior Optical Engineers in America make an average salary of $98,518 per year or $47 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $134,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $71,000 per year.
Average Senior Optical Engineer Salary
$98,518 Yearly
$47.36 hourly
$71,000
10 %
$98,000
Median
$134,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Senior Optical Engineer Education

Senior Optical Engineer Majors

49.1 %

Senior Optical Engineer Degrees

Bachelors

54.5 %

Doctorate

21.2 %

Masters

18.9 %

Top Colleges for Senior Optical Engineers

1. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

2. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,832
Enrollment
4,550

4. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

5. Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,992
Enrollment
33,495

6. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

7. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

8. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Pomona, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,353
Enrollment
24,841

9. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tallahassee, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,785
Enrollment
7,711

10. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

Top Skills For a Senior Optical Engineer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.5% of senior optical engineers listed optical components on their resume, but soft skills such as concentration and initiative are important as well.

Senior Optical Engineer Demographics

Senior Optical Engineer Gender Distribution

Male
Male
88%
Female
Female
12%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among senior optical engineers, 11.7% of them are women, while 88.3% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among senior optical engineers is White, which makes up 61.3% of all senior optical engineers.

  • The most common foreign language among senior optical engineers is Mandarin at 23.1%.

Online Courses For Senior Optical Engineer That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  
Optical Engineering
coursera

The courses in this specialization can also be taken for academic credit as ECEA 5600-5602, part of CU Boulder's Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degree. Enroll here.\n\nOptical instruments are how we see the world, from corrective eyewear to medical endoscopes to cell phone cameras to orbiting telescopes. This course will teach you how to design such optical systems with simple graphical techniques, then transform those pencil and paper designs to include real optical components incl...

Fiber Optic Communications
edX (Global)

This course will aim to introduce students to the fundamentals of fiber optic communications, which constitute the backbone of the internet. The course will start with a refresher on the operation of key components needed for an effective fiber optic communication system, and then show how these components interact at a system level. Finally, the course will conclude with outlook for future research in extending the capabilities of these networks to higher bandwidths and quantum-secured...

Optical Efficiency and Resolution
coursera

This course can also be taken for academic credit as ECEA 5601, part of CU Boulder's Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degree. Optical instruments are how we see the world, from corrective eyewear to medical endoscopes to cell phone cameras to orbiting telescopes. This course will teach you how to design such optical systems with simple mathematical and graphical techniques. The first order optical system design covered in the previous course is useful for the initial design of an opti...

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Best States For a Senior Optical Engineer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a senior optical engineer. The best states for people in this position are Washington, Texas, California, and Nevada. Senior optical engineers make the most in Washington with an average salary of $124,586. Whereas in Texas and California, they would average $116,837 and $115,236, respectively. While senior optical engineers would only make an average of $106,113 in Nevada, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Senior Optical Engineer Jobs:
921
Highest 10% Earn:
$168,000
Location Quotient:
1.78

2. District of Columbia

Total Senior Optical Engineer Jobs:
276
Highest 10% Earn:
$165,000
Location Quotient:
2.32

3. California

Total Senior Optical Engineer Jobs:
3,937
Highest 10% Earn:
$161,000
Location Quotient:
1.9
Full List Of Best States For Senior Optical Engineers

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Top Senior Optical Engineer Employers

Most Common Employers For Senior Optical Engineer

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Apple$147,653$70.998
2Microsoft$141,438$68.0010
3Magic Leap$126,695$60.916
4Finisar$118,607$57.026
5Ciena$114,266$54.943
6PacBio$109,314$52.554
7Infinera$107,877$51.8616
8GigOptix$104,878$50.426
9Agiltron$104,797$50.388
10Abbott$103,786$49.904