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Senior Optical Engineer Careers

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 $43.43 an hour? That's $90,336 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.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a senior optical engineer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 11.5% of senior optical engineers included optical components, while 10.4% of resumes included matlab, and 9.2% of resumes included zemax. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the senior optical engineer job title. But what industry to start with? Most senior optical engineers actually find jobs in the technology and manufacturing industries.

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 50.9% of senior optical engineers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 18.5% 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.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a senior optical engineer. When we researched the most common majors for a senior optical engineer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or doctoral degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on senior optical engineer resumes include master's degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a senior optical engineer. In fact, many senior optical engineer jobs require experience in a role such as optical engineer. Meanwhile, many senior optical engineers also have previous career experience in roles such as research assistant or graduate research assistant.

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Average Salary
$90,336
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
2%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
13,723
Job Openings

Senior Optical Engineer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Senior Optical Engineer

Top Careers After Senior Optical Engineer

Senior Optical Engineer Jobs You Might Like

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Senior Optical Engineer

Senior Optical Engineers in America make an average salary of $90,336 per year or $43 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $122,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $66,000 per year.
Average Salary
$90,336
Find Your Salary Estimate
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Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Bothell, WA
Salary Range101k - 151k$124k$123,829
Menlo Park, CA
Salary Range99k - 149k$122k$121,792
Cambridge, MA
Salary Range82k - 121k$100k$99,967
Windsor, CT
Salary Range78k - 118k$97k$96,529
Fort Worth, TX
Salary Range77k - 116k$95k$94,807
Plantation, FL
Salary Range68k - 111k$87k$87,211
$50k
$151k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Senior Optical Engineer
Senior Optical Engineer
Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft Corporation
05/15/2021
05/15/2021
$157,33405/15/2021
$157,334
Senior Optical Engineer
Senior Optical Engineer
Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft Corporation
05/15/2021
05/15/2021
$157,33405/15/2021
$157,334
Senior Optical Research Engineer
Senior Optical Research Engineer
Auris Health, Inc.
Auris Health, Inc.
03/24/2021
03/24/2021
$170,00003/24/2021
$170,000
Senior Optical Engineer
Senior Optical Engineer
Quantum-Si Inc.
Quantum-Si Inc.
03/03/2021
03/03/2021
$88,54603/03/2021
$88,546
Senior Optical Engineer
Senior Optical Engineer
Continental Automotive Systems, Inc.
Continental Automotive Systems, Inc.
02/11/2021
02/11/2021
$110,50002/11/2021
$110,500
See More Recent Salaries

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Senior Optical Engineer Demographics

Gender

male

71.4 %

unknown

16.0 %

female

12.6 %

Ethnicity

White

60.1 %

Asian

26.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Mandarin

23.1 %

Chinese

15.4 %

French

15.4 %
See More Demographics

Senior Optical Engineer Education

Majors

Physics
48.2 %

Degrees

Bachelors

50.9 %

Doctorate

21.6 %

Masters

18.5 %

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 • Public

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 • Public

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 • Public

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

9. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tallahassee, FL • Public

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

10. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Senior Optical Engineer That You May Like

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. 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 graphical techniques, then transform those pencil and paper designs to include real optical components includi...

Active Optical Devices
coursera

The courses in this specialization can also be taken for academic credit as ECEA 5605-5607, part of CU Boulder's Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degree. Enroll here. This Active Optical Devices specialization is designed to help you gain complete understanding of active optical devices by clearly defining and interconnecting the fundamental physical mechanisms, device design principles, and device performance. You will study and gain active experience with light emitting semiconducto...

Design of High-Performance Optical Systems
coursera

This course can also be taken for academic credit as ECEA 5602, 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 extends what you have learned about first-order, paraxial system design and optical resolution and efficiency with the introduction to real lenses and their imperfections. We begin with a description of how differ...

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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.

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, California, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Senior optical engineers make the most in Washington with an average salary of $122,702. Whereas in California and Rhode Island, they would average $110,690 and $109,792, respectively. While senior optical engineers would only make an average of $104,115 in Vermont, 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:
$179,000
Location Quotient:
1.78
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. California

Total Senior Optical Engineer Jobs:
3,937
Highest 10% Earn:
$165,000
Location Quotient:
1.9
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Vermont

Total Senior Optical Engineer Jobs:
47
Highest 10% Earn:
$150,000
Location Quotient:
0.86
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Senior Optical Engineer Employers

1. Infinera
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$122,348
Senior Optical Engineers Hired: 
17+
2. MACOM Technology Solutions
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$90,762
Senior Optical Engineers Hired: 
14+
3. Microsoft
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$135,773
Senior Optical Engineers Hired: 
10+
4. Alcon
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$78,814
Senior Optical Engineers Hired: 
10+
5. Apple
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$134,264
Senior Optical Engineers Hired: 
8+
6. GigOptix
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$102,278
Senior Optical Engineers Hired: 
6+
Updated October 2, 2020