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How Do I Become a Laser Operator?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 22 May 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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There are some general requirements you must meet if you want to become a laser operator. One of the biggest factors is experience, because most companies will look for people who have several years of experience in using laser systems. The education requirement to become a laser operator usually is rather low, with many companies just asking for a high school diploma. Programming skills often are needed, because you may have to program custom actions for the laser. Laser equipment also can break down, so you often are expected to be good with machines.

If you want to become a laser operator, then you often need two or three years of experience with laser cutters. This can be obtained in several different ways. You can apprentice under someone already performing the job, you can buy a laser cutter on your own and learn how to operate it, or you can get on-the-job training. It usually does not matter how you got laser-cutting experience, as long as you can demonstrate that you have it.

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Unlike jobs that require a college degree, many companies will not ask for a degree when you apply for a laser operator position. At the same time, applicants are expected to have a high school diploma to become a laser operator. Some higher positions, such as senior or managerial positions, may require a general or business-oriented two- or four-year degree. Most of the experience you gain will be on-the-job — either from this job or a previous one — so the degree rarely will need to be related specifically to lasers.

Many laser cutters require programming for the cutter to know how to cut into the required material. Programming skills can help you create custom cuts and actions, so you normally will be expected to know the programming language used by the laser cutter if you are to become a laser operator. This also may be taught on the job for lower-level positions, though higher positions require that applicants have this knowledge when applying. The programming languages for most laser cutters are similar, so knowing one should help you use or adapt to another.

Just like many other machines, laser cutters tend to break down with continued use. Repairs can be costly, so you commonly will be expected to know how the laser cutter works and how to repair it if something goes wrong. Extensive laser cutter repairs are rarely required, so this skill is more a matter of being able to fix basic errors that don't require a technician.

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