MCC Precision Optics Program opens doors to a new career path


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe Community College is empowering students to build a high-tech career through a course of study in precision optics.

Professor Alexis Vogt, the MCC Chair of the Optical Systems Technology Program, discussed the program and the abundant opportunity for precision optics expertise in the Rochester region Friday during our Greater Rochester Enterprise Why ROC conversation.

“Optics is all around us and it’s part of our lives every single day,” said Dr. Vogt. “Precision optics enables us to have conversations over Zoom, Netflix, smartwatches and smartphones, microscopes, telescopes, laser surgery and so much more. Rochester is the world leader in optics, photonics, and imaging. We are home to over 120 businesses specializing within this field.”

Dr. Vogt said MCC is the only college in the world awarding associate degrees in precision optics. “In our program, we have over $5 million in state-of-the-art optics equipment in our labs. I regularly hear from employers around the world who are seeking to hire our graduates – companies like IDEX Health & Science, Microsoft, Optimax, Sydor Optics, Corning, Google, and Apple. In the Finger Lakes region, in fact, we need more than 550 new graduates every single year and many of our students receive job offers even before they graduate. We have a tremendous opportunity available for students and because our world is dominated by optics. The challenge we face right now is we have a huge shortage of optics technicians so we simply need more students in our program.”

Students have a 2 + 2 option as well. “Students can come into our program and spend two years with us and then transfer on to the University of Rochester or the Rochester Institute of Technology,” explained Dr. Vogt. “They enter there with their junior standing, and then two years later they’ve completed their bachelor’s degree, so it’s a wonderful opportunity and a very affordable way to complete a bachelor’s degree.”

Dr. Vogt noted a wide array of people have the make-up to be successful in the field of precision optics. “Anyone who works with their hands and has strong hand-eye coordination has what it takes to be successful. We are looking for people including artists, musicians, gamers, chefs, automobile mechanics, baristas, and athletes. We know from all of the data that we’ve gathered that these people make excellent optics technicians. These employers find them as wonderful technicians and highly skilled. The future is really bright for them. People with an associate’s degree in optics are working in Rochester and all over the world making well over $100,000 a year. So there are huge opportunities for these people who come in with these varied skill sets.”

Sound interesting? Learn more at this website.

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