What Does an Optics Technician (Lens & Prism Maker) Do?

An Optics Technician (Lens and Prism Maker) (225A) produces precision spherical and plane optics to specifications, corrects lens/prism surfaces, and fabricates optics for cameras, projectors, eye wear, microscopes, telescopes, domestic appliances and binoculars.

Job -Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • acquiring and using knowledge and theory about the nature and propagation of light, reflection and refraction of light, composition of white light, as well as converging or convex, diverging or concave lenses
  • reading and interpreting blueprints and schematics
  • understanding and applying principles of optical instruments including cameras, slide projectors, the human eye and the simple and compound microscope
  • set up and operate optic machinery safely, including spherical grinders, drills, fine grinders, polishers and centre and edge grinders
  • using mathematical calculations and precise mathematical measurements 
  • setting up and operating required machines or equipment to produce plane surfaces for filters, windows, prisms, and mirrors
  • troubleshoot and make corrections to surfaces by hand
  • perform measuring and checking using interferometer and spectrometer; ensuring that precision optical components are to specifications
  • cement and align lenses and prisms to optical axes, as well as coating optics with anti-reflecting or high-reflecting coats
  • communicating effectively with co-workers and supervisors
  • working independently or as a member of a team 

Additional information on training standards for this particular trade in the Industrial sector may be found on the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website at: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/trades/training-standards1/industrial

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

To become an Optics Technician (Lens & Prism Maker) you should complete Grade 12 secondary school, with senior credits in science and mathematics (geometry, algebra, trigonometry), ideally with coop or OYAP exposure to this occupation, and 8000 hours of on-the-job experience and theory training leading to a Certificate of Apprenticeship in this non-regulated trade.This is the minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades.

Apprenticeship Subject Pathways provides additional information for students/parents/educators:


What’s Your Future as an Optics Technician (Lens and Prism Maker)?

People who work in this field as  referred to as Optics Technicians or sometimes as Lens and Prism Makers, and may find employment in a manufacturing setting, indoors, and must work to very exacting specifications.  Opportunities are usually full-time, may involve shirt-work, and will primarily be found in:

  • Optical retail stores
  • Full service laboratories
  • Industrial manufacturing companies
  • Camera manufacturing companies
  • Aerospace industry

People with an interest in this occupation may seek further training as Optometrists, Dispensing Opticians or become franchisees or business owners.

.Wage Rate

  • As an Apprentice you earn less than a Journeyperson
  • this rate increases gradually as you acquire skills and gain competency
  • Fully qualified Optics Technicians can earn in a range of $14.00 - $18.00 per hour, sometimes with benefits. 
  • for further information on employment and wages see: http://www1.on.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/ojf/ojf.jsp

Do you have good hand-eye coordination and finger dexterity?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy learning about and applying mathematical formulae, lens and prism principles and techniques?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy working with hand tools, equipment and machinery?

Yes      No

Do you like to get the job done just right, stay organized and pay close attention to detail?

Yes      No

Can you bend, stretch, and stand for long periods?

Yes      No

Do you work well in a team environment?

Yes      No

Do you like to follow a job through from start to finish within deadlines?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as an Optics Technicna (Lens and Prism Maker)may be for you!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Optometrist
  • Ophthalmic Assistant
  • Optician (Dispensing)
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Machine Tool Operator


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