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Laser/Photonics program at CCCC prepares students for job market

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Click to enlarge,  Students in Central Carolina Community College's Laser Photonics Technology program look forward to a bright future. Pictured are, from left: front row, Shelley Parker, Al DeLong, Chris Baggett and Colt Dudley; second row, Chris Loehr, Instructor Gary Beasley, Alex Voytik, Andreina "Brill" McGiver, Jeremy Knoll, Kaitlyn Camp, Danny Robinson and Carlos Salas Moreno.

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Students in Central Carolina Community College's Laser Photonics Technology program look forward to ... (more)

11.07.2014College & CommunityCollege GeneralCurriculum Programs

LILLINGTON - Students in Lead Instructor Gary Beasley's Laser and Photonics Technology program at Central Carolina Community College are excited about their future. Not only do they have the opportunity to study a technology they love, but can be assured of entering a lucrative and viable job market when they graduate.

"The field holds a wealth of career opportunities for students," said Beasley. "It is a high-tech program that focuses on understanding the application of electronic, fiber optic, photonic and laser principles. Our students learn how to build optics and lasers and how to use, install and repair them for medical technology, manufacturing and business applications."

The focus on application rather than theory in the Laser and Photonics Technology program at CCCC is the reason graduates enter the workforce almost immediately, Beasley explained. "We teach our students how to use these acquired skills in a variety of work settings. The kind of practical work experience they receive is the reason our graduates have little trouble finding a job upon completing the program."

Approximately 95 percent of students enrolled in the program find high-paying jobs with industry leaders. Staring salaries begin as high as $30,000 and go up to $60,000 plus with experience. Graduates can land jobs in a variety of areas, including laser, manufacturing test or fiber optics technology, or field service and electronic technology. There are also numerous job opportunities in biophotonic medical applications. Biophotonics is an emerging field where lasers and light are used in medical procedures and treatments. Laser and Photonics graduates are employed to install, maintain, and repair biophotonic medical equipment.

In an e-mail to Beasley, former student Steven Coulbourne talked about how the Laser Photonics program has helped him in his job at MegaWatt Lasers, a consulting, research and development and manufacturing company that specializes in eye laser technology.

"I love my job here with Megawatt Lasers," wrote Coulbourne "My primary focus has been building and testing micro lasers. Most of what I do is research and development with a touch of production work. Recently I have been tasked to perfect the laser Q (or quality factor) of the micro lasers. I wanted you to know that many of the topics and processes throughout the Laser and Photonics program at CCCC have greatly prepared me for the workforce in this field. All of the terminology and knowledge I have attained in the program has greatly benefited me in my productivity and allowed me to contribute relevant ideas to improve our products on the tests that I am in charge of."

Current students are already considering jobs at companies that are industry leaders such as Northrop Grumman, a global security company providing products and solutions to government and global commercial clients; Lawrence Livermore, a national security laboratory that works to ensure the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent; and Synoptics, a leader in the manufacture of solid state laser materials and components.

Students Al DeLong, of Angier, and Alex Voytik, of Sanford, are delighted with the possibilities that Laser Photonics Technology represents. "I love science and math and if you can apply that to a job, it's a win/win situation," said DeLong.

Voytik, who will graduate in May, said he is thrilled with the career opportunities the field provides. "There are so many people looking for jobs now," he said. "But with Laser Photonics, you don't have to look for them, companies look for you."

Students Chris Baggett, of Lillington, and Kaitlyn Camp, of Linden, would like to work with the military as civilians upon graduation. Camp is interested in working on radar systems for the F-16 fighter jet, and Baggett, whose interest in laser technology goes back to his time in the military, would like to apply his skills in a variety of military applications.

"I was originally interested in the electronic engineering program at CCCC," said Camp, "but Mr. Beasley 'wowed' me into the Laser/Phonics area, especially since everyone in this area gets a job. That really motivated me!"

Laser and Photonics Technology graduates earn an Associate of Applied Science and/or a certification in electronics.

For more information on the Laser/Photonics Technology program at CCCC, contact Gary Beasley at 910-814-8828 or e-mail him at