SJCC offers degrees in laser technology

Mikie Negrete, Times Staff

San Jose City College is “the only college in the Bay Area that offers two certificates and an associate of science degree in laser technology,” said SJCC instructor Sydney Sukuta.

“We have people coming in here with four-year degrees, master’s degrees, and even Ph.D.’s, and they can’t get a job anywhere,” Sukuta said. “There are no guarantees; but I’ve had students land jobs making $40,000 a year, which is what some who have a four-year degree make.”

The field of laser technology is a diverse one with many different career options available to graduate students, including work as a manufacturing technician and a laser systems test engineer.

Lasers are in demand in a variety of fields including the medical field, telecommunications, cutting and drilling, biotechnology and machining.

A quote by former SJCC student David Dutra and taken from SJCC’s laser technology student testimonials packet reads:

“After 10 years of working in an unfulfilling job in an industry I wasn’t particularly interested in, a family to financially provide for and a desire to invest in myself, I found myself at a crossroads. I decided to make a career change; and I’m so glad I did. After attending only one “meet and greet” event and one interview, I was recruited and eventually landed my dream job working with experimental lasers in research and development at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.”

“The program usually has about 40 to 50 students enrolled and consists of 48 hours of lecture and 48 hours of lab,” Sukuta said.

“Upon completing the first three classes in the laser technology program, I was offered a technician position at Coherent,” former SJCC student Binh Pham was quoted in the testimonials packet.

The time it will take to complete the program is completely dependent upon the student and the certificate or degree they wish to pursue.

“Lasers are not done yet. There’s a long way to go,” Sukuta said. “The field is very young. What you learn here about lasers can take you a very long way.”



The above article about the laser technology program indicates that students can land a job making up to $40,000 per year after completing the entire program. Students can actually earn such a job after completing Laser 100, the laser technology program’s entry-level course. The Times regrets the error.