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Photonics Technician Operator (PTO)

Photonics technicians work in jobs where they assemble, measure, test, and repair optical components such as lenses, mirrors, filters, fiber optics and electro-optic or other photonics devices plus optical sources such as lasers and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Technicians typically work in applications where photonics is an “enabling technology”- such as manufacturing/materials processing, internet/communications, biomedical equipment, and defense/homeland security systems development/integration. Due to the high technical standards and safety issues involved, technicians will receive specialized training in both knowledge and hands-on skill items.

The knowledge component comprises of four separate exams totaling 233 questions. These four exams must be taken within a two year period.


Additional Information

  • FREE retake! ETA allows one free retake with all ETA certification exams after a 30-day waiting period. (This does not apply to FCC exams.) Retakes must be completed within one year of the first exam session.
  • ACCREDITED by the International Certification Accreditation Council (ICAC)

PTO Exam Info

Price: $200
Type of Certification: Stand-Alone
Maintenance Required:
Certification Term: 4 Yrs
Hands-On Required:
Questions on Exam: 233
Passing Score: 75%
Time Allowed to Test: 2 hours

Photonics Technician Specialist (PTS)

Photonics technicians work in jobs where they assemble, measure, test, and repair optical components such as lenses, mirrors, filters, fiber optics and electro-optic or other photonics devices plus optical sources such as lasers and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Technicians Specialists work in areas that utilize the skills and knowledge of the Operator Level, but also an additional higher level of optics, photonics physics and technology and that require a greater variety of hands-on competencies in laser and optical components and systems. They typically work in applications such as the following: research and development laboratory; product development, test, and production specialists who are team members for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of lasers, optics, and photonics components and systems; field service specialists for OEMs or companies that manufacture and/or utilize lasers, optics, and photonics components and systems. They are graduates of AAS degree programs that focus specifically on optics, lasers and photonics.

The knowledge component comprises of four separate exams totaling 297 questions. These four exams must be taken within a two year period.


Additional Information

  • FREE retake! ETA allows one free retake with all ETA certification exams after a 30-day waiting period. (This does not apply to FCC exams.) Retakes must be completed within one year of the first exam session.
  • ACCREDITED by the International Certification Accreditation Council (ICAC)

PTS Exam Info

Price: $200
Type of Certification: Stand-Alone
Maintenance Required:
Certification Term: 4 Yrs
Hands-On Required:
Questions on Exam: 297
Passing Score: 75%
Time Allowed to Test: 2 hours

Specialist in Precision Optics (SPO)

Precision Optics Technicians produce, test, and handle optical (infrared, visible, and ultraviolet) components that are used in lasers and sophisticated electro‐optical systems for defense, homeland security, aerospace, biomedical equipment, digital displays, renewable energy production, and nanotechnology. POTs also integrate precision optical components into these electro‐optical systems and maintain them, including handling, storage and transport. POTs will also have experience in shaping, polishing, and coating precision optics; using optical instruments; understanding procedures and guidelines for verifying optical component dimensions and tolerances. These technicians have a greater range of hands-on competencies and experience with fabrication and test of a wider range of types of optics and optical coatings.

The knowledge component comprises of three separate exams totaling 225 questions. These three exams must be taken within a two year period.


Additional Information

  • FREE retake! ETA allows one free retake with all ETA certification exams after a 30-day waiting period. (This does not apply to FCC exams.) Retakes must be completed within one year of the first exam session.
  • ACCREDITED by the International Certification Accreditation Council (ICAC)

SPO Exam Info

Price: $150
Type of Certification: Stand-Alone
Maintenance Required:
Certification Term: 4 Yrs
Hands-On Required:
Questions on Exam: 225
Passing Score: 75%
Time Allowed to Test: 2 hours

Technician in Precision Optics (TPO)

Precision Optics technicians work in optical component fabrication technical areas in optical shops, optics manufacturers and in quality control departments (incoming and/or outgoing inspection) for organizations that incorporate precision optics into various systems. They must be able to examine the properties and uses of a variety of bulk materials; have experience in the use of equipment and procedures for shaping, polishing, and coating precision optics; and be able to use optical instruments, procedures and guidelines for verifying optical component dimensions and tolerances. They can also handle, store and ship precision optical components. Precision Optics Technicians have the minimum required hands-on competencies and experience with fabrication and test of fewer types of optics. Due to the high technical standards and safety issues involved, technicians will receive specialized training in both knowledge and hands-on skill items.

The knowledge component comprises of two separate exams totaling 98 questions. These two exams must be taken within a two year period.


Additional Information

  • FREE retake! ETA allows one free retake with all ETA certification exams after a 30-day waiting period. (This does not apply to FCC exams.) Retakes must be completed within one year of the first exam session.
  • ACCREDITED by the International Certification Accreditation Council (ICAC)

TPO Exam Info

Price: $100
Type of Certification: Stand-Alone
Maintenance Required:
Certification Term: 4 Yrs
Hands-On Required:
Questions on Exam: 98
Passing Score: 75%
Time Allowed to Test: 2 hours