Optical Engineer - Entry Level

Sept. 22, 2022

Company Description

Join us and make YOUR mark on the World!

Are you interested in joining some of the brightest talent in the world to strengthen the United States’ security? Come join Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where our employees apply their expertise to create solutions for BIG ideas that make our world a better place.

We are committed to a diverse and equitable workforce with an inclusive culture that values and celebrates the diversity of our people, talents, ideas, experiences, and perspectives. This is essential to innovation and creativity for continued success of the Laboratory’s mission.

Job Description

We have an opening for an Optical Engineer to work on projects and initiatives with a focus on U.S. national security and space science. You will be a member of an engineering team that will provide optical design solutions for space missions supporting both national security and basic science investigations with sponsors including NASA, Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DOD) and other government agencies. As an engineering team member, you will work on all aspects of optical systems engineering – from design and analysis to assembly, integration, and test. This position is in the National Security Engineering Division (NSED) within the Engineering Directorate at LLNL.

This position will be filled at either level based on knowledge and related experience as assessed by the hiring team. Additional job responsibilities (outlined below) will be assigned if hired at the higher level. 

In this role you will 

  • Work as an integral part of a small team of scientists and engineers to support the design and build of custom optical instrumentation flown on aircraft and spacecraft that have well-defined parameters.
  • Exercise best practices during hands-on assembly, integration, and test of space hardware while working under general direction.
  • Operate interferometers, spectrophotometers, collimated source testing, and other optical metrology hardware.
  • Write and review procedures and other documentation under the direction of project leads.
  • Assist senior optical engineering staff in optical instrumentation design and analysis.
  • Perform optical metrology instrumentation and data analysis and statistics, including writing custom software analysis (i.e., using Excel, MATLAB, etc.).
  • Support the preparation of optical hardware drawings and work directly with outside vendors through to successful delivery of components.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Additional job responsibilities, at the SES.2 level 

  • Design, build, and troubleshoot moderately complex to complex optical instruments under limited supervision.
  • Analyze and interpret data for multidisciplinary engineering teams who are unfamiliar with specialized optical engineering concepts.
  • Present your designs and analysis to internal and external reviewers.


  • Ability to secure and maintain a U.S. DOE Q-level security clearance with Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) access, which requires U.S. citizenship.
  • Bachelor’s degree in optical science and engineering, physics, or related fields; or  equivalent combination of education and previously relevant experience.
  • Fundamental knowledge and experience with limited complexity optical hardware, its assembly, and test.
  • Experience with design/analysis software such as Excel and optical design codes such as CODEV or ZEMAX or an equivalent design tool while working under general direction.
  • Fundamental knowledge of optical metrology techniques.
  • Ability to collaborate successfully within a multidisciplinary team comprised of engineers, scientists, designers, technicians, and non-technical staff.
  • Sufficient  verbal communication skills necessary to effectively collaborate within a team environment.

Additional qualifications at the SES.2 level

  • Experience designing and delivering custom optical instrumentation of moderate complexity from start to finish under limited supervision.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of moderately complex to complex optical design and one or more optical design/analysis code (i.e., CODEV, ZEMAX).
  • Working knowledge of one or more type of optical metrology equipment such as an interferometer.

Qualifications We Desire

  • Master’s degree or PhD in Optical Science and Engineering, Physics, or relevant technical subject.
  • Working knowledge of space hardware design, test, and operation.
  • Experience in the art and science of optical fabrication, i.e., practicing optician.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

Position Information

This is a Career Indefinite position. Lab employees and external candidates may be considered for this position.

Why Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory?

  • Included in 2022 Best Places to Work by Glassdoor!
  • Work for a premier innovative national Laboratory
  • Comprehensive Benefits Package
  • Flexible schedules (*depending on project needs)
  • Collaborative, creative, inclusive, and fun team environment

Learn more about our company, selection process, position types and security clearances by visiting our Career site

Security Clearance

This position requires a Department of Energy (DOE) Q-level clearance.  Also, you must have the ability to obtain and maintain Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) access.  If you are selected, we will initiate a Federal background investigation to determine if you meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information or matter. In addition, all L or Q cleared employees are subject to random drug testing. Q-level clearance requires U.S. citizenship.  For additional information, please see DOE Order 472.2

Pre-Employment Drug Test

External applicant(s) selected for this position will be required to pass a post-offer, pre-employment drug test. This includes testing for use of marijuana as Federal Law applies to us as a Federal Contractor.

Equal Employment Opportunity

LLNL is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to providing candidates and employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment. We value and hire a diverse workforce as it is a vital component of our culture and success. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, protected veteran status, age, citizenship, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws.

LLNL invites you to review the Equal Employment Opportunity posters which include EEO is the Law and Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision.

Reasonable Accommodation

At LLNL, our goal is to create an accessible and inclusive experience for all candidates applying and interviewing at the Laboratory.  If you need a reasonable accommodation during the application or the recruiting process, please submit a request via our online form

California Privacy Notice

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) grants privacy rights to all California residents. The law also entitles job applicants, employees, and non-employee workers to be notified of what personal information LLNL collects and for what purpose. The Employee Privacy Notice can be accessed here.

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