Super precise! Training for precision opticians updated!

Accuracy within a tolerance of millionths of a millimetre is sometimes necessary in order to meet the high quality demands for precision optics components such as prisms and lenses.

Considerable significance is attached both to manual tasks and to the use of machines. Technologies and procedures have constantly undergone further development, and this has led to a need to adapt training contents and examination requirements.

Work processes and results, for example, will be analysed, evaluated and optimised on the basis of process-linked and product-related data in future. An extended final and journeyman examination will also be introduced.

Working on behalf of the Federal Government and acting in conjunction with the federal ministries responsible, with the social partners, and with experts from the field of company practice, the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) has updated the training regulations in the occupation of precision optician. The new regulations will enter into force on 1 August 2024.

Precision opticians are employed by industrial companies and craft trade businesses and are mainly involved with measurement and enlargement technology, semi-conductor manufacturing, and medical engineering.

They work on the basis of technical drawings to produce flat and round optical components, which are ground, lapped and polished whilst according due consideration to health protection and to work health and safety regulations. Skills in the processing of metals and plastics are also required with regard to the joining and mounting of components and sub-assemblies to form precision optics systems such as microscopes, cameras and binoculars.

The continuous monitoring of products and processes constitutes a key further element for employability skills within the context of quality assurance. Considerable importance is also attached to procedures for the coating of surfaces.

Germany has been training a total of just over 350 qualified skilled workers per year in recent times. Trainees have very good chances of progressing to permanent employment at their company. After completion of training, there is an opportunity to pursue higher vocational education and training leading to the qualification of master precision optician or Certified industrial foreman/Bachelor Professional in Optics.

The general training plans have been drawn up on the basis of BIBB Board Recommendations 158 and 160. The updated training regulations and the framework curriculum to which they are aligned, developed by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) for the school-based section of the dual VET, replaces the existing regulations from 2002.

BIBB is also working with experts from practice to develop an implementation guide to explain the new aspects of the occupation and to provide practical tips for planning and carrying out training at companies in Germany. 

Source: Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training – BIBB,, press release, 21.03.2024