In this study, both the intersubband optical absorption coefficients and the refractive index changes as dependent on the magnetic field are calculated in a parabolic (PQW) and an inverse parabolic quantum well (IPQW) for different Al concentrations at the well center. Our results show that the position and the magnitude of the linear, nonlinear and total absorption coefficients and refractive index changes depend on the magnetic field strength and the Al concentration at the well center. By decreasing the Al concentration at the well center we can obtain a red shift and a blue shift in the intersubband optical transitions for PQWs and IPQWs, respectively. Thus, the absorption coefficients and the refractive index changes which can be suitable for great performance optical modulators and multiple infrared optical device applications can be easily obtained by tuning the applicable magnetic field value and the Al concentration at the well center. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.