Movie robots 8

Career Options in Robotics

Two common professions in this discipline are robotics technicians and robotics engineers. The differences between the two begin primarily with education level. Robotics technicians typically hold 2-year associate degrees in robot technology or a similar field, while engineers need at least a bachelor's degree; aspiring engineers often move on to graduate studies and professional engineering certification. Technicians generally participate in apprenticeship programs that provide on-the-job training along with classroom instruction.

Both engineers and technicians have several specialties to choose from within the field of robotics. Some of these include machine automation, medical robotics, cybernetics, quantum mechanical systems, air traffic management and a variety of other areas that utilize robots to make work processes easier for humans. Types of businesses that hire professionals for robotics positions comprise electronics, automotive, agricultural and manufacturing companies, among many others. Most robotics professionals work primarily in a collaborative team setting, with technicians assisting and supporting engineers.

Job Duties in Robotics

Because robots are used in so many ways, a professional's duties in this field can vary greatly depending upon the function and application of robotics in his or her work. For example, some robotics engineers design artificial limbs, while others develop automated manufacturing systems for food-packing plants. However, all robotics engineers are responsible for designing, creating, testing and troubleshooting problems with their robots. This involves extensive research in various mechanical and robotic technologies and the use of assorted design software as well as electrical and mechanical equipment.

Some other duties of both engineers and technicians include the following:

{C}· Welding

{C}· Installing safety systems

{C}· Programming and reprogramming robots

{C}· Reading and interpreting schematics

{C}· Robot maintenance and repair

{C}· Using hydraulic test equipment

{C}· Failure analysis testing

{C}· Robot installation and removal

Robotics Employment Outlook

Robotics engineers and technicians can often be found working in the electrical and electronics engineering fields. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities in these engineering disciplines vary by location and specialty ( Roughly one-third of all engineering technicians worked in electronic and electrical engineering in 2008, and another third were in manufacturing.

The BLS reports that employers generally seek those with at least an associate degree who are skilled in new technologies and who require little or no additional training. Experience in the field can also lead to positions as robotics sales representatives, team managers and independent consultants.

Degree Programs Overview

Robotics is a field of academic study that utilizes mechanical and electrical engineering along with computer science in the design, construction and maintenance of robots and robotic processes. Individuals enrolled in a robotics program learn about robotic processes through an interdisciplinary approach that includes math, science and engineering principles. Individuals interested in robotics can pursue an associate's, bachelor's or graduate degree in robotics.

Associate's Degree in Robotics

Associate's degree programs in robotics are designed to prepare individuals for entry-level technician careers in the robotics field. This degree program is usually offered as an Associate of Applied Science in Robotic Technology. Degree candidates study the scientific and engineering principles behind robotic technology. Classroom instruction focuses on principles of robotics, design and operation, system maintenance and repair, robot computer systems, language control and system types. Most associate's degree programs in robotics can be completed in two years of full-time study.

Educational Prerequisites

Individuals applying to an associate's degree program in robotics are required to submit high school transcripts. Some programs may require standardized test scores or a minimum grade point average. Other prerequisites vary between institutions.

Program Coursework

A lab course is a mandatory component of most robotics degrees programs, allowing students to work one-on-one with various types of robots. Other core course titles may include:

{C}· Motion control

{C}· Electromechanics

{C}· Introduction to automation

{C}· Electrical theory

{C}· Mechatronic system modeling

Popular Career Options

Graduates of an associate's degree program in robotics are eligible for entry-level technician jobs in the industries that utilize robotic technology. Some sample job titles are included below.

{C}· Automation technician

{C}· Design assistant

{C}· Robotic engineering technician

Bachelor's Degree in Robotics

A bachelor's degree program in robotics follows a more rigorous course load than that of the associate's degree programs. Instead of learning how to assist engineers in the design and testing aspects, students of the bachelor's program will learn how to actually construct a robot. Courses in mechanical, electrical andcomputer engineering prepare students with the knowledge required to develop and construct a functioning robot. Advanced computer science courses will teach students how to control the robot's behavior. Distance learning programs might be possible for a robotics bachelor's degree as an alternative to the traditional on-campus courses.

Educational Prerequisites

To apply to a bachelor's degree program in robotics, degree applicants must supply high school transcripts and standardized test scores. Other prerequisites may include letters of recommendation and an admissions essay.

Program Coursework

In addition to the core robotics curriculum, students are expected to complete a set number of liberal arts electives. Core curriculum course titles may include:

{C}· Industrial robotics

{C}· Kinematics

{C}· History of robotics

{C}· Inertial sensors

{C}· Multi-module robotic systems

Popular Career Options

Most graduates of a bachelor's degree program in robotics will find employment in one of the industrial fields that use robotics systems, such as warehousing, defense or food processing. Sample job titles are included below.

{C}· Automation officer

{C}· Robotic process manager

{C}· Artificial intelligence consultant

Master's Degree in Robotics

Master's degree programs in robotics are designed to provide a thorough grounding in the science and technology of robotic design and programming. Degree candidates study artificial intelligence, computer dynamics and machine learning while working with robotic prototypes and intelligent machines. Nearly all master's degree programs in robotics feature a graduate thesis or research project as a graduation requirement. The coursework of a master's degree program in robotics can be completed in two years of full-time study.

Educational Prerequisites

Individuals applying to a master's degree program in robotics must first have completed an undergraduate degree program in robotics or a related field. Students who have completed a bachelor's degree program in an unrelated field may have to take supplemental coursework before being admitted to the program.

Program Coursework

In addition to the core curriculum, most master's degree programs in robotics feature technical electives which allow students to strengthen or expand knowledge in a particular robotic concentration. Core curriculum course titles may include:

{C}· Artificial intelligence

{C}· Machine learning

{C}· Linear system design

{C}· Computation theory

{C}· Advanced algorithms

{C}· Machine perception

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

A master's degree in robotics is a type of specialty engineering degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for specialty engineers are expected to grow by 7% between 2001-2018 ( The median wage for specialty engineers was $88,570 as of 2008.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates seeking employment as robotic engineers will most likely need to complete an engineering licensing exam before offering their services to the public. This certification process is administered at the state level.

As of 2010, only a handful of robotic doctoral degree programs exist in the United States. A more widely available educational option for students who want to continue their studies beyond the master's degree level would be a doctoral degree in mechanical or electrical engineering with a robotic concentration.

Robotics Certification and Certificate Program Information

Individuals interested in robotics careers can supplement their training through certificate programs in robotics. There are a broad range of programs offered, including technical certificates aimed at professionals in automation maintenance, undergraduate certificates for students enrolled in bachelor's degree programs and graduate certificates for those who have completed an undergraduate degree. There are not currently any standard certifications offered in this field.

Technical Certificate in Robotics

Technical certificate programs are offered by technical schools and community colleges to further educate individuals working with automated machines. Students are prepared for careers as engineering assistants and plant maintenance workers. A high school diploma or equivalent is necessary for admissions.

Program Coursework

Students study technical skills related to robotics, electronics, programming and computer numerical controls (CNC). Courses include:

{C}· Programmable logic controllers

{C}· Industrial automation robotics

{C}· Electrical motor controls

{C}· Applied fluid power

Certification and Continuing Education

Students who have completed technical certificates and are interested in furthering their career in robotics might consider continuing with a degree program in an area such as engineering technology, mechanical engineering or computer science. There are no standard certifications offered in the area of robotics.

Undergraduate Certificate in Robotics

Some colleges and universities offer certificate programs in robotics to undergraduate students enrolled in bachelor's degree programs. These certificate programs are designed to provide additional training in the area of robotic to supplement degree programs in other related areas. Prerequisite coursework is usually required, although the requirements vary by school.

Program Coursework

The curriculum combines aspects of engineering with robotic system design and applications of robotics. Topics might include:

{C}· Mechatronics

{C}· Robotics and intelligent systems

{C}· Control systems

{C}· Robot design

Popular Career Options

Robotics can be applied to a number of fields, including manufacturing, engineering, entertainment, security and healthcare. Job titles might include:

{C}· Automation technician

{C}· Robotics technician

{C}· Engineering technician

{C}· Robotics engineer

{C}· Mechanical engineer

{C}· Software engineer

Graduate Certificate in Robotics

Individuals who have already earned a bachelor's degree might pursue a graduate certificate in the area of robotics. These programs are primarily geared towards individuals with engineering backgrounds. Courses in this educational track cover principles and applications of robotics. A bachelor's degree is required for admission.

Program Coursework

The curriculum pulls heavily from engineering disciplines. Coursework might include:

{C}· Robotics

{C}· Mechatronics

{C}· Control system design

{C}· Intelligent control

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Graduates of robotics-related programs often work in the field of engineering. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( expects employment in engineering to grow at an average rate from 2008-2018. Manufacturing and industrial companies are increasingly relying on engineers to develop technologies, such as robotic technologies, that will increase efficiency and reduce production costs. This reliance helps fuel the demand. Salaries for engineers vary widely depending on the field of engineering. In 2008, median salaries for the various specializations ranged from $72,490 - $108,020 annually.

Robotics Technologist Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all electro-mechanical technicians reported a mean annual wage of $49,880 in May 2009 ( The BLS classifies robotics technologists within this category. The lowest ten percent earned a median wage of $30,450, whereas the highest ten percent earned a median wage of $73,240. Wages varied according to industry and location. The highest paying positions, for example, were in the oil and gas extraction industry, which offered a mean wage of $94,300 per year. Alaska was the highest paying state at $86,730 per year.

Robotics Technologist Responsibilities

Robotics technologists use their knowledge of electrical and electronic circuitry and mechanical engineering to develop robotic systems. This includes working closely beside engineers to design, test, improve and manufacture automated mechanical equipment and its components. They may be responsible for installing and programming robotic systems as well as for troubleshooting malfunctions, repairing faulty devices and performing preventative measures.

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