Do I Need a Robotics Education to Have a Career Working With Robots?
Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization that stages robotics competitions throughout the world, with the stated intention of inspiring young people to get excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). According to FIRST, 92% of the young people who participate in these robotics competitions express interest in attending college. Robotics competitions like this are often the first exposure many future robotics professionals experience.
In order to answer the question posed in the title, you have to first ask yourself what kind of career you want to have in robotics. If you want to develop new robots and engineer solutions to the ways robots are integrated, then you might need to get a degree. The great news is that a robotics education, in the traditional sense, is not necessary to have a successful career in the field. There are alternatives to a four-year degree, like apprenticeships and other training, that will lead to an in-demand robotics career.
The robotics technician is where most robotics careers start. These folks are responsible for keeping robots operational and maintained, and a technician can come from an enormous range of backgrounds. You may not need a Bachelor’s degree for these entry-level positions–an associate’s degree or trade school degree, or apprenticeship program is often more than enough. Getting your foot in the door has never been easier. The national average salary for a Robotics Technician is $61,684 and there are open positions throughout the United States.
The next rung on the robotics career ladder is for the robotics specialist. This person has been in the field for at least five years and is overseeing the operation and maintenance of multiple robotic work cells. This position also doesn’t necessarily require a 4-year degree since skills are often developed either on the job or through training. A robotics specialist is also keeping their eye out for ways to increase the use of automation throughout a manufacturing floor. The national average salary for this position is $97,541.
At the top of the heap is the robotics integrator. People in this position design and build new automation for manufacturing floors. Rather than coming to robotics as a mechanic, electrician, or from another trade, integrators tend to come through the Engineering or Specialist career pathway and often have a degree or two. They are subject-matter experts and thought leaders in the field of robotics and the integration of robots in manufacturing environments. The national average salary for this position is $130,000. All salary information obtained from Comparably.com.
Educational Opportunities Abound
If you decide to go into the more academic areas of robotics, you can choose from a variety of majors. The robotics field encompasses a wide range of disciplines. If it falls under the STEM umbrella, you can be pretty sure that there are people working in robotics who specialize in it. From mechanical engineering to computer science, a rewarding career in robotics will unquestionably benefit from education programs and certifications. Not only does a STEM education prepare a person for a great career in state-of-the-art fields, and also a great career in robotics, it’s potentially one of the more lucrative options for students.
What the ARM Institute Does
As the nation’s leading collaborative in robotics and workforce innovation, ARM has a vested interest in encouraging and amplifying efforts that contribute to a thriving robotics ecosystem.
ARM acts as the connection among more than 280 leading organizations in industry, government, and academia, all dedicated to creating a national manufacturing ecosystem. From traditional four-year universities to trade schools and community colleges, ARM believes that by bringing together educational organizations and providers with diverse skills and perspectives, they can drive the future of American manufacturing.
Make sure you visit roboticscareer.org to get the latest on careers in robotics.