Animatronics Schools and Courses: How to Choose

Those interested in studying animatronics should be looking at programs in robotics engineering or technology. Read on for more information on colleges and universities that offer degrees and courses in robotics engineering.

How to Select an Animatronics School

Animatronics is one of many areas of interest in the field of robotics. An academic discipline that combines the studies of computer engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, robotics engineering is the most applicable field for anyone interested in learning more about animatronics, including how it works and how to create animatronic animation. Robotics engineering is offered as a certificate of completion or associate's degree program, though students can also study robotics as a minor or take robotics courses in other engineering bachelor's degree programs. All of these program options offer the necessary training to enter the field of animatronics, so students should consider how much time they are willing or able to commit to school.

Other considerations that students should keep in mind include:

  • Extracurricular learning opportunities such as robot building competitions or participation in community events may be available in some programs and provide additional experience to students.
  • Online program options are valuable for students who cannot commit to a full-time program and wish to complete non-lab portions of the course at their leisure.
  • Research opportunities and lab facilities vary from program to program and tend to be better equipped in 4-year colleges than in associate's or certificate programs.

Robotics Engineering Program Overviews

Certificate in Robotics Engineering

This is a certificate of completion program that can be completed in one year or less. It focuses on the study of robotics and has coursework such as:

  • Basic robot design
  • Robot systems
  • Motion control
  • Alternating current systems
  • Controller programming

It teaches students how to maintain and repair robotic systems at a practical level so they are ready for entry-level positions upon completion, such as robotics technician. The fundamental principles of robotics technology taught in a program such as this can be valuable to those interested in animatronics.

Associate of Applied Science in Robotics Engineering

This associate's degree program provides training in the programming and design of robots. This program also teaches students the fundamentals of digital systems and microprocessors, electronic circuits, motion-control systems and programming tools. There are general education requirements such as college algebra, English composition and research methods, as well as robotics courses similar to those in the certificate program, such as:

  • Vision systems
  • Programmable logic controllers
  • Automation controls

This material, though it may have an industrial focus at times, can provide students with the tools and experience they need to understand and work with animatronics. Some programs include a cooperative work experience so students can gain real-world experience.

Top Ten Schools with Robotics Programs

University of California - Berkeley 4-year, Public
Johns Hopkins University 4-year, Private
Colorado School of Mines 4-year, Public
Stanford University 4-year, Private
University of Southern California 4-year, Private
Columbia University 4-year, Private
Washington University in St. Louis 4-year, Private
Georgia Institute of Technology 4-year, Public
Carnegie Mellon University 4-year, Private
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4-year, Private

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