Job Description for Animatronics Technologist
Animatronics technology is the construction of mechanized beings and creatures, including real and imaginary animals that are brought to life using a variety of special effects methods and motorized pieces. Animatronics was made famous by Disney in the company's films and theme parks. Animatronics technologists often are self-taught engineers who have discovered a passion for the specialty field of animatronics. Duties of an animatronics technologist may include planning, constructing, installing, operating and maintaining animatronic creations. Animatronics technologists also test toys and robots.
|Education||Bachelor's degree in robotics, mechanical engineering or electrical engineering|
|Required Skills||Skills in mathematics, metalworking, electrical wiring, creative thinking and teamwork|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$70,530 per year (for all types of multimedia artists and animators)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||8% (for all types of multimedia artists and animators)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
There are no formal animatronics technologist programs in the United States. Instead, most animatronics technologists have a bachelor's degree in robotics, mechanical engineering or electrical engineering. Typical courses in an engineering program include introduction to robotics, calculus, physics and circuitry, all of which are key to being able to build an operable, mechanized animatronic creation. There also are limited associate's degree programs available in special effects, which can build a solid educational base on which to train to become an animatronics technologist.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that animatronics technologists must possess the following skills:
- Ability to perform complex calculations and design electronic devices
- Strong background in mathematics
- Ability to work with metal, electrical wiring, fuses and lighting, among other materials
- Creative thinking skills to bring designs and ideas to life
- Ability to interact well with others in teams
Employment and Salary Outlook
Animatronics is a small, competitive field that typically relies upon the budget of the entertainment industry. According to the BLS, multimedia artists and animators earned a median annual salary of $70,530 in 2017. The same source reported average job growth for multimedia artists and animators, with jobs projected to increase by 8% from 2016-2026.