A career in mechatronics usually requires postsecondary education, although the level depends on what type of position one is pursuing. The two options outlined below both deal with researching, designing, repairing and maintaining automated machines.
Mechatronics is a field of engineering that focuses on the design and production of automated equipment. This industry employs both engineers to design and develop the equipment and technicians to maintain it. While technicians usually need an associate's degree to enter the field, engineers need at least a bachelor's degree to obtain an entry-level position.
|Career Title||Mechatronics Technician||Mechatronics Engineer|
|Education Requirements||Associate's degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-24)*|| -2% (electrical and electronics engineering technicians),
2% (mechanical engineering technicians)
| -1% (electronics engineers, except computer),
5% (mechanical engineers)
|Median Salary (2015)*|| $61,130 (electrical and electronics engineering technicians),
$53,910 (mechanical engineering technicians)
| $98,270 (electronics engineers, except computer),
$83,590 (mechanical engineers)
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Mechatronics professionals are the technicians and engineers who design and maintain automated equipment. Technicians and engineers conduct their work in laboratories, offices or on-site at manufacturing plants. These professionals work toward the same goal of producing safe and efficient automated equipment. While technicians primarily maintain machinery, engineers are more concerned with the design and development of components and products.
Mechatronics Technician Job Description
Mechatronics technicians apply their knowledge of engineering to solve technical problems and maintain automated mechanical equipment. This may entail inspecting, troubleshooting and repairing electrical and electronic components. They work beside engineers and scientists, often assisting in the research and development of production. Technicians, as well as engineers, are needed in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, construction, agriculture and aerospace.
Mechatronics Engineer Job Description
Mechatronics engineers are responsible for designing mechanical equipment. Combining their knowledge of computer, mechanical and electrical engineering, they develop various automated products, such as cameras, cars and aircraft. The engineering process typically involves designing and assembling components, testing products in development, making improvements and evaluating finished products. Engineers must also assess equipment and publish reports outlining production factors, such as practical use, safety and cost.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't specifically track employment or salary data for mechatronics engineering professionals; however, it does have data for two related fields of electronics engineering and mechanical engineering professionals.
Between 2014 and 2024, mechanical engineers could see employment increase by five percent, while mechanical engineering technicians could see a 2% employment growth, the BLS reported. In comparison, electronics engineers were predicted to see a 1% decline in job opportunities, and electrical and electronic engineering technicians could see a 2% decline that decade.
In May 2015, the BLS reported that the median salary earned by mechanical engineers was $83,590, and mechanical engineering technicians saw $53,910 in median earnings. Electronics engineers had a median of $98,270 and electrical and electronics engineering technicians earned $61,130.
Mechatronics Education Information
Depending on the specific profession, careers in mechatronics require postsecondary education at varying levels. Technicians typically need only an associate's degree in mechatronics, while engineers need at least a bachelor's degree to enter the field and may need a graduate degree to gain advancement.
Associate of Applied Science in Mechatronics
An associate's degree in mechatronics can be earned through a community college or technical school. This 2-year degree program prepares students for entry-level positions and focuses on troubleshooting and maintenance processes. Courses may include machine circuitry, robotic design, engineering drawing and industrial controls. While many technical schools offer 2-year degrees similar to those of community colleges, their programs usually focus primarily on practical application and offer less general education and theory instruction.
Bachelor of Science in Mechatronics
A bachelor's degree program in mechatronic engineering generally takes four years to complete. Students spend their first two years studying math, science, introductory engineering and other general education requirements. The next two years focus on theoretical and scientific approaches. Core courses may include robotics analysis, fluid dynamics, automated system programming, linear circuits, mechanical dynamics and design laboratory. Students may be required to complete a mechatronic engineering design project to graduate from this program.
Master of Science in Mechatronics
A master's degree in mechatronic engineering offers students an opportunity to work in management and research positions. This advanced degree program combines classroom instruction with practical training in the field. Classes usually focus on research and methodology in mechatronics and may include courses in artificial intelligence systems, finite element analysis and automation theory.
Mechatronics technicians repair and maintain automated machines, while mechatronics engineers are more involved in their design and production. An associate's degree or a bachelor's degree in mechatronics can prepare students to enter these professions, and a master's degree is also available to engineers who want to take on more advanced job responsibilities.