A mechatronics engineer determines how to improve production in manufacturing by developing new machinery or tools. Before implementing changes to the production process, the mechatronics engineer considers factors such as assembly line efficiency and costs, while using specialized software to perform tests on various ways to make improvements. A bachelor's degree in a field such as mechatronics engineering or mechanical engineering is generally required for this career.
Mechatronics engineering combines aspects of mechanical, electronic, and computer engineering in order to increase efficiency in the production and function of manufactured goods. Accordingly, mechatronics engineers study aspects of fluid mechanics, control theory, and computer programming. Most professionals complete a bachelor's degree to get into this field.
|Required Education||Bachelor of Science in Mechatronics Engineering or Mechanical Engineering Technology|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||5% for mechanical engineers; -1% for electronics engineers*|
|Median Annual Salary 2015||$83,590 for mechanical engineers*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Salary for a Mechatronics Engineer
Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide specific salary information for mechatronics engineers, it does show that median annual wages for all mechanical engineers $83,590 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The middle 50% of these professionals earned between $66,540 and $105,110 yearly.
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Mechatronics Engineer Duties
Mechatronics engineers create and improve automated processes. For example, mechatronics engineers may review an assembly line and determine that welding processes on the assembly line are inefficient. Next, engineers may use cost-analysis to highlight an estimated amount that could be gained by improving the system. If superiors approve their project, mechatronics engineers may then use computer-aided design software to develop and test potential solutions, such as better machines or welding equipment. Once a new system has been tested and decided upon, engineers may help implement the machinery and controls.
Career Outlook for a Mechatronics Engineer
While the BLS doesn't cite a specific employment outlook for mechatronics engineers, it predicts that the employment of mechanical engineers would likely grow by 5% from 2014-2024, which is average, while opportunities for electronics engineers would decrease by 1%.
Mechatronics Engineer Education Requirements
Prospective candidates may enroll in a bachelor's degree program in mechatronics engineering, offered by colleges and universities. Requirements to enter the major typically include calculus, engineering fundamentals, and physics. Once core courses are complete, students may cover topics in circuit analysis, digital controls, and robotics. Most programs also include design and laboratory courses that allow students to test the materials used in products or processes. Graduation is often accomplished in four to five years.
Mechatronics engineers need to know how to operate computer-aided software programs to complete their work, and they should also have a solid understanding of physics, calculus, robotics, and circuitry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts varying job outlooks for similar engineering positions between 2014-2024, with mechanical engineering jobs expected to see an average increase of employment opportunities, and electronics engineering roles declining in this same period.