Two-year programs are generally offered as an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in areas such as automation and control technology, and they require advanced abilities in math and science. Four-year bachelor's degree and two-year master's degree programs are also available. The former requires a high school diploma or equivalent, while the latter program requires a bachelor's degree. Online courses are generally only available at the master's degree level. These programs may have competitive admission.
Professional licensing options are available for engineering graduates and are required for engineers who provide services to the public.
Associate Degree in Robotics
Associate degree programs in robotics are designed to prepare individuals for entry-level technician careers in the robotics field. Students in this program focus on the scientific and engineering principles behind robotic technology. Classroom instruction focuses on principles of robotics, design and operation of robotic systems, and robotics system maintenance. Other classes focus on language control, system repair, and robot computer systems. A lab course is a mandatory component of most robotics degrees programs, allowing students to work one-on-one with various types of robots. Other core course titles may include:
- Electrical theory
- Electrical circuits and wiring
- Computer aided design
- Robotic systems
Bachelor's Degree in Robotics
A bachelor's degree program in robotics incorporates a more rigorous course load than an associate's degree program. Courses in mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering give students the knowledge to develop and construct a functioning robot. Advanced computer science courses teach students how to control the robot's behavior. In addition to the core robotics curriculum, students are expected to complete a set number of liberal arts electives. Core curriculum course titles may include:
- Industrial robotics
- Sensor technology
- Unified robotics
- Robotic manipulation models and automation
- Feedback control systems
Master's Degree in Robotics
Master's degree programs in robotics are designed to provide a thorough grounding in the science and technology of robotic design and programming. Degree candidates study artificial intelligence, computer dynamics, and machine learning while working with robotic prototypes and intelligent machines. Nearly all master's degree programs in robotics feature a graduate thesis or research project as a graduation requirement. In addition to the core curriculum, most master's degree programs in robotics feature technical electives that allow students to strengthen or expand knowledge in a particular robotic concentration. Core curriculum course titles may include:
- Machine perception
- Machine manipulation
- Machine locomotion
- Perception and sensors
- Machine cognition
- System integration
Popular Career Options
Graduates of an associate's degree program in robotics are eligible for entry-level technician jobs in the industries that utilize robotic technology. These jobs can include automation technician, robotics technician, lead production support technician, control technician, and instrumentation technician.
Most graduates of a bachelor's degree program in robotics will find employment in an industrial field that uses robotics systems, such as warehousing, defense, or food processing. Possible job titles include robotics engineer, robotic process manager, and automation engineer.
A master's degree in robotics is a type of engineering degree. The median wage for 'all other' engineers was $95,900 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Engineers offering their services to the public must be licensed in every state. The process generally includes graduating from an ABET-accredited engineering school, completing four years of related experience, and passing a two-part state examination. Upon meeting the requirements, engineers are awarded the title of professional engineer.
Individuals interested in furthering their robotics education can enter a Ph.D. program in robotics. These programs require that students take advanced robotics courses in areas such as mechanics, perception, cognition, and autonomy. Programs may also require that students conduct independent research in the field of robotics and then write and defend a dissertation or pass an examination.
Those looking to pursue careers in the field of robotics can pursue 2-year associate, 4-year bachelor's, and 2-year master's degree programs. Additional licensing is required to work as a professional engineer.