Robot Technician: Job Outlook & Requirements
Learn what robot technicians do. See what kind of education and training are required for employment. Get details about the career outlook and earning potential, too.
Robot technicians perform a crucial function of robotics engineering, a field with its feet already planted in the industrial arena. Robot technicians build, maintain, and repair robots in automated manufacturing plants and other settings, using computer programming and electromechanical engineering skills and knowledge. While robotics engineers conceptualize, design, and oversee the fabrication of such robots, robot technicians are essential in providing expert service throughout the life of the robot, prolonging its use and supporting the increased efficiency it facilitates.
Become a Robot Technician
As in every field of engineering technology, the field of robotics technology requires an associate's degree or technical certificate to qualify for jobs, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Most programs take two years to complete and include coursework in motion programming, conveyor systems, and computer networking and integration. After completing a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and gaining a few years of work experience, robotics technicians may pursue professional certification through the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET), which requires a passing grade on a written exam, supervisor references, and a designated amount of in-school and on-the-job training (www.nicet.org).
Robot technicians should be well-versed in theoretical approaches to robotics engineering, as well as laboratory methodologies and standards. A grasp of software programming is highly desirable, and creative problem-solving skills are essential. Robot technicians should understand the anatomy of an industrial robot and be familiar with its manufacturing process in order to determine the best solutions to technical issues and enhancement needs. Solid interpersonal skills and creativity are also invaluable.
The BLS predicts that the field of electro-mechanics, or robotic technology, will grow little between 2012 and 2022 - just 4%. The lack of growth directly correlates to the industries in which robot technicians work, many of which are in decline. Regardless, the base of knowledge that robot techs carry will ensure they most always will find some type of work. The BLS reported the median annual salary among electro-mechanical technicians, including robot techs, as $51,820 in May 2012.
Alternate Career Options
Electronics engineers work on the research and development of electrical components and systems. They may explore ways to adjust or improve existing systems or create new systems to meet a need, such as in the fields of communications, medical science, or the military. Entry-level jobs typically require an ABET-accredited bachelor's degree in electronics engineering or a closely related field. Professional licensing may be preferred by employers; the qualifications for licensure include completion of an ABET-accredited degree program, work experience, and two exams. Electronics engineers can expect job growth of 3% from 2012-2022, per the BLS, with most growth occurring in electronics engineering services because of the propensity of companies to contract out these responsibilities instead of expanding their own staff. The median pay for electronics engineers was $91,820 in 2012, according to the BLS.
Electronics Engineering Technician
An electronics engineering technician also works in research and development, helping engineers by building, repairing, and maintaining working electrical control systems and prototypes like those used in communications, medical, and computer industries, among others. They run tests and make adjustments as needed so that these systems work as intended. This career requires an associate's degree in electronics engineering technology or a closely related field. Voluntary professional certification in electrical power testing is available to those electronics engineering technicians working in some industries, like electric power. The BLS reports that the total number of jobs for electronics engineering technicians isn't expected to change noticeably from 2012-2022, and that electronics engineering technicians earned median pay of $57,850 in 2012.
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